Before and After Muhammad: The First Millennium Refocused

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Overview

Islam emerged amid flourishing Christian and Jewish cultures, yet students of Antiquity and the Middle Ages mostly ignore it. Despite intensive study of late Antiquity over the last fifty years, even generous definitions of this period have reached only the eighth century, whereas Islam did not mature sufficiently to compare with Christianity or rabbinic Judaism until the tenth century. Before and After Muhammad suggests a new way of thinking about the historical relationship between the scriptural monotheisms, integrating Islam into European and West Asian history.

Garth Fowden identifies the whole of the First Millennium--from Augustus and Christ to the formation of a recognizably Islamic worldview by the time of the philosopher Avicenna--as the proper chronological unit of analysis for understanding the emergence and maturation of the three monotheistic faiths across Eurasia. Fowden proposes not just a chronological expansion of late Antiquity but also an eastward shift in the geographical frame to embrace Iran.

In Before and After Muhammad, Fowden looks at Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alongside other important developments in Greek philosophy and Roman law, to reveal how the First Millennium was bound together by diverse exegetical traditions that nurtured communities and often stimulated each other.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[T]he points he raises are important to understanding chronology and periodization on a global scale."--Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691158532
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/2013
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 353,119
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Garth Fowden is Research Director at the Institute of Historical Research, National Research Foundation, Athens, and Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths at the University of Cambridge. His books include "The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind" and "Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity" (both Princeton).
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Table of Contents


Prefatory Note and Acknowledgments ix
Abbreviations xi
Chapter 1. INCLUDING ISLAM 1
The West and the Rest 1
Edward Gibbon 5
Islam and late Antiquity 9
Summary 15
Chapter 2. TIME: BEYOND LATE ANTIQUITY 18
The roots of late antique studies 18
Burckhardt to Strzygowski 23
The Orient and Islam: Views from Vienna 30
Pirenne to the present 37
Chapter 3. A NEW PERIODIZATION: THE FIRST MILLENNIUM 49
Decline versus transformation 49
Maturations 53
Monotheist historiography 68
For and against the First Millennium 82
Chapter 4. SPACE: AN EASTWARD SHIFT 92
Discovering the Mediterranean 92
Discovering the East 96
Empires and commonwealths 101
The Mountain Arena 116
Chapter 5. EXEGETICAL CULTURES 1: ARISTOTELIANISM 127
Greek Aristotelianism 129
Christian polemic 136
Aristotle in Latin, Armenian, and Syriac 139
Alexandria to Baghdad 146
Arabic Aristotelianism 153
Chapter 6. EXEGETICAL CULTURES 2: LAW AND RELIGION 164
Roman law 166
Rabbinic Judaism 173
Patristic Christianity 181
Islam 188
Chapter 7. VIEWPOINTS AROUND 1000: ṬŪS, BASRA,
BAGHDAD, PISA 198
Tūs/Iran 199
Basra/Encyclopedism 204
Baghdad/Rationality 207
Pisa/The Latin West 212
Prospects for Further Research 219
Map: the Eurasian Hinge, with Circum-Arabian Trade Routes 106
Index 225
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