Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts through the Ages

Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts through the Ages

Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts through the Ages

Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts through the Ages

Excerpt

A book on the relationships between Jews and Arabs through the ages needs no justification. These relationships have been so influential on the destinies of the two peoples and, to some extent, on the general course of history, that they deserve study in their own right. In addition, their knowledge is conducive to a better understanding of the problems facing the Middle East in our own days.

There is no textbook on either Jewish or Arab history that would provide an adequate picture of these contacts which stretch over many hundreds of years and touch on almost every aspect of culture. Much of the material is scattered in innumerable publications: partly it had to be culled directly from still untapped and unpublished sources.

When Mr. S. Schocken, who already had published my Yemenite anthology, Tales from the Land of Sheba, asked me to write a book on the history of the social and cultural contacts between Jews and Arabs, I responded with enthusiasm. I had worked in this field for almost thirty years: First, in connection with large scale researches into Muslim religious literature and historiography; secondly, during my study of the Oriental Jewish communities, in particular the Yemenites, the most genuine Jews living among the most genuine Arabs; finally, owing to my work on the Geniza, medieval documents, written in Hebrew characters, but mostly in the Arabic language. These studies, many of which were of a specialized nature and were published in different languages, needed . . .

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