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Marina Rustow named 2015 MacArthur Fellow

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Congratulations to Marina Rustow, author of Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate, who has been named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow on the basis of her work with the Cairo Geniza texts. From the MacArthur Foundation’s description of Rustow’s work:

“In Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate (2008), Rustow focuses on the period from 909 to 1171 C.E. and upends long-accepted ideas about the relationship between two rival Jewish communities under Fatimid rule. Prior historians, basing their interpretation on literary polemics, had depicted the Rabbanites and Karaites (or Qaraites) of Egypt and Syria as factions bitterly divided by theological difference, the latter branded as heretics and marginalized. Rustow examined nonliterary Geniza documents (such as letters, legal contracts, and state petitions and decrees) and revealed a wealth of social, economic, and political transactions between the two groups. The finding calls into question the depth of the religious schism, suggesting a higher level of tolerance and cooperation than had been assumed.”

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