Before and After Muhammad

Before and After Muhammad : The First Millennium Refocused

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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 more

Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 26mm | 459.99g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 2 maps.
  • 0691158533
  • 9780691158532
  • 543,689

Back cover copy

"Before and After Muhammad refocuses the chronological and geographical lenses through which historians view developments during the seminal period between ancient and medieval history in the West. Fowden writes clearly and convincingly. His research is thorough and his thesis is compelling."--Sidney H. Griffith, Catholic University of America "Fowden presents a powerful and compelling new model for an integrated view of late antique and early medieval Christian, Jewish, and Muslim history that replaces traditional distinctions between East and West. Before and After Muhammad is an ambitious book, one that has the potential to shift fundamental paradigms."--Anthony Kaldellis, Ohio State Universityshow more

Review quote

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

About Garth Fowden

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).show more

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: TUS, BASRA, BAGHDAD, PISA 198 Tus/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 225show more