Books Features

New Medieval Books: Shi’ite Rulers, Sunni Rivals, and Christians in Between

Shi’ite Rulers, Sunni Rivals, and Christians in Between: Muslim-Christian Relations in Fāṭimid Palestine and Egypt

By Steven Gertz

Gorgias Press
ISBN: 978-1-4623-4473-6

This book examines how inter-religious relations worked in the Fatimid Caliphate during the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. It would be a period that saw great swings back and forth when it came to religious tolerance.


The general question that we have had before us has been this: how did sectarianism in Islam affect the decision-making as well as the religious identity of the Fatimid caliphs of the fifth/eleventh century vis-a-vis the Christian Melkite dhimmis living under the rule and especially of those living in Jerusalem and in greater Palestine? Related to this are questions having to do with Fatimid fiqh: particularly, did the comparatively militant orientation of the Isma’ilis translate into negative perceptions of the ‘other’ similar to those that David Friedenreich describes in his research of Imami jurists? Related to this, what shape did the charisma of the Shi’ite religious ethos take in the Fatimid court and then how was it routinized in Fatimid fiqh? Moreover, how did the Fatimid fiqh written about dhimmis and its application actually impact Melkites living under Fatimid rule? In other words, how do the principles enshrined in fiqh translate into the policies and politics pursued by the caliphs?


Who is this book for?

The primary audience for this book will be scholars interested in medieval inter-religious relations, particularly with Christian-Muslim and Sunni-Shi’ite relations. Several other groups of historians will want to read this book too, including those who research the Fatimids and the medieval history of Jerusalem. Those interested in the Crusades might also want to look at the book’s account of the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The author

Steven Gertz is an Adjunct Lecturer at Georgetown University. He researches religion in the Middle Ages.


You can learn more about this book from the publisher’s website

You can also buy this book from |