The Jews in the Middle Ages By Mark Cohen (272 Pages)Publisher: Princeton University Press, 1995
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 Moslems and Jews peacefully cohabited in Arab lands a utopia that many Arabs claimed had continued until the emergence of modern Zionism. Some Jewish writers challenged this notion with a "countermyth of Islamic persecution," suggesting that medieval Jews fared not much better socially and politically under Islamic rule than they did under Christendom. Full of implications for Jewish, Islamic, and European historians, both myths form the backdrop of this provocative book aimed at enriching our understanding of medieval gentile-Jewish relations. Here Mark Cohen offers 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.