envisioning islam syriac christians and the early muslim world

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When Christians First Met Muslims

Author : Michael Philip Penn
ISBN : 9780520960572
Genre : History
File Size : 88. 48 MB
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The first Christians to meet Muslims were not Latin-speaking Christians from the western Mediterranean or Greek-speaking Christians from Constantinople but rather Christians from northern Mesopotamia who spoke the Aramaic dialect of Syriac. Living under Muslim rule from the seventh century to the present, Syriac Christians wrote the first and most extensive accounts of Islam, describing a complicated set of religious and cultural exchanges not reducible to the solely antagonistic. Through its critical introductions and new translations of this invaluable historical material, When Christians First Met Muslims allows scholars, students, and the general public to explore the earliest interactions between what eventually became the world’s two largest religions, shedding new light on Islamic history and Christian-Muslim relations.

Envisioning Islam

Author : Michael Philip Penn
ISBN : 9780812247220
Genre : History
File Size : 23. 74 MB
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The first Christians to encounter Islam were not Latin-speakers from the western Mediterranean or Greek-speakers from Constantinople but Mesopotamian Christians who spoke the Aramaic dialect of Syriac. Under Muslim rule from the seventh century onward, Syriac Christians wrote the most extensive descriptions extant of early Islam. Seldom translated and often omitted from modern historical reconstructions, this vast body of texts reveals a complicated and evolving range of religious and cultural exchanges that took place from the seventh to the ninth century. The first book-length analysis of these earliest encounters, Envisioning Islam highlights the ways these neglected texts challenge the modern scholarly narrative of early Muslim conquests, rulers, and religious practice. Examining Syriac sources including letters, theological tracts, scientific treatises, and histories, Michael Philip Penn reveals a culture of substantial interreligious interaction in which the categorical boundaries between Christianity and Islam were more ambiguous than distinct. The diversity of ancient Syriac images of Islam, he demonstrates, revolutionizes our understanding of the early Islamic world and challenges widespread cultural assumptions about the history of exclusively hostile Christian-Muslim relations.

Seeing Islam As Others Saw It A Survey And Evaluation Of Christian Jewish And Zoroastrian Writings On Early Islam

Author : Robert G. Hoyland
ISBN : 9781618131317
Genre : History
File Size : 52. 1 MB
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This book offers a new approach to the vexing question of how to write the early history of Islam. The first part discusses the nature of the Muslim and non-Muslim source material for the seventh- and eighth-century Middle East and argues that by lessening the divide between these two traditions, which has largely been erected by modern scholarship, we can come to a better appreciation of this crucial period. The second part gives a detailed survey of sources and an analysis of some 120 non-Muslim texts, all of which provide information about the first century and a half of Islam (roughly A.D. 620-780). The third part furnishes examples, according to the approach suggested in the first part and with the material presented in the second part, how one might write the history of this time. The fourth part takes the form of excurses on various topics, such as the process of Islamization, the phenomenon of conversion to Islam, the development of techniques for determining the direction of prayer, and the conquest of Egypt. Because this work views Islamic history with the aid of non-Muslim texts and assesses the latter in the light of Muslim writings, it will be essential reading for historians of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or Zoroastrianism--indeed, for all those with an interest in cultures of the eastern Mediterranean in its traditional phase from Late Antiquity to medieval times.

The Death Of A Prophet

Author : Stephen J. Shoemaker
ISBN : 9780812205138
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 89. 99 MB
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The oldest Islamic biography of Muhammad, written in the mid-eighth century, relates that the prophet died at Medina in 632, while earlier and more numerous Jewish, Christian, Samaritan, and even Islamic sources indicate that Muhammad survived to lead the conquest of Palestine, beginning in 634-35. Although this discrepancy has been known for several decades, Stephen J. Shoemaker here writes the first systematic study of the various traditions. Using methods and perspectives borrowed from biblical studies, Shoemaker concludes that these reports of Muhammad's leadership during the Palestinian invasion likely preserve an early Islamic tradition that was later revised to meet the needs of a changing Islamic self-identity. Muhammad and his followers appear to have expected the world to end in the immediate future, perhaps even in their own lifetimes, Shoemaker contends. When the eschatological Hour failed to arrive on schedule and continued to be deferred to an ever more distant point, the meaning of Muhammad's message and the faith that he established needed to be fundamentally rethought by his early followers. The larger purpose of The Death of a Prophet exceeds the mere possibility of adjusting the date of Muhammad's death by a few years; far more important to Shoemaker are questions about the manner in which Islamic origins should be studied. The difference in the early sources affords an important opening through which to explore the nature of primitive Islam more broadly. Arguing for greater methodological unity between the study of Christian and Islamic origins, Shoemaker emphasizes the potential value of non-Islamic sources for reconstructing the history of formative Islam.

Byzantium Viewed By The Arabs

Author : Nadia Maria El-Cheikh
ISBN : 0932885306
Genre : History
File Size : 76. 48 MB
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This book studies the Arabic-Islamic view of Byzantium, tracing the Byzantine image as it evolved through centuries of warfare, contact, and exchanges. Including previously inaccessible material on the Arabic textual tradition on Byzantium, this investigation shows the significance of Byzantium to the Arab Muslim establishment and their appreciation of various facets of Byzantine culture and civilization. The Arabic-Islamic representation of the Byzantine Empire stretching from the reference to Byzantium in the Qur'an until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 is considered in terms of a few salient themes. The image of Byzantium reveals itself to be complex, non-monolithic, and self-referential. Formulating an alternative appreciation to the politics of confrontation and hostility that so often underlies scholarly discourse on Muslim-Byzantine relations, this book presents the schemes developed by medieval authors to reinterpret aspects of their own history, their own self-definition, and their own view of the world.

Justinian And The Making Of The Syrian Orthodox Church

Author : Volker L. Menze
ISBN : 9780191560095
Genre : Religion
File Size : 37. 7 MB
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The Council of Chalcedon in 451 divided eastern Christianity, with those who were later called Syrian Orthodox among the Christians in the near eastern provinces who refused to accept the decisions of the council. These non-Chalcedonians (still better known under the misleading term Monophysites) separated from the church of the empire after Justin I attempted to enforce Chalcedon in the East in 518. Volker L. Menze historicizes the formation of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the first half of the sixth century. This volume covers the period from the accession of Justin to the second Council of Constantinople in 553. Menze begins with an exploration of imperial and papal policy from a non-Chalcedonian, eastern perspective, then discusses monks, monasteries and the complex issues surrounding non-Chalcedonian church life and sacraments. The volume concludes with a close look at the working of "collective memory" among the non-Chalcedonians and the construction of a Syrian Orthodox identity. This study is a histoire évènementielle of actual religious practice, especially concerning the Eucharist and the diptychs, and of ecclesiastical and imperial policy which modifies the traditional view of how emperors (and in the case of Theodora: empresses) ruled the late Roman/early Byzantine empire. By combining this detailed analysis of secular and ecclesiastical politics with a study of long-term strategies of memorialization, the book also focuses on deep structures of collective memory on which the tradition of the present Syrian Orthodox Church is founded.

Witnesses To A World Crisis

Author : James Howard-Johnston
ISBN : 9780199208593
Genre : History
File Size : 62. 80 MB
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The first history of the formative phase of Islam to be grounded in important non-Islamic as well as Islamic sources, this book is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand Islam as a religion and political force, the modern Middle East, and the jihadist impulse, as evident today as it was in the 7th century.

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