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Fatherly advice however steered him away from a military career and into academia and teaching. He worked and taught in the United States and China for a number of years and now divides his time between the Middle East and Italy whilst trying to makes ends meet.

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The Ismaili Assassins is his second book and grew out of his travels in Iran. His first book, The Knights of Islam, a history of the slave soldiers of Islam, was published in by Greenhill Books. He continues to work at producing a life of the Crusader Bohemond of Taranto but knows it will never be finished.

Sacred Swords : Jihad in the Holy Land, James Waterson. This article discusses three major explanations by medieval biblical commentators for Moses's meeting with Pharaoh by the Nile in the early morning hours prior to the plagues of blood and wild beasts. These interpretations were not mentioned in the Talmud or in the early Midrash, and they have in common their foundation in current-day medieval reality. Nonetheless, it is clear that distant diverse periods are not comparable and that historical continuity is not always maintained. The tendency to copy later contemporary circumstances to biblical times is also evident in rabbinical literature describing the forefathers of the nation and biblical figures based on their own reality.

One example of this is the Mid-rash that tells of Pharaoh who goes to the Nile to relieve himself, alluding to the worship of Roman Caesars. Isaac Heinemann, who called this phenomenon "bringing the distant near" or anachronism, claimed that interpretation of the Bible in terms taken from the exegete's time was intended to create a sense of continuity between the biblical world and the theological world of the sages.

Battle of Hattin

The Bible and the aggadah are distinguished not only by their times but also by their different cultural worlds. In order to make the Bible relevant for the events of Hellenistic and Roman periods, the sages interpreted it according to their times. Ibn Ezra had never been to Egypt but he must have heard about this custom and therefore claimed that Pharaoh ventured out to check the level of the water, as customary in Ibn Ezra's own time. However, the information about this custom is from the early Middle Ages and nothing can be deduced from this about ancient Egypt.

Ibn Caspi who, in contrast to Ibn Ezra did visit Egypt, suggests that Moses was asked to meet Pharaoh by the Nile where he was accustomed to holding a ball game with his escorts. Based on the data he provides, he appears to be alluding to the game of polo that was very popular among Mamluk kings. But this interpretation is anachronistic and illogical, as the game is only known from much later periods. The Bechor Shor and the Hizkuni, who lived and operated in France in the 12 th and 13 th centuries, claimed that Pharaoh would get up early to go hunting using birds of prey.

Hunting with birds was customary in Eastern countries even before medieval times. In Europe it became a common professional sport among the nobility only after the Crusades. Members of the higher classes in these countries spent their free time hunting animals, and these commentators recognized in Pharaoh a similar pattern to that familiar to them. Anderson, Glaire D.

Edited by Glaire D. Anderson and Mariam Rosser-Owen.

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