Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:59 pm
And on Northern and Southern Arabs, I thought we were talking about an entirely different area - Damascus, Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea.
Investigating the roots of western civilization (ye olde BC&H forum of IIDB lives on...)
There were Arabs in that area, so I fail to see a contradiction. I mean, what concrete examples of literature do you have in mind?Clive wrote:And on Northern and Southern Arabs, I thought we were talking about an entirely different area - Damascus, Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea.
http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/14933.htmlThe Death of a Prophet
The End of Muhammad's Life and the Beginnings of Islam
Stephen J. Shoemaker
416 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth 2011 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4356-7 | $75.00s | £49.00 | Add to cart
Ebook 2011 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0513-8 | $75s | £49.00 | About | Add to cart
A volume in the Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion series
View table of contents and excerpt
"A work of utmost importance, and one that has profound implications for our understanding of how Islam began."—Fred Donner, University of Chicago
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.
Stephen J. Shoemaker is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon and author of Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary's Dormition and Assumption.
ShoemakerAlthough the majority of the relevant sources are of Christian origin, collectively they reflect the religious diversity of the early medieval Near East, including witnesses from each of the major Christian communities as well as a Jewish, a Samaritan, and even an Islamic witness to this discordant tradition.
This confessional diversity is particularly significant, insofar as it demonstrates the relative independence of these accounts and the diffusion of this information across both geographic distance and sectarian boundaries. Indeed, the multiple independent attestation of this tradition in a variety of different sources demands that we take seriously the possibility that these eleven sources bear witness to a very early tradition about Muhammad.
When why? I agree they were hit very hard by various plagues, but that was normal and they recovered quickly. Are you arguing for an Eastern Dark Ages? Climate? Volcanoes?and when the Byzantines receeded from the region, the Arabs just filled the power vacuum. No conquest needed. They just took over.