This chapter introduces Shared Identities: Medieval and Modern Imaginings of Judeo-Islam. It makes the case that the study of Muslim and Jewish relations is ultimately an issue of comparison and, as a result, ought to be illumined by the field of religious studies. Despite this, and perhaps paradoxically, there are numerous tensions inherent to the particularism of specific subfields and the generalization demanded by the larger field of religious studies. The chapter then examines the regnant paradigm used to describe Jewish–Muslim relations in the premodern period, that of symbiosis, and signals how the study that follows attempts to undermine said paradigm with an eye to rewriting the history of the early interactions between Jews and Arabs.
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