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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54260
Doc. No:TL24214
Call number:‭3385438‬
Main Entry:Elisha R. Russ-Fishbane
Title & Author:Between politics and piety: Abraham Maimonides and his timesElisha R. Russ-Fishbane
College:Harvard University
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:368
Abstract:The dissertation that follows is an historical investigation into Egyptian Jewish society of the thirteenth century and the legacy of its paramount leader, Abraham Maimonides (1186-1237). The dawn of the thirteenth century witnessed great transformations and upheavals in Egypt, with a series of devastating natural disasters whose economic and demographic impact was felt for years to come. In the midst of this hardship, Egyptian Jewry absorbed hundreds of Jewish immigrants, from Byzantium in the east to France in the west, who further tested its resources and resolve. The beginning of the thirteenth century also marks the flowering of a spiritual movement among Egyptian Jewry, whose rituals and inner ideals reflect the profound impact of contemporary Sufism. Abraham Maimonides emerged as the most ardent spokesman for the nascent movement, utilizing his influence and prestige as head of the Jews to bring much-needed legitimacy to the pietists, who often found themselves on the defensive with their fellow Jews and the Muslim authorities. Abraham Maimonides' controversial initiatives were not confined to pietism, but were felt in a range of reforms that cast him in the role of conservative defender of the tradition. The dissertation delves into all of these controversial measures both as a window into the Nagid's religious leadership and as a key to profound changes in the spiritual and communal life of Egyptian Jewry. The present work makes extensive use of the Cairo Genizah documents as its primary source of historical information. While many Genizah fragments discussed here have been noted by previous scholars, a considerable number have received their first treatment, as well as translation, in this study. It is the first systematic effort at an historical portrait of the socioeconomic, spiritual, and communal developments of Egyptian Jewry in the first half of the thirteenth century on the eve of the Mamluk period. As it has benefitted tremendously from the research of other scholars, it is hoped that this contribution will stimulate further inquiry into this important period of Egyptian Jewish society.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Judaism; Sufism; Egypt; Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon; Piety; Pietism; Religious history; Medieval history; 0320:Religious history; 0581:Medieval history
Added Entry:B. Septimus
Added Entry:Harvard University