Did Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages cohabit in a peaceful "interfaith utopia"? Or were Jews under Muslim rule persecuted, much as they were in Christian lands? Rejecting both polemically charged ideas as myths, Mark Cohen offers a systematic comparison of Jewish life in medieval Islam and Christendom--and the first in-depth explanation of why medieval Islamic-Jewish relations, though not utopic, were less confrontational and violent than those between Christians and Jews in the West.
Under Crescent and Cross has been translated into Turkish, Hebrew, German, Arabic, French, and Spanish, and its historic message continues to be relevant across continents and time. This updated edition, which contains an important new introduction and afterword by the author, serves as a great companion to the original.
"Cohen's concern in this important new book is with a historiographically far more interesting and useful question [than the debate over the Jewish experiences in the medieval worlds of Christendom and Islam]: why the difference? . . . Cohen's argument is buttressed with an impressive range of evidence drawn from both Jewish and non-Jewish sources in the Islamic and Christian worlds."--David Wasserstein, The Times Literary Supplement
"Cohen advances our knowledge through a fine treatment of the huge literature and the application of social anthropological theory. Scholars will welcome the sound synthesis; general readers will appreciate the lucid style."--Library Journal
"[Cohen's] systematic, comparative approach . . . makes this a useful book for courses in general medieval history and Jewish history. Cohen presents the differences between the history of Jewish life under Edom [Christianity] and Ishmael [Islam] in a lucid and comprehensive manner."--Stephen D. Beinin, American Historical Review
"Cohen's is a polemical text in the best sense of the word: it tries to open debate, not stifle it, and asks questions where they are traditionally shouted away. . . . A reassuringly balanced and judicious assessment of Jewish life in the Middle Ages."--Andre A. Aciman, New York Newsday
"On the whole, given the complexity of the issues and the long history of the debate about them, Cohen's fresh approach . . . is welcome, and anyone interested in the subject in the future will find it necessary to refer to this important work."--William M. Brinner, Medieval Encounters
"Mark R. Cohen has crafted a work that is fascinating in detail and provocative in analysis."--Frederic Krome, Speculum
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Mark R. Cohen:
Hardcover published in 1994.
A Selection of the History Book Club and the Jewish Book Club