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A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, Vol. I: Economic Foundations (Near Eastern Center, UCLA) Revised ed. Edition

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520221581
ISBN-10: 0520221583
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  • A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, Vol. I: Economic Foundations (Near Eastern Center, UCLA)
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  • A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, Vol. III: The Family (Near Eastern Center, UCLA)
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Editorial Reviews

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"The work is remarkable for its sheer magnitude, but more particularly for the humane sensibility and imagination, the skill, and the formidable learning that it reflects."--"The Haskins Medal Committee

From the Inside Flap

"One of the best comprehensive histories of a culture in this century."—Amos Funkenstein, Stanford University
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Product Details

  • Series: Near Eastern Center, UCLA (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Revised ed. edition (June 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520221583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520221581
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Goitein is an undisputed master of the Cairo Geniza, the eclectic collection 0f 20,000 documents, including marriage contracts, civil procedure and business contracts, marriage and divorce instruments, all shedding light on the most fascinating Jewish (and Islamic) Mediterranean society extending from North Africa, to Egypt and Palestine in the 10th to 13th centuries. However, unless you're working on a PhD dissertation, skip the above book and get the one volume compilation/synopsis of all of Goitein's five volumes. Volume I alone has way too much detail to be of interest to anyone except the scholar. By the way, if anyone thinks that medieval society was primitive, they should read the high moral standards exhibited by medieval Jewish society, both in terms of charity given to their co-religionists in distant parts of the mediterranean world, as well as the high business ethical and moral standards exhibited by medieval man. And working for someone as an employee (as opposed to running your own business) was considered an abomination by the geniza people. Surprisingly too, divorce was fairly common in this era. As Koheles (Ecclesiates) said with prescience: there is nothing new under the sun.
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Format: Paperback
this is a 6-volume set. Goitein's text is entertaining, well-written and full of anecdotes. This is a classic in the field and a good read for non-specialists.
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A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, Vol. I: Economic Foundations (Near Eastern Center, UCLA)
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