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Geonim Confront Apostasy: Legal Consequences of Conversion to Islam (9th-11th Centuries)

Geonim Confront Apostasy: Legal Consequences of Conversion to Islam (9th-11th Centuries)

Geonim Confront Apostasy: Legal Consequences of Conversion to Islam (9th-11th Centuries)

Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Program and Center for Jewish Studies Wednesday, February 18, 2015 12:00 pm-2:00 pm Susquehanna Hall, 3105

The leaders of the Babylonian Jewish community were confronted by a new reality in the wake of the Muslim conquests of the mid-7th century: In contrast to the previous state religion, Zoroastrianism, Islam welcomed converts and made conversion attractive in various ways. Although we have no statistical data on the frequency of conversion from Judaism to Islam, Geonic responsa addressed to Jewish communities throughout the Islamic world, dealing with the consequences of conversion in personal and civil law, clearly show that this was a significant phenomenon and that halachic authorities engaged in vigorous debates with regard to these                                                                                          consequences.

 

Robert Brody is Professor of Talmud at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published widely on the Geonic period and its literature, including surveys such as The Geonim of Babylonia and the Shaping of Medieval Jewish Culture (Yale, 2nd edition 2012), editions and studies on a variety of specific topics.

Add to Calendar 02/18/15 12:00 PM 02/18/15 2:00 PM America/New_York Geonim Confront Apostasy: Legal Consequences of Conversion to Islam (9th-11th Centuries)

The leaders of the Babylonian Jewish community were confronted by a new reality in the wake of the Muslim conquests of the mid-7th century: In contrast to the previous state religion, Zoroastrianism, Islam welcomed converts and made conversion attractive in various ways. Although we have no statistical data on the frequency of conversion from Judaism to Islam, Geonic responsa addressed to Jewish communities throughout the Islamic world, dealing with the consequences of conversion in personal and civil law, clearly show that this was a significant phenomenon and that halachic authorities engaged in vigorous debates with regard to these                                                                                          consequences.

 

Robert Brody is Professor of Talmud at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published widely on the Geonic period and its literature, including surveys such as The Geonim of Babylonia and the Shaping of Medieval Jewish Culture (Yale, 2nd edition 2012), editions and studies on a variety of specific topics.

Susquehanna Hall