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The Convergence of Judaism and Islam

Religious, Scientific, and Cultural Dimensions

Edited by Michael M. Laskier and Yaacov Lev

Publication Year: 2011

The Convergence of Judaism and Islam offers fifteen interdisciplinary studies that investigate the complex relationships between the cultures of Jews and Muslims during the medieval and early modern periods. They reveal that, for the most part, Jewish-Muslim relations were peaceful and involved intellectual and professional cooperation.

Eschewing a chronological approach and featuring contributions from European, Israeli, and North American scholars, including veterans and recent PhDs, the volume makes many fascinating and stimulating juxtapositions. To give one example, chapters on early Islam and the shaping of Jewish-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages shed light on the legal battles over the status of synagogues in twentieth-century Yemen or the execution of a fourteen-year-old girl in nineteenth-century Morocco.

Sure to provoke controversy and discussion, this volume focuses on a period of free exchange between these two cultures that resulted in some of the most seminal breakthroughs in math, science, and medicine the world has known.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page

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Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

This edited volume is about religion, intellectualism, and culture in Judaism and Islam. There are few, if any, studies that resemble it when focusing on the medieval and early modern times. The authors recruited for this purpose rank among the best researchers in their field: historians, scholars of Arabic and Hebrew literature, musicologists, mathematicians, ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-9

The single and collaborative leading works on Jews and Muslims in medieval and modern times published in English during the past four decades include Shelomo Dov Goitein’s Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts through the Ages (New York: Schocken Books, 1974); Bernard Lewis’s The Jews of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984); Steven M. Wasserstrom’s Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early ...

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2. Judaism and Islam: Fourteen Hundred Years of Intertwined Destiny? An Overview

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pp. 10-20

One does not have to be a specialist in Comparative Religion, Islamic, Jewish, or Middle Eastern Studies to know that Muslim-Jewish relations are not—on the whole—ideal at this moment in time. Usāma bin Lādin has on numerous occasions over the past few years called for a jihād against “the Jews and the Crusaders.”1 The tropes and themes of both European ...

Section I: Religion, Law, and Mysticism

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3. Quran and Muslim Exegesis as a Source for the Bible and Ancient History

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pp. 23-44

As elucidated by Stillman, the commonalities between Islamic and Jewish civilizations contributed immeasurably to each other’s development. This is most evident in the realm of their scriptures, religious sanctuaries, inscriptions, and stories of prophethood. ...

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4. The Quran’s Depiction of Abraham in Light of the Hebrew Bible and Midrash

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pp. 45-63

The Quran is a collection of Muhammad’s teachings, aimed at inculcating the belief in one God and presenting its principles to the nascent Muslim community (2:185). The Quran integrates figures, among them biblical ones, into its suras in order to reinforce the subject under discussion and to exemplify it.1 Unlike the Bible, therefore, whose stories appear in more or less chronological order, the Quranic figures may appear in one ...

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5. Present at the Dawn of Islam: Polemic and Reality in the Medieval Story of Muhammad’s Jewish Companions

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pp. 64-88

In the year 1832, Abraham Geiger, a prominent member of the scientific movement known as Die Wissenschaft des Judentums, completed a dissertation entitled “Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?”( What did Muhammad obtain from Judaism?).1 In the coming years many scholarly studies have dealt with this question in detail. ...

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6. The Use of Islamic Materials by Non-Muslim Writers

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pp. 89-108

The collection and transmission of narratives about the emergence of Islam and the links between the new religion and neighboring communities was a popular practice among Muslim authors from the early years of the caliphate. Yet this tradition of learning and teaching was not confined to Muslim communities, and vestiges of several Islamic historical traditions can be identified in both Jewish and Christian sources. ...

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7. The Martyrdom of Sol Hachuel: Ridda in Morocco in 1834

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pp. 109-125

Judeo-Muslim ties in Morocco deteriorated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. An important historical development that characterized the tense relationship between Jewish communal leaders and the Muslim authorities is the beheading of a Jewish maiden before a crowd for the crime of ridda (apostasy). As an initial step, it will be necessary to delineate the concept of ...

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8. Halakhah through the Lens of Sharī῾ah: The Case of the Kuhlānī Synagogue in San῾ā’, 1933–1944

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pp. 126-146

... Depending on the outcome, one faction might become dominant in all of the synagogues in the city. The acrimony that ensued between Muslim jurists over the imām’s ruling brought into sharp focus the divisions between them regarding the status of Jewish law and the interaction of Islamic and Jewish legal systems and raised the following questions: What is non-Muslim law, and what is its relevance to the Muslim jurist? ...

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9. Jewish Mysticism in the Lands of the Ishmaelites: A Re-Orientation

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pp. 147-167

During the last quarter century, the discipline known as the history of Jewish mysticism has produced a significant mass of evidence indicating the importance of Islamic and Middle Eastern culture for the shaping of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. As a result of this international scholarly investigation, the foremost scholar in the field today, Moshe Idel of the Hebrew University, was able to declare in 1991: “Muslim culture is the primary source of influence upon Jewish mysticism.”1

Section 2: Scientific, Professional, and Cultural Pursuits

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10. Al-Khwarizmi’s Mathematical Doctrines in Ibn-Ezra’s Biblical Commentary

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pp. 171-189

Ibn-Ezra is best known as one of the leading biblical commentators in the Judaic tradition. But in the wide spectrum of his writings we also find poetry, science, linguistics, philosophy, and mathematics. Specifically, mathematics is thoroughly and systematically studied in two books by Ibn- Ezra ...

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11. Pharmacopoeias for the Hospital and the Shop: Al-Dustur al-bimaristani and Minhaj al-dukkan

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pp. 190-207

Two thirteenth-century works, one aimed at hospital use and the other at private pharmacies, constitute the basis of our study. We will show that the differences between them derive not only from the different audiences but also from the fact that one was authored by a physician and the other by pharmacists—that is, by members of the target audiences. ...

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12. Jewish Parody and Allegory in Medieval Hebrew Poetry in Spain

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pp. 208-240

... Its most prominent representatives over the next two centuries (ca. 1020–1150), beginning with the Muslim caliphate of the welcoming ῾Abd-ar-Rahmān III (912–61), were Samuel ibn Nagrela (993–1056), Moses ibn Ezra (1055–ca. 1140), Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021–58), and Judah Halevi (1075–1141). ...

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13. Mishaf al-Shbahot—The Holy Book of Praises of the Babylonian Jews: One Thousand Years of Cultural Harmony between Judaism and Islam

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pp. 241-271

After a prolonged stay of nearly 2,600 years in the Diaspora, the Babylonian Jews returned in 1951 to their homeland, the renewed state of Israel.1 Only three years later, in 1954, they published their first edition of a book entitled Sefer Shirim Tehilat-Yesharim Hashalem, Pizmonim, Bakashot ...

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14. Encounters between Jewish and Muslim Musicians throughout the Ages

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pp. 272-283

What best defines the relationships between Muslim and Jewish musicians is the strong feeling of belongingness to a community. Here, community means artists who share the same emotional experience, consider music to be a lifestyle, draw on the same theoretical and expressive norms for their music, and adhere to the values championed by both ancient and modern authors. ...

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15. “Estos Makames Alegres” (These Cheerful Maccams)—External Cultural Influences on the Jewish Community of Izmir on the Eve of the “Young Turk Revolution”: Theater and Music

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pp. 284-298

The relationship and mutual influences between the Jews and Muslims in the Ottoman Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are evidenced by focusing on the Jewish community of Izmir as a microcosm of the entire Empire. This affinity manifests itself in the adoption of song and theater customs. ...

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16. Poverty and Charity in a Moroccan City: A Study of Jewish Communal Leadership in Meknes,1750–1912

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pp. 299-323

The leaders of Meknes’s Jewish community in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries faced a number of pressing issues, such as contentious inheritance disputes and the maintenance of a delicate relationship with the Muslim authorities. Yet undoubtedly caring for the community’s poor constituted one of the most burning responsibilities facing this city’s Jewish leadership. ...

Contributors

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pp. 325-329

Index

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pp. 330-344


E-ISBN-13: 9780813040707
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813036496
Print-ISBN-10: 0813036496

Page Count: 346
Illustrations: 7 tables, 2 drawings
Publication Year: 2011