Between Cross and Crescent: Jewish Civilization from Mohammed to Spinoza

Reviewed on , book by David B. Ruderman

Recently, someone Jewish joined my team and I realized how little I knew about Jewish culture and history. In particular, I wanted to understand more about Jewish history in the “middle.” I felt I had a bit of an understanding of the beginnings, and of the last 100 years—however, what happened between the beginning and now was opaque to me. I thought this course (as an Audiobook) gave a decent walk-through, but I would’ve expected to have walked away with a stronger model of Jewish history from a 16-hour course.

The course walks us through The Jewish diaspora from the beginning of Christianity, the relationship with Islam, the emigration to Spain, and later the expulsion from Spain in 1492. The “eastern frontier” of Ashkenazi Jewry, and important Jewish philosophy throughout times. It goes into great depth with how the Jews interacted with the societies around them and trace anti-semitism far, far back to the first expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.