The advent of Islam in the seventh century brought profound changes to the Middle East and to the Jews living there. The unification through Islamic conquest of the formerly warring great empires of Christian Byzantium and Zoroastrian Persia opened up vast territories for long-distance exchange of goods within a single realm. For Jews, the predominantly…
Mark R. Cohen is the Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He is a well-known historian of the Jews in Arab lands in the Middle Ages. His books include: Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages; Poverty and Charity in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt; Jewish Self-Government in Medieval Egypt; and, most recently, Maimonides and the Merchants: Jewish Law and Society in the Medieval Islamic World. He has lectured widely in the U.S., Europe, Russia, Japan, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Israel, before both scholarly and general audiences.