Back Transdisciplinarity and the Unity of Knowledge: Beyond the Science and Religion Dialogue

Skip Navigation Links

Conference 2008 Culture

Toledo: Ornament of the World

El Greco's View of Toledo In the mannerist style paintings of Toledo's adopted son, El Greco, the city nestled on a hilltop of granite and cradled by a bend in the Tagus river appears suspended somewhere between heaven and earth--between eternity and time.  Though Toledo had been dolefully purged of its once sizeable Moorish and Sephardic population by the time El Greco arrived in the 1570s, this spiritual heart of Spain still beats an admixture of Jewish, Christian and Muslim blood.

From the beginning of the eighth century until around the end of the fifteenth century, Toledo served as the center of La Convivencia, a golden age of relatively peaceful co-existence between the "Peoples of the Book" in Spain.  Even while the Crusades were being waged in Jerusalem and while Jews were elsewhere being exiled to smaller and smaller pockets of the European landscape, the situation on the Iberian Peninsula prompted one learned tutor to the Caliph to exclaim:  " All the lands in their diversity are one, and men are all neighbors and brothers."

al-Andalus PharmacologyIt was in Toledo that learning and wisdom thrived even while the so-called Dark Ages eclipsed the remains of the Roman Empire in the West.  Working together in the court of Alfonso the Wise during the 1200s, Muslim, Jewish and Christian scholars rendered available great classical works of philosophy and ancient science by translating them into Arabic, Hebrew, and finally, Latin.

Metanexus Institute's 2008 Conference, Subject, Self and Soul: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Personhood, being held July 13-17 in Madrid, Spain, continues the quest for wisdom, the integration of faith and learning, and the interreligious collaboration that characterized this singular period of history. 

Detail from El Transito SynagogueAt the start of four full days of scholarly exchange, conference participants will travel to Toledo for a day to experience the spirit of La Convivencia first hand.  They will be welcomed by Toledo's faith leaders at the Sinagoga del TrĂ¡nsito and treated to a talk by Maria Rosa Menocal on her book and upcoming PBS special The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain.  In the evening, participants will gather at the Iglesia de los Jesuitas for a talk by renowned cosmologist, George Ellis, followed by a tapas reception under the stars.


1616 Walnut Street, Suite 1112, Philadelphia, PA 19103 USA  |  Voice: + 1 484.592.0304 Fax: +1 484.592.0313   |   Email  |  Privacy Policy