Dr. Uriel Simonsohn
Department of Middle Eastern History
Research field: Inter-religious contacts, conversion
Dr. Simonsohn is a historian of religions and societies. His research focuses on the three monotheistic religions in the Near East and Mediterranean Basin from Late Antiquity to the High Middle Ages. In his book A Common Justice (2011), which deals with the lives of Rabbanite Jews and Eastern Christians in the early Islamic period, he attempts to present a more nuanced and untidy picture of what has often been depicted in modern scholarship as a social setting neatly carved along religious lines. The legal-anthropological paradigm of “legal pluralism” allows him to interpret the exhortations of Rabbanite and ecclesiastical leaders against extra-confessional litigation in the context of highly complex arrangements of social commitments. These commitments, he argues, went far beyond the confinements of religious communities.