The project is frontier research in several respects. It aims at crossing the boundaries between 3 main disciplines of academia, viz. Islamic and Jewish Studies and Studies of Eastern Christianity. The followers of the 3 denominations constituted a unique cultural commonality in the medieval world of Islam. They shared Arabic as their common language and often read the same books, so that a continuous exchange of ideas, texts, and forms of discourse was the norm. This widely accepted historical reality notwithstanding, scholars usually opt for a one-dimensional approach with a focus on either Muslim, Jewish or Christian authors. The project aims at radically breaking away from this pattern replacing it with a multi-dimensional interdisciplinarity that is justified by the historical reality of the periods and regions under investigation. Yet it goes beyond mere interdisciplinarity in that the applicant seeks to connect between the leading researchers in the field who are also separated by political boundaries. Close cooperation will be sought with researchers from the West and the Islamic world and an attempt will be made to bring them together during the two int nal workshops scheduled for Years 2 and 4. The primary purpose in bringing scholars from such diverse disciplines and worlds together is to create a new quality within research. As such, the project also serves a wider political purpose: In a world in which borders increasingly gain significance, the project is meant to demonstrate that intellectual history characteristically disregard any such borders and that intellectual symbiosis was often the norm rather than the exception, and that this holds particularly true in one of today s hottest conflict areas, the Middle East.
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