This book builds on and makes a further contribution to the great Geniza scholar S.D. Goitein’s multivolume set A Mediterrannnian Society. In the 20th century, Geniza research was pioneered by such scholars as Solomon Schechter, Louis Ginzberg, Simchah Asaf and Benjamin Lewin. These historians made important contributions, but their focus was largely on the Rabbinic cultural elite and economic elite. The Voice of the Poor in the Middle Ages deals with the marginalized and often ignored voices of the poor. This is an important step in filling in the lacunae of social history. Cohen has mined the primary documents of the Cairo Geniza with zest and style, providing a vivid picture of life for the majority of Jews in the Middle Ages: battling for survival against the forces of medieval poverty.
The Voice of the Poor in the Middle Ages: An Anthology of Documents From the Cairo Geniza
David Levy (B.A. Haverford College, MLS UMCP, Ph.D. Baltimore Hebrew University) currently serves as the librarian at TC. LCW. David has published over 1,800 book reviews and various papers in Judaica library science including, most recently, “Halakhic Ethical Issues of the Online Environment” (AJL, 2011, Montréal) and “Teaching Judaica Library Science” (AJL, 2010 Seattle).
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