Modern Societies and the Science of Religions: Studies in Honour of Lammert Leertouwer

By Gerard Wiegers | Go to book overview

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGIONS IN SPAIN:
THE INSTITUTO UNIVERSITARIO DE CIENCIAS DE LAS
RELIGIONES IN MADRID AND
IBN RUSHD UNIVERSITY IN CÓRDOBA1

GERARD WIEGERS

Leiden University


INTRODUCTION

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Spain ceased to be the plural society it had been for many centuries. The year 1526 marked the conclusion of a series of edicts which had been promulgated since 1492, forcing Jews and Muslims living on Iberian soil to choose between conversion to Christianity or expulsion.

Officially, religious pluralism was only reintroduced in Spain again after Franco's death in the 1970s, when democracy, a new constitution, and a separation between Church and State were established.2 In the present contribution, the effects of this change on the Study of Religion occupy a central place. I will focus on two important new institutions, the Institute Universitario de Ciencias de las Religiones of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid (founded in 1992) and closely related to the Spanish Society for the Science of Religion (Sociedad Española de Ciencias de las Religiones) and Ibn Rushd University in Cordoba (founded in 1994), which is closely related to the Yamaa Islámica de Al-Andalus (al-Jamâca al-islâmiyya fî al-Andalus), the Islamic Association in Al-Andalus, i.e. Andalusia. These institutions can be seen as two 'models' of different approaches to the Study of Religion in post-Franco Spain, the first that of the Science of Religion, the

1 I would like to thank my colleague Prof. M. Abumalham of the Institute
Universitario de Ciencias de Religiones Universidad Complutense Madrid for her
help and information.

2 Spain has always remained a plural society in the sense that since about the
nineteenth century Jewish and Protestant communities have lived in Madrid and
other major cities (I am grateful to Dr Mercedes García-Arenal for drawing my
attention to this).

-166-

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