Beyond Religious Borders

9780812243741: Hardback
Release Date: 3rd January 2012

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 232

Series Jewish Culture and Contexts

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

Beyond Religious Borders

Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World

This collection of sophisticated, innovative essays looks at how Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers within the Islamic world drew ideas and inspiration from outside the bounds of their own religious communities.

Hardback / £52.00

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.

—Miriam Goldstein

Chapter 1. Observations on the Beginnings of Judeo-Arabic Civilization
—Haggai Ben-Shammai
Chapter 2. Shurūṭ 'Umar: From Early Harbingers to Systematic Enforcement
—Milka Levy-Rubin
Chapter 3. Thinkers of "This Peninsula": Toward an Integrative Approach to the Study of Philosophy in al-Andalus
—Sarah Stroumsa

Chapter 4. Translations in Contact: Early Judeo-Arabic and Syriac Biblical Translations
—Sagit Butbul
Chapter 5. Claims About the Mishna in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon: Islamic Theology and Jewish History
—Talya Fishman
Chapter 6. Maimonides and the Arabic Aristotelian Tradition of Epistemology
—Charles H. Manekin
Chapter 7. Ibrāhīm Ibn al-Fakhkhār al-Yahūdī: An Arabic Poet and Diplomat in Castile and the Maghrib
—Jonathan P. Decter

Chapter 8. The Impact of Interreligious Polemic on Medieval Philosophy
—Daniel J. Lasker
Chapter 9. Arabic into Hebrew: The Emergence of the Translation Movement in Twelfth-Century Provence and Jewish-Christian Polemic
—Gad Freudenthal
Chapter 10. Fusion Cooking in an Islamic Milieu: Jewish and Christian Jurists on Food Associated with Foreigners
—David M. Freidenreich


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.

"Beyond Religious Borders is an important contribution to diverse fields of modern scholarship. It is a welcome addition to the ever-increasing corpus of studies that employ 'boundary crossing' as a methodological tool, suggesting to scholars a new, more sophisticated methodological conception of "border lines" in the Islamic Middle Ages. It is for all these reasons that I recommend this volume enthusiastically and without reservation."—Comitatus

"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