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Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World
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  • Page extent: 240 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.372 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521005821 | ISBN-10: 0521005825)

Masters explores the history of Christians and Jews in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman empire and how their identities as non-Muslims evolved over four hundred years. At the start of this period, in the sixteenth century, social community was circumscribed by religious identity and non-Muslims lived within the hierarchy established by Muslim law. In the nineteenth century, however, in response to Western influences, a radical change took place. Conflict erupted between Muslims and Christians in different parts of the empire in a challenge to that hierarchy. This marked the beginning, as the author illustrates, of the tensions which have to a large extent inspired the nationalist and religious rhetoric in the empire's successor states throughout the twentieth century. In this way, Masters negotiates the present through the past. His book will make a major contribution to an understanding of the political and religious conflicts of the modern Middle East.

• Innovative approach which considers the role of religion in defining identity in pre-modern Middle East • Explains the origins of nationalism among Arabic-speaking peoples and casts light on the roots of violence in the modern Middle East • Written by an established scholar of Ottoman and Christian studies


Introduction: 1. The limits of tolerance: the social status of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Arab lands; 2. The Ottoman Arab world: a diversity of sects and peoples; 3. Merchants and missionaries in the seventeenth century: the West intrudes; 4. New opportunities and challenges in the 'long' eighteenth century; 5. Intercommunal dissonance in the nineteenth century; 6. After the 'events': the search for community in the twilight of empire; Conclusion.


'… this book is extremely well written … It deserves a wide audience.' Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

'This extremely well-researched and insightful book is of great interest not only to academics, but also to a wider readership eager to understand the present turmoil in the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire and to imagine solutions to their crises.' Middle Eastern Studies

'The richness of the book in terms of scope, its careful argument in the interpretation of individual events and actions, based on primary source material of various kinds, and the well organized synthesis of numerous divergent strains, offer more than a unified new key to the sectarian violence of the 19th century. It will certainly become an important assignment in graduate and undergraduate courses on the Arab World in Ottoman times, and on minorities in the Middle East in general.' JESHO

'… a valuable contribution to our understanding of the relationship of religion, identity, and politics in the Arab Middle East.' Rebecca Bryant, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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