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I am a historian of religions and societies. My research focuses on the three monotheistic religions in the Near East and Mediterranean Basin from Late Antiquity to the High Middle Ages. In my book A Common Justice (2011), which deals with the lives of Rabbanite Jews and Eastern Christians in the early Islamic period, I attempt to present a more nuanced and untidy picture of what has often been depicted in modern scholarship as a social setting neatly carved along religious lines. The legal-anthropological paradigm of “legal pluralism” allows me to interpret the exhortations of Rabbanite and ecclesiastical leaders against extra-confessional litigation in the context of highly complex arrangements of social commitments. These commitments, I argue, went far beyond the confinements of religious communities.
At present I continue to explore interfaith encounters through two main research projects, one concerning the process of conversion to Islam in the early Islamic period, and the other focused on the phenomenon of religiously-mixed families. In both pursuits I seek to cast light on the passage of peoples and ideas from one religious circle to another while describing the social context that facilitated this passage.
In the context of these persuits, I am a member of the I Core Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters, based at Ben Gurion University.