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The Jews of Islam

The Jews of Islam

with a new foreword by Mark R. Cohen
Copyright Date: 1984
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    The Jews of Islam
    Book Description:

    This landmark book probes Muslims' attitudes toward Jews and Judaism as a special case of their view of other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim societies. With authority, sympathy and wit, Bernard Lewis demolishes two competing stereotypes: the Islamophobic picture of the fanatical Muslim warrior, sword in one hand and Qur'ān in the other, and the overly romanticized depiction of Muslim societies as interfaith utopias.

    Featuring a new introduction by Mark R. Cohen, this Princeton Classics edition sets the Judaeo-Islamic tradition against a vivid background of Jewish and Islamic history. For those wishing a concise overview of the long period of Jewish-Muslim relations,The Jews of Islamremains an essential starting point.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5222-2
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Note on Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    B. L.

    A reading of medieval and modern Jewish history would seem to suggest that Jews in the Diaspora can only flourish, perhaps even only survive in any meaningful sense, under the aegis of one or the other of the two successor religions of Judaism—Christianity and Islam. Virtually the whole panorama of Jewish history, or rather that part of it which is of any significance between the destruction of the ancient Jewish centers and the creation of the new Jewish state, is enacted either in the lands of Islam or in the lands of Christendom. There were occasional Jewish settlements in...

  3. Foreword to the Princeton Classics Edition
    (pp. xiii-2)
    Mark R. Cohen

    The Jews of Islam, first published in 1984,¹ is one of two books that Bernard Lewis devoted entirely to Jewish history. The other,Semites and Anti-Semites, appeared two years later.² But the history of the Jews in the Islamic world has occupied a place in Lewis’s research agenda for three-quarters of a century. Indeed, I once asked him why he wrote so often about the Jews. He answered with his characteristic wry humor, quoting a commercial for the soft drink Pepsi Cola: “it’s the pause that refreshes.”³

    Already in 1939, at the very beginning of his professional career, he published...

  4. ONE Islam and Other Religions
    (pp. 3-66)

    Two stereotypes dominate most of what has been written on tolerance and intolerance in the Islamic world.¹ The first depicts a fanatical warrior, an Arab horseman riding out of the desert with a sword in one hand and the Qur’ān in the other, offering his victims the choice between the two. This picture, made famous by Edward Gibbon² in hisDecline and Fall of the Roman Empire, is not only false but impossible—unless we are to assume a race of left-handed swordsmen. In Muslim practice, the left hand is reserved for unclean purposes, and no self-respecting Muslim, then or...

  5. TWO The Judaeo-Islamic Tradition
    (pp. 67-106)

    For most of the Middle Ages the Jews of Islam comprised the greater and more active part of the Jewish people. The Jews who lived in Christian countries, that is in Europe, were a minority, and a relatively unimportant one at that. With few exceptions, whatever was creative and significant in Jewish life happened in Islamic lands. The Jewish communities o f Europe formed a kind of cultural dependency on the Jews of the far more advanced and sophisticated Islamic world, extending from Muslim Spain in the west to Iraq, Iran, and Central Asia in the east.

    In the later...

  6. THREE The Late Medieval and Early Modern Periods
    (pp. 107-153)

    For some time now it has been the practice of Western historians to divide history, for convenience of discussion, into three periods designated ancient, medieval, and modern, each of which may be further subdivided into early and late or into even smaller subunits. This classification is derived from the study of European history, and strictly speaking is only appropriate to the consideration of European topics. It has, however, become acceptable to use these categories also in discussing the history of other civilizations, which may have developed at a different pace, with a different rhythm, and in response to different pressures...

  7. FOUR The End of the Tradition
    (pp. 154-192)

    In November 1806 James Green, Esq., His Britannic Majesty’s consul general “in all the dominions of the Emperor of Morocco,” undertook an unusual demarche. At the request of a number of Jews in Gibraltar, subjects of His Britannic Majesty, he had asked the sultan “to annul certain order, said to be by his Imperial Majesty made, prohibiting all persons professing the Hebrew religion in general from appearing in any of his dominions wearing the European dress.” Mr. Green reported that he had obtained an audience from the sultan, who “was pleased to declare that he annulled that order.” The Gibraltarian...