envisioning islam syriac christians and the early muslim world

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Envisioning Islam

Author : Michael Philip Penn
ISBN : 0812224027
Genre :
File Size : 35. 72 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.

When Christians First Met Muslims

Author : Michael Philip Penn
ISBN : 9780520284937
Genre : History
File Size : 67. 99 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 in what constitutes modern-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, and eastern Turkey, these Syriac Christians were under Muslim rule from the seventh century to the present. They wrote the earliest and most extensive accounts of Islam and described 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 of what eventually became the world's two largest religions, shedding new light on Islamic history and Christian-Muslim relations.

Kissing Christians

Author : Michael Philip Penn
ISBN : 9780812203325
Genre : Family & Relationships
File Size : 76. 35 MB
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In the first five centuries of the common era, the kiss was a distinctive and near-ubiquitous marker of Christianity. Although Christians did not invent the kiss—Jewish and pagan literature is filled with references to kisses between lovers, family members, and individuals in relationships of power and subordination—Christians kissed one another in highly specific settings and in ways that set them off from the non-Christian population. Christians kissed each other during prayer, Eucharist, baptism, and ordination and in connection with greeting, funerals, monastic vows, and martyrdom. As Michael Philip Penn shows in Kissing Christians, this ritual kiss played a key role in defining group membership and strengthening the social bond between the communal body and its individual members. Kissing Christians presents the first comprehensive study of the ritual kiss and how controversies surrounding it became part of larger debates regarding the internal structure of Christian communities and their relations with outsiders. Penn traces how Christian writers exalted those who kissed only fellow Christians, proclaimed that Jews did not have a kiss, prohibited exchanging the kiss with potential heretics, privileged the confessor's kiss, prohibited Christian men and women from kissing each other, and forbade laity from kissing clergy. Kissing Christians also investigates connections between kissing and group cohesion, kissing practices and purity concerns, and how Christian leaders used the motif of the kiss of Judas to examine theological notions of loyalty, unity, forgiveness, hierarchy, and subversion. Exploring connections between bodies, power, and performance, Kissing Christians bridges the gap between cultural and liturgical approaches to antiquity. It breaks significant new ground in its application of literary and sociological theory to liturgical history and will have a profound impact on these fields.

Christians In Asia Before 1500

Author : Ian Gillman
ISBN : 9780700710225
Genre : Asia
File Size : 56. 59 MB
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Drawing on material hitherto unknown in the English speaking world, this volume presents a systematic history of the Christian Church in Asia before 1500.

The Empire That Would Not Die

Author : John Haldon
ISBN : 9780674088771
Genre : History
File Size : 36. 33 MB
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The eastern Roman Empire was the largest state in western Eurasia in the sixth century. A century later, it was a fraction of its former size. Ravaged by warfare and disease, the empire seemed destined to collapse. Yet it did not die. John Haldon elucidates the factors that allowed the empire to survive against all odds into the eighth century.

The Death Of A Prophet

Author : Stephen J. Shoemaker
ISBN : 9780812205138
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 20. 49 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.

A State Of Mixture

Author : Richard E. Payne
ISBN : 9780520286191
Genre : Religion
File Size : 20. 83 MB
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Christian communities flourished during late antiquity in a Zoroastrian political system, known as the Iranian Empire, that integrated culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its institutions and networks. Whereas previous studies have regarded Christians as marginal, insular, and often persecuted participants in this empire, Richard Payne demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial institutions. The rise of Christianity in Iran depended on the Zoroastrian theory and practice of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, according to which Christians, Jews, and others occupied legitimate places in Iranian political culture in positions subordinate to the imperial religion. Christians, for their part, positioned themselves in a political culture not of their own making, with recourse to their own ideological and institutional resources, ranging from the writing of saints’ lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In placing the social history of East Syrian Christians at the center of the Iranian imperial story, A State of Mixture helps explain the endurance of a culturally diverse empire across four centuries.

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