Phil Lieberman awarded NEH grant for summer research
Phillip I. Lieberman has been awarded a competitive NEH grant for the summer of 2019 to complete his book manuscript on the urbanization of the Jews of Iraq and their migration to the communities of North Africa. It will be called The Shifting Fate of World Jewry from East to West in the Early Islamic Period.
An excerpt from his proposal reads:
Historical demographers estimate that Jewish people living in Iraq during medieval times represented some 90% of world Jewry. Iraq was home not only to the academies responsible for the compilation and dissemination of Jewish law but also to the world’s preeminent Jewish community as a whole. Yet over the course of the first few centuries of Islam rule (750-1258 CE) the numerical and religious supremacy of Iraqi Jewry faded. The center of gravity shifted west, with the rise of the Jewish communities of the Islamic Mediterranean assuming the crown once held by those of Iraq. The proposed book project explores whether there was a large migration of Jewish people to the Mediterranean, or whether the rise of Judaism in the Mediterranean can be explained by other means.