The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800

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Cambridge University Press, 2003 - History - 286 pages
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Jonathan Berkey's 2003 book surveys the religious history of the peoples of the Near East from roughly 600 to 1800 CE. The opening chapter examines the religious scene in the Near East in late antiquity, and the religious traditions which preceded Islam. Subsequent chapters investigate Islam's first century and the beginnings of its own traditions, the 'classical' period from the accession of the Abbasids to the rise of the Buyid amirs, and thereafter the emergence of new forms of Islam in the middle period. Throughout, close attention is paid to the experiences of Jews and Christians, as well as Muslims. The book stresses that Islam did not appear all at once, but emerged slowly, as part of a prolonged process whereby it was differentiated from other religious traditions and, indeed, that much that we take as characteristic of Islam is in fact the product of the medieval period.
 

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Difficult, but satisfying. A state-of-the-art and subtle view on the complexities of Islam's gradual development. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
The religions of late antiquity
10
Arabia before Islam
39
The early seventh century
50
The Emergence of Islam 600750
55
Approaches and problems
57
The origins of the Muslim community
61
Early Islam in the Near East
70
The formation of Sunni traditionalism
141
Asceticism and mysticism
152
The nonMuslim communities
159
Medieval Islam 10001500
177
The medieval Islamic Near East
179
Characteristics of the medieval Islamic world
184
A Sunni revival?
189
Common patterns in social and political organization
203

The Umayyad period
76
The beginnings of sectarianism
83
The nonMuslims of early Islam
91
The cAbbasid revolution
102
The Consolidation of Islam 7501000
111
Issues of Islamic identity
113
Religion and politics
124
Shicism
130
Modes of justice
216
The transmission of religious knowledge
224
Sufism
231
Popular religion
248
Epilogue
261
Suggested reading
270
Index
276
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About the author (2003)

Jonathan P. Berkey is Associate Professor of History at Davidson College. His publications include Popular Preaching and Religious Authority in the Medieval Islamic Near East (2001).

Patricia Crone was born on March 28, 1945 in Kyndelose, Denmark. She received undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She taught at Oxford University and Cambridge University before joining the Institute for Advanced Study, an independent research center, where she was a professor from 1997 until retiring in 2014. She explored archaeological records and contemporary Greek and Aramaic sources to challenge views on the roots and evolution of Islam. She wrote numerous books during her lifetime including Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World written with Michael Cook, God's Rule: Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought, and The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran. She died from cancer on July 11, 2015 at the age of 70.

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