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The Jews of Moslem Spain, Vol. 1

by Eliyahu Ashtor

Bibliographic information

TitleThe Jews of Moslem Spain, Vol. 1
AuthorEliyahu Ashtor
PublisherVarda Books
Publication Date2004


This is the first volume of a monumental survey of the Jewish community in Spain under Moslem rule offers the reader access to a difficult subject...written in a style that is both authoritative and lively.

Called by Choice "the most comprehensive survey of a magnificent era," The Jews of Moslem Spain , the story begins in 711 C.E., on the slopes of Gibraltar, when the Moslems conquered the Iberian peninsula and moves through centuries of the flowering of Jewish culture, the "Golden Age of Spanish Jewry.

The book is peopled with soldiers and rabbinic scholars, viziers in the caliph"s court, poets and converts, courtiers and intellectuals. The splendid array of characters includes such pivotal figures as Hasdai ibn Shaprut and Samuel ha-Nagid and his son, Joseph.

Eliyahu Ashtor"s work is based on many sources: Arabic chronicles, geographical writings, Hebrew inscriptions, literary and documentary sources and Geniza records as well as data unearthed through topographical research in ancient Jewish quarters that have survived for centuries in Spanish towns.

Ashtor tells a rich and complex story. Written with extraordinary clarity and appreciation for the dramatic, a vivid recreation of daily life emerges.

The book is a classic, both in its enduring validity as a basis for generations of scholarship and in its continuing popularity among readers everywhere.

In a new introduction, David J. Wasserstein, Professor of Islamic History at Tel Aviv University, looks at the changes in scholarly perception of historical facts and problems since Ashtor wrote; he also examines developments in historiographical concern during that time.

About the Author 

Eliyahu Ashtor ---

Historian and educator, Eliyahu Ashtor taught in Paris, Harvard University and is now Professor of Moslem History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His writtings have made major contributions to the study of Islamic social history in the Near East during the Middle Ages.


Introduction David J. Wasserstein vii

1 The Conquest of Spain 3

2 The First Omayyads 43

3 Chaos in Moslem Spain 85

4 Religious Life in the Ninth Century 118

5 Hasdai Ibn Shaprut 135

6 The Efflorescence of Jewish Culture 228

7 Earning a Livelihood 264

8 The Communities of Spain during the Era of the Omayyads 291

9 Toward the End of the Tenth Century 355

Abbreviations 403

Sources 405

Notes 407

Index 457

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