Adaptive tactics: The jewish communities facing new reality

Miriam Frenkel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The paper deals with particular tactics, established during the Fatimid era, and thus additional to the traditional ones they already possessed, which permitted the Jews to define their niche within Fatimid society. It presents three of these tactics: 1. Production of historical and genealogical documents in order to ameliorate the status of dhimmis and to achieve an intermediate position of privileged dhimmi. This is illustrated by an analysis of a Geniza document designed as a historical bill of rights accorded by the Prophet Muammad to the Jews of Khaybar. 2. The writing of literary-liturgical oeuvres that respond to current persecutions through a messianic interpretation hidden behind laudatory expressions to the Fatimid ruler. It is illustrated by an analysis of the liturgical composition known as "The Egyptian Scroll." 3. Practices of mourning and repentance intended to cope with mass fear, illustrated through a record of testimony from 1030 about a traumatic event that almost took place in Ramla, but was prevented by a dream. Although the three tactics seem to be very diverse, they all responded to the Fatimid reality and used its language and norms.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)364-389
Number of pages26
JournalMedieval Encounters
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2015.


  • Al-Hakim bi-amr allah
  • Angst
  • Dhimmis
  • Forgeries
  • Geniza
  • Historical memory
  • Historical phobia
  • Huyayy ibn akhtab
  • Joseph al-sijilmasi
  • Khaybar
  • Khaybari jews
  • Messianism
  • Pact of umar
  • Ramla
  • Safiyya
  • Solomon ibn judah gaon
  • Taqiyya
  • The Jerusalem yeshiva
  • The egyptian scroll
  • Zikhr-n eduth (record of testimony)


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