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Dr. Uriel Simonsohn

UrielDr. Simonsohn is a lecturer in the Dept. of Middle Eastern History in the university of Haifa. He is a member of the I Core Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters, based at Ben Gurion University. Uriel Simonsohn’s academic interests pertain to the individual and shared histories of confessional groups from as early as the Christianization of the Roman Empire to as late as the high Middle Ages in the vast region between the Iberian Peninsula and the Iranian plateau. He is particularly interested in examining the ways in which individuals and groups sustained their confessional identity in the context of their affiliation to a plurality of social circles. His publications touch upon the various encounters between the adherents of the three monotheistic traditions in cultural, religious, and social intersections. Currently Dr Simonsohn is working on two research projects: the role of women as agents of religious knowledge and practice in the early Islamic period, and the role of converts to Islam as cultural brokers.

Published work which incorporates Genizah material:

A Common Justice: The Legal Allegiances of Christians and Jews under Early Islam. Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011

Jews, Christians and Muslims in Medieval and Early Modern Times: A Festschrift in Honor of Mark R. Cohen, co-editor with Arnold E. Franklin, Roxani Eleni Margariti, and Marina Rustow. Leiden: Brill (Christians and Jews in Muslim Societies), 2014.

“Conversion, Manipulation, and Legal Exemption: A Few Case Studies from the Early Islamic Period,” Medieval Worlds, forthcoming

“The Legal and Social Bonds of Jewish Apostates and Their Spouses according to Gaonic Responsa,” Jewish Quarterly Review 105/4 (2015): 417-39.

“‘Halting Between Two Opinions’: Conversion and Apostasy in Early Islam,” Medieval Encounters, 19/3 (2013): 342-70.

For a full list of publications, see