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Products for grant FA-53232-07

FA-53232-07
Maimonides’ Code and the Social and Economic Realities of the Medieval Islamic World
Mark Cohen, Princeton University

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FA-53232-07

A Partnership Gone Bad: Business Relationships and the Evolving Law of the Cairo Geniza Period.” (Article)
Title: A Partnership Gone Bad: Business Relationships and the Evolving Law of the Cairo Geniza Period.”
Author: Mark R. Cohen
Abstract: Economic historians, beginning with Avner Greif, have looked to business letters from the Cairo Geniza to understand how medieval merchants in the Islamic Mediterranean organized business collaboration. They have noticed the prevalence of agency relations, which followed “informal” arrangements, unlike formal partnerships, which employed written contracts. This “method” was called s?uh?ba (“companionship”) in Arabic, and it entailed reciprocal exchange of favors between business “friends.” Much attention has been given to what Greif calls “private order” enforcement of agency contracts, whereby merchants belonging to a “closed” consortium reported instances of cheating or opportunism by a fellow merchant, in place of enforcement by religious courts. However, economic historians relying on the Geniza documents have paid inadequate attention to evolving Jewish law in the Islamic milieu. The present article, focusing on a mercantile dispute, brings evidence to show that Jewish legal scholars adopted a feature of Islamic judicial practice to strengthen their role in enforcement of informal agency contracts. In his Code, the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides put the final touches on this accommodation by incorporating agency into the law pertaining to contract enforcement among partners.
Year: 2013
Access Model: open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, published by Brill
Publisher: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient


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