Cohen awarded prize for promoting interfaith understanding

Mark R. Cohen, Princeton's Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, has been awarded the first Goldziher Prize, which recognizes work promoting understanding across religious faiths. 

The prize is administered by Merrimack College's Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations, which focuses on works of justice and peace among Jews, Christians and Muslims. The award is named for Ignác Goldziher, a 19th-century Islamic scholar and the founder of modern Arabic and Islamic studies, who was Jewish.

Cohen's research centers on the history of Jews living in Arab lands in the Middle Ages. His 1994 book, "Under Crescent and Cross," a comparative study of Islamic-Jewish and Christian-Jewish relations in the Middle Ages, won a National Jewish Book Award. It has been translated into Arabic, French, German, Hebrew and Turkish. 

Cohen, who has taught in Princeton's Department of Near Eastern Studies for 37 years, also is the author of "Poverty and Charity in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt" and "The Voice of the Poor in the Middle Ages: An Anthology of Documents from the Cairo Geniza." He directs the Princeton Geniza Project, which was established in the mid-1980s to create an online, searchable database of documents that deal with the daily life of the Jewish community in Cairo and other places in the Mediterranean from the 11th to 13th centuries.