Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages

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  • Paperback
  • 304 pages
  • Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages
  • Mark R. Cohen
  • English
  • 12 December 2018
  • 9780691010823

About the Author: Mark R. Cohen

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Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle AgesThe Exacerbation Of Arab Israeli Conflict At The Time Of The Six Day War In 1967 Gave Birth In Some Quarters To A Radical Revision Of Jewish Arab History At Stake Was The Longstanding, Originally Jewish, Myth Of The Interfaith Utopia In Which Medieval Muslims And Jews Peacefully Cohabited In Arab Lands A Utopia That Many Arabs Claimed Had Continued Until The Emergence Of Modern Zionism Some Jewish Writers Challenged This Notion With A Countermyth Of Islamic Persecution, Suggesting That Jews Fared Not Much Better Socially And Politically Under Islamic Rule Than They Did Under Christendom Full Of Implications For Jewish, Islamic, And European Historians, Both Myths Form The Backdrop Of This Provocative Book Aimed At Enriching Our Understanding Of Medieval Gentile Jewish Relations Addressing General Readers And Specialists Alike, Mark Cohen Offers The First In Depth Explanation Of Why Medieval Islamic Jewish Relations, Though Not Utopic, Were Less Confrontational And Violent Than Those Between Christians And Jews In The West Cohen Presents A Systematic Comparison Of The Legal, Economic, And Social Situations Of Jews In Medieval Islam And Christendom, Offering Particularly Fresh Insights On Issues Of Hierarchy, Marginality, And Ethnicity And On The Topic Of Persecution And Collective Memory His Analysis Includes Differences In Theology That Helped Influence The Way Muslims And Christians Treated Jews Written For A Broad Audience, This Book Draws On Many Salient Primary Sources, Which Let The Voices Of Medieval Islam, Christendom, And The Jews Speak For Themselves.

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10 thoughts on “Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages

  1. Miriam says:

    I seem to have begun making notes at chapter 5 I can t remember now if I read the first half or not But the author seemed to mix in different times, places, and types of evidence so I m not sure how much difference it makes His overall conclusion seemed to be that under Muslim rule things sucked for the Jews, but not as much as they sucked under Christian rule In accounting for the fate of the Jews, Jewish historiography has traditionally placed considerable emphasis on their economic role in society It was the locus of their most frequent interaction with Christians The early Christians disapproved of the accumulation of wealth, especially through commerce Jewish merchants traveled from the Middle East to the west, most often taking luxury goods to sell and procuring slaves for sale in Muslim Spain Theologically based hostility to the Jews combined with disapproval of their mercantile activities and general distrust of foreigners to reinforce their marginal status During the urban revival of the 11th and 12th centuries a Christian commercial class emerged Governmental support of Jewish moneylenders to increase tax intake created further hostility Cohen de...

  2. Siria says:

    Despite the title, Under Crescent and Cross The Jews in the Middle Ages is focused as much, if not , on historiographical conceptions of, and debates about, medieval Jewish Christian and Jewish Muslim interactions as it is about those interactions themselves Cohen dubs the two main schools of thought on medieval Jewish history the lachrymose and the anti lachrymose, and then marshals the evidence in favour of a third way one which regards Jewish gentile history as neither utopian nor dystopic At times, I found Cohen s writing a little dense, and wished that he didn t presume knowledge on his reader s part he states in his introduction that he is aiming this both at the academic and at the interested lay reader, but as someone who knows less than she ought about Judaism and Islam, I found myself resorting to an encyclopaedia a lot to look up concepts wh...

  3. سماء يَحيى says:

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  4. Phoenix says:

    Let Us Compare MythologiesAn interesting and scholarly read on the large scale socio political relationship of Jews in the middle ages Cohen holds that whereas animosity towards Jews in Christian countries was directed specifically and theologically towards Jews, in the case of the Muslim world Jews generally enjoyed or suffered similar treatment to other other dhimmi groups, usually Christians.Chapter 1 compares modern mythologies The first is that of the shiny happy dhimmi who was both protected and prospered under Islam Cohen argues that this originated from 19th century Jews hoping to challenge Christian societies to support political emancipation This gets picked up in 20th century polemics as a statement that Jews and Muslims co existed as brothers until the advent of modern Zionism.The contrasting myth is that Jews were always second class citizens, victims of a specific intolerance This serves to give a deeper rational for 20th century Arab and Iranian antisemitism and a conjecture which I found interesting, but arguable is sometimes used to raise the status of or level of empathy towards Oriental Jews with respect to the narrative of Ashkenazic of pogroms and the Holocaust....

  5. Aryeh says:

    Read this book for two different graduate level history classes at two different schools While I appreciate the author s breadth of knowledge, the book came across as somewhat biased Going on the basic premise that Jews were persecuted less under medieval Muslim rule than under medieval Christian rule is a semi safe bet, but setting it up weakly by only giving sources...

  6. Elliott Bignell says:

    In this medium length but magisterial treatment, Cohen seeks the causes of convivencia and the relatively happier lot of Jews under the domination of Islam contrasted with under Christianity during the Middle Ages His findings are nuanced, equivocal and satisfyingly multi factored What he does is to look into causes What he does not do is try to measure the relative tolerance of the two religious hegemons or ask whether one was tolerant he takes this almost as given and seeks to explain it I regard this as a perfectly legitimate exercise and a perfectly sound starting point, but some reviewers have made it a criticism If one were trying to rank the two hegemons this criticism would, of course, be perfectly fair, but Gay is not seeking to do this He is starting from the observation of greater tolerance and looking for reasons.Of course, tolerance is an equivocal term, and the difference is not as clear cut as some would have one believe The traditional lachrymose tearful model of Jewish life under Christianity is not the whole story, nor is that of the Golden Age of Samuel ibn Nagrela in Ha Sefarad Jews living under Christianity in Southern Europe suffered far less persecu...

  7. Kody McCann says:

    Argument was very heavy handily given early in the book and it felt like the evidence was hand picked Still a very good overview of this time period and inter religious interaction.

  8. Damar Yoga Kusuma says:

    Cohen tries to rectify unrealistic claim in both extremes of Judeo Muslim conflicts Muslims claim that Jews live peacefully within benevolent Islam rule until the establishment of the state of Israel which shred everything into pieces and bits Similarly, Jews voiced that their live under Islamic rule suffer , or at least as much prosecution as their brethren in Christian land....

  9. Bruce says:

    An academic study of the differences in treatment of Jews under Christianity and Islam The author is only covering the Middle Ages and shows Jews being treated, for the most part, much better through the time period ...

  10. Victoria says:

    Really important book, especially for its introduction and opening chapter on the myth counter myth of Jewish Christian Muslim relations, and the modern political developments that have led to the propagation of lachrymose neo lachrymose history Did not necessarily learn anything I...