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The Business of IdentityJews, Muslims, and Economic Life in Medieval Egypt$
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Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785471

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785471.001.0001

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Commercial Forms and Legal Norms in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt

Commercial Forms and Legal Norms in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt

(p.156) Three Commercial Forms and Legal Norms in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt
The Business of Identity

Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman

Stanford University Press

The third chapter emphasizes the deliberate and free aspect of Jewish merchants’ choice of commercial vehicles through a close reading of court practice. The chapter reveals the (Rabbanite) Jewish court to have educated Jewish merchants as to Jewish legal norms and then to have given those merchants some flexibility to contract agreements that did not accord with those norms. Since Jewish merchants could easily have chosen mercantile structures that did not accord with Jewish law, the fact that they often chose structures that did accord with Jewish law should be understood as an attempt to use commercial practice as a vehicle for affirming a distinctive Jewish identity.

Keywords:   Jewish law, Islamic law, court practice, medieval Egypt, arbitration, mediation, legal norms

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