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Beyond Religious Borders

Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World

Edited by David M. Freidenreich and Miriam Goldstein

Publication Year: 2012

"This volume on various aspects of Judeo-Arabic civilization in its most productive age is a book for our time. In viewing Jewish culture as a constituent part of a large 'Islamicate' society, the contributors to this collection share a view of the way cultures interact that is far more sophisticated than the borrower-lender model that obtained a generation ago. The scholarship is of the highest level. Any new synthesis of the subject that is to emerge from the work of the present generation of scholars will depend on studies such as those here assembled."--Raymond P. Scheindlin, Jewish Theological Seminary The medieval Islamic world comprised a wide variety of religions. While individuals and communities in this world identified themselves with particular faiths, boundaries between these groups were vague and in some cases nonexistent. Rather than simply borrowing or lending customs, goods, and notions to one another, the peoples of the Mediterranean region interacted within a common culture. Beyond Religious Borders presents sophisticated and often revolutionary studies of the ways Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers drew ideas and inspiration from outside the bounds of their own religious communities. Each essay in this collection covers a key aspect of interreligious relationships in Mediterranean lands during the first six centuries of Islam. These studies focus on the cultural context of exchange, the impact of exchange, and the factors motivating exchange between adherents of different religions. Essays address the influence of the shared Arabic language on the transfer of knowledge, reconsider the restrictions imposed by Muslim rulers on Christian and Jewish subjects, and demonstrate the need to consider both Jewish and Muslim works in the study of Andalusian philosophy. Case studies on the impact of exchange examine specific literary, religious, and philosophical concepts that crossed religious borders. In each case, elements native to one religious group and originally foreign to another became fully at home in both. The volume concludes by considering why certain ideas crossed religious lines while others did not, and how specific figures involved in such processes understood their own roles in the transfer of ideas. David M. Freidenreich teaches Jewish studies at Colby College. Miriam Goldstein is Lecturer in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

The individuals and communities that lived in the Arabo-Islamic world speak through their many and diverse literary creations with a variety of voices. Distinguishing among these voices and evaluating their interaction is a challenging and often elusive task. For this reason, students of this interaction have conceived of it in various ways, in terms that reveal their differing perspectives...

Part I. Contexts of Interreligious Interaction

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Chapter 1: Observations on the Beginnings of Judeo-Arabic Civilization

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pp. 13-29

An appropriate definition of Judeo-Arabic civilization would be the following: the sum total of all communications, or documents, as well as other written materials, in which Arabic-speaking Jews have expressed their spiritual and material needs, occupations, aspirations, and achievements. The focus of...

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Chapter 2. Shurut Umar: From Early Harbingers to Systematic Enforcement

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pp. 30-43

It has been the prevalent view of scholars concerned with the treatment of ahl al-dhimma, non-Muslim "protected people," that various sets of restrictions enjoined upon dhimmis in the early period of Muslim rule (known as...

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Chapter 3. Thinkers of "This Peninsula": Toward an Integrative Approach to the Study of Philosophy in al-Andalus

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pp. 44-53

The development of philosophical thought among Muslims in al-Andalus is often described in contradictory terms. On the one hand, scholars agree that, in many ways, the Iberian peninsula witnessed the acme of Islamic philosophy. On the other hand, medieval and modern scholars alike often regard the development...

Part II . Adopting and Accommodating the Foreign

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Chapter 4: Translations in Contact: Early Judeo-Arabic and Syriac Biblical Translations

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pp. 57-64

The histories of biblical translations into Greek, Latin, Syriac and Judeo-Arabic reveal remarkable similarities, particularly in matters of strict literalism. Although literalism can vary, it seems that, by and large, the principle underlying these literal biblical translations was very much opposed to that of Horace in his...

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Chapter 5: Claims About the Mishna in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon: Islamic Theology and Jewish History

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pp. 65-77

In an Aramaic Epistle of 987, Sherira Gaon, head of the rabbinic academy at Pumbeditha, responded to questions posed by Jews of Kairouan about the genesis of the ancient corpora of rabbinic tradition.1 Reconstructing the circumstances under which Mishna, Tosefta, Talmud, and Midrash were formed, Sherira described the pedagogic practices of earlier rabbis, traced intellectual...

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Chapter 6: Maimonides and the Arabic Aristotelian Tradition of Epistemology

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pp. 78-95

Recent years have witnessed increased scholarly interest in Maimonides’ epistemology, especially his understanding of the nature, scope, and justification of human knowledge.1 These studies have often viewed Maimonides within the context of Aristotle’s epistemology and the Arabic philosophical tradition...

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Chapter 7. Ibrahim Ibn al-Fakhkhar al-Yahudu: An Arabic Poet and Diplomat in Castile and the Maghrib

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pp. 103-119

In his monumental anthology Nafh al-tib min ghusn al-andalus al-ratib (The Fragrant Breeze from the Succulent Branch of al-Andalus), Shihab al-Din al- Maqqari (ca. 1577-1632) includes a section of several pages dedicated to six Arabic Jewish poets including one

Part III . Crossing Borders: Agents of Interaction and Exchange

Chapter 8: The Impact of Interreligious Polemic on Medieval Philosophy

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pp. 122-130

Chapter 9: Arabic into Hebrew: The Emergence of the Translation Movement in Twelfth-Century Provence and Jewish-Christian Polemic

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pp. 131-150

Chapter 10: Fusion Cooking in an Islamic Milieu: Jewish and Christian Jurists on Food Associated with Foreigners

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pp. 151-167

Notes

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pp. 168-221

Index

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pp. 222-229

Acknowledgments

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p. 230-230


E-ISBN-13: 9780812206913
E-ISBN-10: 0812206916
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812243741
Print-ISBN-10: 0812243749

Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Jewish Culture and Contexts
Series Editor Byline: Published in association with the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania David B. Ruderman, Series Editor