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Across Legal Lines

Jews and Muslims in Modern Morocco

Jessica M. Marglin


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A previously untold story of Jewish-Muslim relations in modern Morocco, showing how law facilitated Jews’ integration into the broader Moroccan society in which they lived

Morocco went through immense upheaval in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through the experiences of a single Jewish family, Jessica Marglin charts how the law helped Jews to integrate into Muslim society—until colonial reforms abruptly curtailed their legal mobility. Drawing on a broad range of archival documents, Marglin expands our understanding of contemporary relations between Jews and Muslims and changes the way we think about Jewish history, the Middle East, and the nature of legal pluralism.

Praise For Across Legal Lines: Jews and Muslims in Modern Morocco

“Jessica Marglin has achieved nothing less than a complete revision of the way that we view the Moroccan legal system in the late nineteenth century from the viewpoint of its Muslim and Jewish clients.”—Susan Gilson Miller, University of California, Davis

— Susan Gilson Miller

“This is an important book that deserves a wide readership. Through a vivid portrait of a Jewish family’s entanglement with the law in pre-colonial Morocco, it puts to rest die-hard tales about colonial modernization and the perennial animosity between Muslims and Jews.”—Francesca Trivellato, author of The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period 
— Francesca Trivellato

“With great erudition, insight, and empathy, Marglin dexterously charts a cultural world of precolonial North Africa in which individuals navigate a complex legal landscape. This is an essential book for scholars of North African and Middle Eastern Jewries, Morocco, the cultural history of law, and the legal history of culture.”—Sarah Abrevaya Stein, author of Extraterritorial Dreams
— Sarah Abrevaya Stein

"Jessica Marglin's pathbreaking book sheds dramatic new light on the social, economic, and legal history of nineteenth century Morocco. Marglin deftly reconstructs the everyday ties by which Muslim and Jewish law and litigants accommodated each other in an unequal but integrated society." —James McDougall, Trinity College, University of Oxford
— James McDougall

Yale University Press, 9780300218466, 336pp.

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

About the Author

Jessica M. Marglin is assistant professor of religion and the Ruth Ziegler Early Career Chair in Jewish Studies at the University of Southern California. Marglin lives in Los Angeles, CA.