Friday, May 28, 2010

Books I'm reading

The Jews of Arab lands
A History and Source Book
By Norman A. Stillman - 1979

Some might know that I am an Egyptian Jew.

The subject, therefore, has periodically fascinated me.

Norman A. Stillman, an Associate Professor of History and Arabic at the State University of New York at Binghamton, has written a classic book of reference on a subject that has not attracted as much attention as it should. At least, this is the opinion of people like me, who are very close to becoming the "Last of the Mohicans" of a millenarian civilization in the lands of the Middle East.

In our days of erudite analysis and opinions about the roots of the Israeli-Arab conflict, re-reading this book can put them in a new perspective.

While it is generally accepted that Jewish life under Islamic rulers was fairly acceptable in contrast with medieval European persecutions, Norman Stillman's book brings about some significant facts that could definitely alter this line of thought.

The book is divided in two parts: the History and the Sources.

I was mostly interested in the Sources which is a vast and rich collection of translations and excerpts of Notes and Documents now existing in Archives, Museums and Public Records.

While I must acknowledge the often more tolerant Islamic rulers, Jews as members of the "Dhimmis" or non-Muslim minorities, were in fact a discriminated and persecuted part of that society, with variable experiences and rights according to the ebb and flow of thirteen centuries of Arab and Turkish rule. So, if you heard of pogroms, massacres and injustices in the lands of Europe, they have also existed here.

Both parts of the book are enlightening. Of course, the book was written by a Jew.
But Stillman's intelligence and wide perspective validate this substantial contribution to Middle East History.

This is not the usual posting on a real estate blog. But this is also my personal blog and I have been told that I can post here whatever goes through my mind.
It doesn't mean that you have to stop selling or buying homes from me. God Forbid.
Take it as a cup of Turkish coffee, while we take a pause and relax.

Reading books is sadly an "endangered species" in human culture. Lately, I am reading more books and less newspapers, websites, and magazines. Don't ask why.

Commenting about a good book is perhaps as good as giving my friends a good restaurant address, do you agree?

Henry B. Nathan is a Florida Realtor at United Realty Group Inc.
Visit my website:
where you can search for Golden Beach Real Estate

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