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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of concepts covered in the book, which is a tribute to Mark R. Cohen by his colleagues and students. Cohen is one of the most important scholars in the study of the history of Jews in the Islamic world. At the center of most of Cohen's work is the Cairo Geniza, a cache of more than three hundred thousand folio pages that a single community of medieval Egyptian Jews discarded in their synagogue in the belief that written texts, especially those in Hebrew script potentially containing the name of God, should be not casually destroyed but buried in the ground or stored in a special chamber built for the purpose. The vast majority of Geniza texts date to the period of Egypt's rule by the Fatimid caliphs and Ayyubid sulṭāns, a period during which the overwhelming majority of Jews worldwide lived under Muslim rule.

Keywords: Cairo Geniza; early modern Europe; Hebrew script; Jews; Mark R. Cohen; medieval Egypt; Muslims

10.1163/9789004267848_002
/content/books/b9789004267848_002
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