Byzantine Jewry in the Mediterranean Economy by Joshua Holo
Using primary sources, Joshua Holo uncovers the day-to-day workings of the Byzantine-Jewish economy in the middle Byzantine period. Built on a web of exchange systems both exclusive to the Jewish community and integrated in society at large, this economy forces a revision of Jewish history in the region. Paradoxically, the two distinct economic orientations, inward and outward, simultaneously advanced both the integration of the Jews into the larger Byzantine economy and their segregation as a self-contained body economic. Dr Holo finds that the Jews routinely leveraged their internal, even exclusive, systems of law and culture to break into – occasionally to dominate – Byzantine markets. In doing so, they challenge our concept of Diaspora life as a balance between the two competing impulses of integration and segregation. The success of this enterprise, furthermore, qualifies the prevailing claim of Jewish economic decline during the Commercial Revolution.
Year first published: 2020