About the Disputationes

 In the scholastic system of education of the Middle Ages, the Disputationes offered a formalised method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology and in sciences. Fixed rules governed the process: they demanded dependence on traditional written authorities and the thorough understanding of each argument on each side. The famous Disputatio of Barcelona, called for in the summer of 1263 by King James I of Aragon, is the most important and well-known of the inter-faith Disputationes that took place between Christian and Jewish theologians in the late Middle Ages. In the Disputatio of Barcelona of 1263, the disputantes were Friar Paulus Christianus (Dominican, and a convert rabbi) and Rabbi Moses ben Nachman (also known as Nachmanides, or Benastruch De Porta), from the Girona’s community, the most important scholar of Judaism in his time. They discussed theological questions in front of the king and his court, in the presence of the most important men, both Christian and Jewish, of the already prosperous and influential city of Barcelona.