Byzan­tine Jew­ry in the Mediter­ranean Economy

Joshua Holo
  • Review
By – September 8, 2011
This learned vol­ume inves­ti­gates Jew­ish eco­nom­ic life in a peri­od in which the Jews did not play an obvi­ous piv­otal role in the Mid­dle Byzan­tine Empire (6101204); more­over, few pri­ma­ry sources remain from these Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties. Nev­er­the­less, Holo brings much light to the Jew­ish community’s inter­nal eco­nom­ic dynam­ics as well as the community’s role in shap­ing the larg­er society’s eco­nom­ic his­to­ry. He does this by pay­ing spe­cial atten­tion to the mate­r­i­al that is avail­able — for exam­ple, from the rela­tion­ships involved in their niche mar­kets such as tex­tiles and tan­ning. Jews may have been con­fined to spe­cial quar­ters and lim­it­ed legal­ly, forced to con­vert, and oth­er­wise vic­tim­ized by injus­tice and vio­lence, but Holo also explains how much coop­er­a­tion and coex­is­tence with Chris­tians remained char­ac­ter­is­tic of day-to-day urban life, how their role in the inte­grat­ed econ­o­my was a func­tion of their seg­re­gat­ed econ­o­my, and vice ver­sa. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index.
Mark D. Nanos, Ph.D., Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas, is the author of Mys­tery­of Romans, win­ner of the 1996 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award, Charles H. Revson­Award in Jew­ish-Chris­t­ian Relations.

Discussion Questions