by JOSEPH RICHARD PREVILLE for ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN on JANUARY 28, 2014:
Jews and Muslims have been intertwined for fourteen centuries. Their long relationship is the subject of A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations: From the Origins to the Present Day (Princeton University Press, 2013). This elegant and learned new book is edited by Abdelwahab Meddeb, a professor of comparative literature at the University of Paris-X (Nanterre), and Benjamin Stora, University Professor at the University of Paris-XIII (Villetaneuse).
A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations features articles by a distinguished team of scholars of Islamic and Jewish history. Among these scholars is Mark R. Cohen, who is both Emeritus Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Emeritus at Princeton University. Cohen was educated at Brandeis University, Columbia University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is the author of Poverty and Charity in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2005), The Voice of the Poor in the Middle Ages: An Anthology of Documents from the Cairo Geniza (Princeton University Press, 2005), and Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 1994; revised edition, 2008).
This book has been translated into many languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, French, German, Romanian, Czech, Russian, and soon in Spanish. In 2010, Cohen was awarded the first Goldziher Prize for scholarship promoting a better understanding between Jews and Muslims.
Mark R. Cohen discusses A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations in this exclusive interview.
How is this new book “a reunion” and “a restoration” of the historical bonds between Jews and Muslims?
Jews and Muslims lived together for centuries in close proximity. Judaism contributed ideas and concepts to Islam. Islam, in turn, contributed much to Judaism. The book aims, among other things, to inform readers of these and other aspects of Jewish-Muslim coexistence, which, in the present state of things in the world, have been forgotten behind the smoke of conflict. Continue reading