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INTRODUCTION

institutions remain as yet unsolved.78 Mosques seem to me as the institutions most likely to produce denable local congregations, but even though mosques are a major focus of research in this book, the evidence, as treated by my ‘tool kit’ at least, is insufcient to prove this assertion. Needless to say, it also cannot disprove the stance of Michael Chamberlain and D.S. Goitein regarding the question of communal organization in medieval Muslim society. Chamberlain seriously doubts whether any organization existed at all. He describes Damascene society of the later Ayy¨bid and early Maml¨k periods as almost devoid of group solidarities beyond those determined by familial ties and marriage alliances. He presents a realm of constant tna and competition among the great ayån households (namely, the families of warrior and civilian dignitaries), concluding that there were few, if any, corporate groups.79 Goitein, whose study of Egyptian Jewry in the tenth to fourteenth centuries has transformed our understanding of its organization, also fails to nd group solidarities within what he labels as “the amorphous masses of Muslims.” This, in contrast to the network of local closely knit semiautonomous Jewish communities (kahal or jamåa in the languages of the Genizah) that were organized around synagogues, and gave the individual member the opportunity to be active in the life of the congregation and shoulder its collective obligations.80 As for culture, several models had been suggested, mainly by historians of medieval and early modern Europe, who attempted to study co-existent spheres of cultural production and consumption while avoiding the “two-tiered” model.81 Boaz Shoshan, the author of Popular culture in Medieval Cairo (Cambridge 1993),82 the rst

78 On the urban quarter, see Lapidus, Muslim Cities, 85–95; idem, “Muslim Cities,” 50, 59; Miura, “The Structure,” 402. On social solidarity in madhåhib, and bibliography on this issue, see my “Fidelity and Cohesion.” 79 Chamberlain, Knowledge, 58, 92–93. In my view, Chamberlain embraces here what Peter Burke calls “the conictual model of society” (as opposed to “the consensual model”—see Burke, History, 28) too wholeheartedly. But see also Chamberlain’s compelling presentation of the centrality of the household and of the signicance of ties of patronage in his “The crusade era,” 238–240. 80 Goitein, Mediterranean Society, 2:2–4. 81 For a review of its genealogy, see Brown, The Cult, 13–18; for a discussion, see Davis, “Some tasks”; idem, “From ‘Popular Religion,’ ”; Gurevich, Medieval Popular Culture, xiv–xvi; Shoshan, “High Culture,” idem, Popular Culture, 6–7. 82 A considerable part of Shoshan’s book deals with popular religion. Signicantly, it is made up of separate essays, which deal with the problems “temporarily and

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