Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages

The 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 emergenceThe 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.
Under Crescent and Cross The Jews in the Middle Ages The exacerbation of Arab Israeli conflict at the time of the Six Day War in gave birth in some quarters to a radical revision of Jewish Arab history At stake was the longstanding originally Jewi

  • Title: Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages
  • Author: Mark R. Cohen
  • ISBN: 9780691010823
  • Page: 498
  • Format: Paperback
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    1 thought on “Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages”

    1. 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 [...]

    2. Despite the title, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages is focused as much, if not more, 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 dys [...]

    3. 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 that prove the point and none that might be questionable and then discussed) isn't particularly good scholarship. Good book if [...]

    4. 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 more tolerant - he takes this almost as given and seeks to explai [...]

    5. الكتاب يتحدث عن اليهود تحت الحكم الإسلامي والحكم المسيحي، وسواء أقيس اضطهادهم بمقياس الإجلاء أو القتل أو التعدي على الممتلكات أو الإكراه على تغيير الديانة، فإن يهود العالم الإسلامي لم يتعرضوا للعنف المادي بدرجة تقارب ما تعرض له اليهود في الغرب المسيحي. حتى عندما تعرض الذمي [...]

    6. 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.

    7. 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 more, or at least as much prosecution as their brethren in Christian land.Going down the historical records, comparing the legal status, economic factor, social class and religiosity on bot [...]

    8. 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 in Islamic ruled territory than under "Christian" domination. It is also noted that Jews received harsher treatment in Northern Europe than in the Mediterranean region.

    9. 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 didn't already know from the European perspective, but the Muslim perspective was fascinating.

    10. Cohen exposes the ahistoricism of the view that Arab Muslim culture and society is innately especially anti-Semitic. He carefully documents that during the Middle Ages, Jews fared far better within Arab Muslim societies in the Middle East than they did within Christian societies in Europe.

    11. Had to read parts of this for Wexner. Never quite bought his premise which he seemed to argue around over and over, contradicting himself at many places.

    12. Bought for a class on Jewish history. My instructor thinks this is a great book, but I think the author is incredibly biased. I have a hard time taking his work seriously.

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