Jewish Communal History in Geniza Scholarship: Part 1, From Early Beginnings to Goitein’s Magnum Opus

Abstract

Jewish communal organization has always been a major topic in Jewish historiography, not only because of its importance in the past, but also because of its continuing importance as a model for contemporary Jewish life. This essay traces the development of nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship on Jewish communal life from its beginnings in the early research conducted by the Wissenschaft scholars until Goitein’s works, which mark a distinctive watershed in the study of this theme. Its main arguments are that Jewish communal history was shaped by contemporary political and ideological questions and that it took a long and slow path toward integrating the Cairo Geniza materials as its main base of evidence.

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Correspondence to Miriam Frenkel.

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Frenkel, M., Yagur, M. Jewish Communal History in Geniza Scholarship: Part 1, From Early Beginnings to Goitein’s Magnum Opus. JEW HIST 32, 131–142 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10835-018-9310-8

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Keywords

  • Jewish historiography
  • Jewish community
  • Cairo Geniza
  • Jerusalem school