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At the broadest level, then, This Noble House illuminates a strategy that various minority populations utilized as they sought legitimacy within the medieval Arab-Islamic world. 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.

Women Through Scripture "How does the Torah portray Women?"

In this sweeping and lavishly illustrated history, Katharina Galor and Hanswulf Bloedhorn survey nearly four thousand years of human settlement and building activity in Jerusalem, from prehistoric times through the Ottoman period. The study is structured chronologically, exploring the city's material culture, including fortifications and water systems as well as key sacred, civic, and domestic architecture.

Distinctive finds such as paintings, mosaics, pottery, and coins highlight each period. Their book provides a unique perspective on the emergence and development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the relationship among the three religions and their cultures into the modern period. She lives in Providence, RI. Hanswulf Bloedhorn is an expert on Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine architecture and decoration of public and sacred buildings, and a leading authority on the archaeology of Jerusalem.

He lives in Tubingen, Germany. One of the most vexing problems facing medieval Jewish interpreters of the Hebrew Bible was how to implement the new interpretive strategy of extracting the straightforward, contextual meaning of biblical verses peshat , without neglecting revered ancient rabbinic modes of interpretation derash , which tended to be more fanciful and homiletical.

This book investigates the interpretive style of Radak R.

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David Kimhi, c. Analyzing his idiosyncratic consistent juxtaposition of peshat and derash-type rabbinic comments, and thoroughly parsing his methodological statements, the book demonstrates how at times he finds rabbinic traditions essential to resolving textual questions that arise in exegesis, while at other times, he affords them only ancillary functions in his commentaries.

Naomi Grunhaus also considers in depth Radak's criteria when challenging rabbinic teachings, whether in narrative or legal contexts, which leads to the conclusion that most often he rejects rabbinic traditions when they appear to contradict textual biblical evidence, but occasionally also on the grounds of implausibility.

Particularly noteworthy is the author's discussion of Radak's apparent challenges to rabbinic legal interpretations of Scriptures, an approach which most other exegetes hesitated to take. The book considers the anomaly that Radak regularly quotes rabbinic traditions and relies on traditional authority, while simultaneously challenging this same authority when rejecting certain rabbinic interpretations. Maimonides was the greatest Jewish philosopher and legal scholar of the medieval period, a towering figure who has had a profound and lasting influence on Jewish law, philosophy, and religious consciousness.

This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to his life and work, revealing how his philosophical sensibility and outlook informed his interpretation of Jewish tradition. Moshe Halbertal vividly describes Maimonides's childhood in Muslim Spain, his family's flight to North Africa to escape persecution, and their eventual resettling in Egypt. He draws on Maimonides's letters and the testimonies of his contemporaries, both Muslims and Jews, to offer new insights into his personality and the circumstances that shaped his thinking. Halbertal then turns to Maimonides's legal and philosophical work, analyzing his three great books - Commentary on the Mishnah , the Mishneh Torah , and the Guide of the Perplexed.

He discusses Maimonides's battle against all attempts to personify God, his conviction that God's presence in the world is mediated through the natural order rather than through miracles, and his locating of philosophy and science at the summit of the religious life of Torah. Halbertal examines Maimonides's philosophical positions on fundamental questions such as the nature and limits of religious language, creation and nature, prophecy, providence, the problem of evil, and the meaning of the commandments.

The Kuzari is one of the basic books of Jewish literature, a required text in the library of every educated Jew--and of every educated Christian who would understand the religion of Israel. The author, foremost poet and thinker of the Jewish Middle Ages, offers clear and usable delineations of the religion of Israel. In the easy style of a Platonic dialogue, he presents first a critique of Christianity and Islam, and then explores the nature of Israel's first religious faculty, the question of the 'chosen' people, the implications of a 'minority religion'.

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Against those who accommodate to prevailing philosophical trends, Judah Halevi is blunt, frank and uncompromising in his discourse on the central teachings of Judaism: revelation, prophecy, the laws, the Holy Land, and the role of the Jewish people as spokesman for religious faith. Als de koning der Chazaren in de achtste eeuw voor zijn volk een geschikte godsdienst wil kiezen, nodigt hij een filosoof, christen, moslim en joodse wijze uit. Zij verdedigen allen hun geloof.

Unveiling Eve: Reading Gender in Medieval Hebrew Literature

Al snel vernauwt het dispuut zich tot een dialoog tussen de koning en de joodse wijze. Het boek van de Chazaar Kuzari behandelt traditionele filosofische vraagstukken oorsprong van het leven, voorbeschikking en vrije wil en is tegelijkertijd, zoals de ondertitel luidt, een 'bewijs ter verdediging van het verachte geloof'. Het geeft een diep inzicht in de achtergronden van de joodse religie en mystiek aan de hand van talloze bijbelpassages, tradities, de Hebreeuwse taal en het jodendom, culminerend in de nog steeds actuele stelling dat het joodse volk is uitverkoren en onlosmakelijk verbonden met het land van Israel.

Achtergrond is de historische bekering van de Chazaren, een Turks volk in de Kaukasus. De Kuzari is het belangrijkste filosofische werk van de joodse dichter, arts en geleerde Juda Halevi , die leefde in het islamitische Spanje van die dagen. Dit standaardwerk is nu voor het eerst beschikbaar in een volledige Nederlandse vertaling van filosoof en classicus Rolf Post. Onderdeel van de vertaling is de 'brief van de Chazaar', historische correspondentie uit de tiende eeuw tussen de toenmalige koning der Chazaren Josef en de joodse minister van buitenlandse zaken Chasdai ibn Sjaproet.

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Traduit sur le texte original arabe confrontee avec la version hebraique et accompagne d'une introduction et notes par Charles Touati. In his " Maimonides: Torah and Philosophical Quest", David Hartman departs from traditional scholarly views about Maimonides by offering a new way of understanding the great man and his work. This expanded edition contains Hartman's new postscript. A 12th-century rabbi, scholar, physician, and philosopher, Moses Maimonides is best known for his two great works on "Judaism: Mishneh Torah" and "Guide to the Perplexed".

They have often been viewed by scholars as having different audiences and different messages, together reflecting the two sides of the author himself: Maimonides the halakhist, who focused on piety through obedience to Jewish law; and Maimonides the philosopher, who advocated closeness with God through reflection and knowledge of nature. Hartman argues that while many scholars look at one aspect of Maimonides to the exclusion or dismissal of the other, the way to really understand him is to see both adherence to the law and philosophical pursuits as two essential aspects of Judaism.

Hartman's postscript sheds new light on his argument and indeed on Judaism as Maimonides interpreted it. In it Hartman explains that while Maimonides never envisioned the integration of halakhah with philosophy, he did view them as existing in a symbiotic relationship. While the focus of the Mishneh Torah was halakha and obedience to Jewish law, "Guide to the Perplexed" spoke to individuals whose love of God grew through their passion, devotion and yearning to understand God's wisdom and power in nature. Both modes of spiritual orientation lived in the thought of Maimonides.

In The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz , author Ephraim Kanarfogel challenges the dominant perception that medieval Ashkenazic rabbinic scholarship was lacking in intellectualism or broad scholarly interests. While cultural interaction between Jews and Christians in western Europe was less than that of Sephardic Jews, Kanarfogel's study shows that the intellectual interests of Ashkenazic rabbinic figures were much broader than Talmudic studies alone.

Kanarfogel begins by highlighting several factors that have contributed to relatively narrow perceptions of Ashkenazic rabbinic culture and argues that the Tosafists, and Ashkenazic rabbinic scholarship more generally, advocated a wide definition of the truths that could be discovered through Torah study. He explores differences in talmudic and halakhic studies between the Tosafist centers of northern France and Germany, delves into aspects of biblical interpretation in each region, and identifies important Tosafists and rabbinic figures. Kanarfogel also examines the composition of liturgical poetry piyyut by Tosafists, interest in forms of white magic and mysticism on the part of a number of northern French Tosafists, and a spectrum of views on the question of anthropomorphism and messianism.

The Leipzig Mahzor is one of the most lavish Hebrew illuminated manuscripts of all time. A prayer book used during Jewish holidays, it was produced in the Middle Ages for the Jewish community of Worms in the German Rhineland. Though Worms was a vibrant center of Judaism in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and drew celebrated rabbis, little is known about the city's Jews in the later Middle Ages. In the pages of its famous book, Katrin Kogman-Appel discovers a portal into the life of this fourteenth-century community. Medieval mahzorim were used only for special services in the synagogue and "belonged" to the whole congregation, so their visual imagery reflected the local cultural associations and beliefs.

Its imagery reveals how his Ashkenazi Pietist worldview and involvement in mysticism shaped the community's religious practice. Kogman-Appel draws attention to the Mahzor's innovations, including its strategy for avoiding visual representation of God and its depiction of customs such as the washing of dishes before Passover, something less common in other mahzorim.

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In addition to decoding its iconography, Kogman-Appel approaches the manuscript as a ritual object that preserved a sense of identity and cohesion within a community facing a wide range of threats to its stability and security. An analysis of why there are no known female mystics in medieval and early modern Judaism, unlike contemporaneous movements in Christianity and Islam. Medieval European culture encompassed Judaic, Christian, Muslim, and pagan societies, forming a complex matrix of religious belief, identity, and imagination. Through incisive readings of a broad range of medieval texts and informed by poststructuralist, queer, and feminist theories, The Spectral Jew traces the Jewish presence in Western Europe to show how the body, gender, and sexuality were at the root of the construction of medieval religious anxieties, inconsistencies, and instabilities.

Looking closely at how medieval Jewish and Christian identities are distinguished from each other, yet intimately intertwined, Kruger demonstrates how Jews were often corporealized in ways that posited them as inferior to Christians? But such attempts to differentiate Jews and Christians were inevitably haunted by the knowledge that Christianity had emerged out of Judaism and was, in its own self-understanding, a community of converts. Examining the points of contact between Christian and Jewish communities, Kruger discloses the profound paradox of the Jew as different in all ways, yet capable of converting to fully Christian status.

He draws from central medieval authors and texts such as Peter Damian, Guibert of Nogent, the Barcelona Disputation, and the Hebrew chronicles of the First Crusade, as well as lesser known writings such as the disputations of Ceuta, Majorca, and Tortosa and the immensely popular Dialogues of Peter Alfonsi. By putting the conversion narrative at the center of this analysis, Kruger exposes it as a disruption of categories rather than a smooth passage and reveals the prominent role Judaism played in the medieval Christian imagination.

Steven F. This volume summarizes the results of a research project organized at Mainz University in Germersheim, Germany.