A Geniza Street View: Domestic Inter-religious Encounters in the Medieval Islamic Mediterranean

Dr. Moshe Yagur

CAJS, Halper 336

In this talk, I will present my research on daily inter-religious interactions through a systematic study of the houses, alleys and neighborhoods of several cities in the Islamic Mediterranean, between the tenth and the thirteenth centuries.

In these cities, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side without spatial segregation. How did that work and what were the effects of this reality?

This is an inquiry of the interrelatedness of urban space, religion and community in the daily lives of the non-elite.

In my talk I will examine the metropolis of Fustat-Cairo during the Fatimid and Ayyubid periods as a case study. The starting point will be the intersection of two unknown streets – Michael street and Masākīn street – in the oldest neighborhood of Fustat. By combining archaeological evidence,  literary  descriptions,  and  hundreds  of  mostly unpublished documents from the Cairo Geniza, I will uncover legal and social aspects of this reality of shared dwelling.

I will claim that by focusing on the daily lives of the middle class, where they lived, with whom and how, we can gain a new understating of the urban layout, as well as the religious inter-connectedness, of the medieval Mediterranean.

Sunday, October 31, 2021.


Room #146, New Library Wing,

University of Haifa