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Jewish and Islamic Law

Jewish and Islamic Law

A Comparative Study of Custom during the Geonic Period

Gideon Libson

ISBN 9780674011069

Publication date: 04/30/2003

Gideon Libson's highly original work on custom is the first attempt to present a comprehensive comparative study of Jewish-Islamic law on a particular topic during the early Middle Ages. His in-depth study of Islamic law—its sources, legal schools, and extensive legal literature—together with his expertise in the wide range of geonic and rabbinic literature enable him to determine the influence of Muslim practice on geonic custom.

In both systems of law the growth of custom was a reaction to the general culture. He shows conclusively how custom in both systems of law served as a conduit for the absorption of changes, thus helping to bridge the gap between the authoritative legal systems and the practical realities of the environment. Libson's contribution to the study of comparative Jewish and Islamic law during the geonic period will be of value to scholars engaged in the study of comparative law.


  • This book marks an auspicious beginning for Harvard's series in Islamic Law. Jewish and Islamic Law breaks new ground on several fronts and points the way toward important lines of research in comparative study of religious law...[Libson's] attention to methodology, social context and detailed examples assures that his book will remain an essential resource for many years to come.

    —Jonathan E. Brockopp, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam


  • Gideon Libson is Professor Emeritus of Jewish and Islamic Law and Comparative Jewish and Islamic Law in the Faculty of Law at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he also previously held the Frieda and Solomon B. Rosenzweig Chair in Law.

Book Details

  • 380 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School