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Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages
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Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  10 reviews
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 emergence
Hardcover, First Edition, 304 pages
Published May 24th 1994 by Princeton University Press
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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
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 dysto ...more
Elliott Bignell
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 ...more
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.
Damar Yoga Kusuma
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
Ethar Mahmoud
بين الهلال والصليب
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.
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.
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.
Seth Kaplan
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.
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