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Jewish civilization in Arab world to be discussed at Emory

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Norman A. Stillman, an internationally recognized authority on the history and culture of the Islamic world and on Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry, will speak on "When Arabic Was a Jewish Language" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, as the 2013 Tenenbaum Family Lecturer in Judaic Studies.

The lecture, which is free, will be held at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum reception hall, 571 S. Kilgo Circle, on the Emory campus. Free parking is available at the Fishburne or Peavine parking decks.

Stillmann, who serves as the Schusterman/Josey Professor of Judaic History at the University of Oklahoma, will give a wide-ranging historical and cultural look at Jewish civilization in its Islamic milieu.

"During the Middle Ages, the vast majority of Jews lived under Muslim rule, approximately 90 percent up until 1200CE," says linguist Benjamin Hary, Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities at Emory. "This means that Arabic-speaking Jews were responsible for forging the crucial links between rabbinic literature in Late Antiquity and the ever-expanding and growing communities of the Diaspora, thus setting the stage for Jewish continuity over the course of more than a millennium." 

Stillman is the author of seven books, among them the highly acclaimed "The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times," which was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award. Over the last quarter century, he has focused his scholarship on Jewish-Arab encounters in Arab lands. He is executive editor of the award-winning five-volume "Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World" (2010) and continues in that capacity for the expanding online edition.

Sponsored by the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory, the Tenenbaum Family Lectureship in Judaic Studies salutes the family of the late Meyer W. Tenenbaum of Savannah, Ga. Arriving from Savannah from Poland at the age of 13 along with his parents and siblings, Meyer seized an education as the path to success in America and graduated from Emory University School of Law 11 years later. The lectureship honors the entire family and its ethos of citizenship and public service. 

Free parking for the lecture is available at the Fishburne Parking Deck, 1672 N. Decatur Rd., Atlanta.

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