[Professor Paul Fenton]

Professor Paul Fenton

At the fourth session, chaired by the Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic, Tarif Khalidi, Professor Paul Fenton, of the Sorbonne, devoted his paper to Jewish-Muslim relations.

He used Genizah texts to demonstrate that ``the principles of seclusion and discrimination inculcated by religious bigotry were often countered by the kind of economic and social realities that nurtured more tolerant attitudes''.

Professor Fenton gave details of Genizah letters that reveal Jewish-Muslim partnerships unrestricted by social or religious dictates. In the area of social relations, especially among the middle-class, contacts on a personal level were often quite intimate, despite official segregation.

The overall impression given by the Genizah documents was of a dynamic interaction between the Jewish and Muslim communities on both the material and spiritual planes.

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Edited by Stefan C. Reif
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University of Cambridge; last updated November 1999