Religion and Society in the Near East, | Berkey’s focus in The Formation of Islam is on ideas and institutions and their social and political context. Jonathan Berkey’s book surveys the religious history of the peoples of the Near East from roughly to CE. The opening chapter examines the religious. Khalid Yahya Blankinship; Jonathan P. Berkey. The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, – (Themes in Islamic.

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Even so, there was a strong universalizing streak in the Judaism of late antiquity. Remember me on this computer. Cambridge University Press, formatiob, 34—61, esp. The size and prestige of the Babylonian community grew at the direct expense of the Jewish community of Palestine. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.

The formation of Islam: religion and society in the Near East,

Islamic Egypt, —, ed. Under the Ptolemaic and Seleucid emperors and their pagan Roman successors, Jews had been afforded a fair degree of freedom in the practice of their religion.

Clarendon Press,; Han J. Christianity continued to grow down to and even into the Islamic period, at the expense of Jews, pagans, and Zoroastrians; by the late sixth century, it constituted probably the single largest confessional community in Iraq.

Sufism had an uneasy relationship with the ulama, and had connections with Shi’ism, but it became more structured as it was formalised into different turuq or “ways”. From one perspective, there was no such thing as paganism, but there were lots of paganisms, most of them deeply rooted in local and ethnic communities. They were of course based at least in part on material which circulated orally much earlier.

At the time of the conversion of Constantine, perhaps half the inhabitants of Egypt professed Christianity; by the early fifth century, the figure probably reached eighty percent. The Sasanian monarch, according to Zoroastrian precepts developed and articulated during this period, was held to be supreme in all affairs, both religious and secular.

There is “some controversy as to the point at which we can safely speak of a distinctive Islamic tradition” and “The Consolidation of Islam, ” begins with questions of identity: Related articles in Google Scholar. On the other hand, Mani and his followers aimed from the beginning at an even larger target. Liverpool University Press,1—24, esp. And mono- theism, or at least a tendency toward belief in a single god, permeated the late antique world, by no means exclusively in its Jewish or Christian form.

Sectarianism was present from the start, notably in a diverse range of Khariji rebellions driven at least ostensibly by disapproval of the behaviour of Uthman and subsequent caliphs.

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Princeton University Press, This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve. Some rabbis remained warmly disposed to proselytization. That latter community suffered of course in the wake of the Bar Formaation rebellion, when Jews were forbidden to live within the city of Jerusalem, a prohibition periodically renewed by the Roman emperors, and also from the sharp rise of antisemitic feeling in the later Roman Empire. And pagans too participated in the war of words between the faiths.

The Abbasid revolution tapped “a complex and still-evolving welter of religious ideas and expectations”. He covers the development of Shi’ism, including the separation beroey its Isma’ili and Twelver strands, and the formation of Sunni traditionalism “what we now call Sunni Islam is, in a way, simply non-Shi’i Islam” around shared ideas about law, ijma or the doctrine of consensus, and the role and authority of the ulama: Knopf,—7.

The emphasis on conversion suggests once again the growing importance to the men and women of late antiquity of formal expressions of religious identity. Click here to sign up.

But it was also a product of very practical and immediate needs such as healing, or ensuring a decent cropand so was served not simply by relatively remote temple priests but by local holy men, local deities, local shrines, local stories, and religious practices defined or administered by local figures — loci of religious 79 Morony, Iraq after the Muslim Jonafhan, — Hellenism was a powerful cultural current, one which pulled many Jews into its wake.

The commitment of late antique and early medieval defenders of paganism reflected not only a nostalgic longing for a vanishing faith, but a genuine appreciation for a tradition which, in its breadth, sophistication, and universalist outlook, laid the groundwork for and in many ways anticipated the achievements and vision of the new monotheisms. Overall, The Formation of Islam is an excellent islak of the earlier jonathxn of Islam, managing to provide some structure to a hugely complex body of religious institutions and ideas as they evolved over nine hundred years.

The Formation of Islam (Jonathan Berkey) – book review

Isla efforts of both men failed. Monotheistic passages in Zoroastrian texts may have served as an apologetic response to Jewish and Christian polemic. The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods, ed. Nonetheless, cities there were, cities which were frequently dominated by merchants and others involved in a commercial economy, and often it was in them, or in response to their needs and uncertainties, that the religious developments which survived and which seemed jonaathan to later generations took shape.

The formation of Islam: religion and society in the Near East, 600-1800

More importantly, from our perspective, the challenge had a lasting legacy on religious developments in the medieval Near East, since much of the doctrine of Mazdak reappeared among certain sectarian groups in Iran during the first several centuries of the Muslim era. World Publishing Company,formaiton Zoroastrian dualism was distinguished from that of Manichaeism by its insistence upon the genesis of the world, or at least most of it minus things like reptiles, snakes, and the seven planetsat the hands of the good, rather than the evil, deity.


Others have credited competition with Islam for encouraging the compilation of definitive Zoroastrian texts. They continued to plague the church through the rise of Islam, and probably contributed to the frustrations felt by Muhammad and his followers at the apparent doctrinal disorder of and internecine squabbling within the Christian community. Meeks and Robert L.

The Jews of Mesopotamia, for example, endeared themselves to Shapur II —79 by their refusal to cooperate with the Roman emperor Julian during his invasion of the Sasanian Empire. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch around the turn of the first century, composed letters condemning, not Jewish Christians, but Gentile Christians who adopted Jewish practices. Bayard Dodge New York: Cambridge University Press- Islam – pages.

Spontaneous outbursts of violence against the Jews, conducted not by state authorities but by urban mobs, betray an underlying strain of hostility to Judaism, probably reflecting an impatience with Jewish exceptionalism as in practices like circumcision, or in the Jewish refusal to participate in the civic cultswhich hostility must be set against the philo-semitic feelings of others attracted to Jewish monotheism and doctrines of redemption.

But paganism — or more accurately, some of the paganisms of late antiquity — had moved a good distance from the religion of Homer and Ramses, and in many respects shared a good deal with the Christian and Islamic traditions which replaced it. The use of the term paganism tends to make the historian uncomfortable, for a number of reasons. So Manichaeism developed a gnostic doctrine through which knowledge of the true human con- dition, and a consequent avoidance of procreation, paved the path to final redemption.

As late as the early seventh century, bishops could find pagan temples to destroy, and idolaters to baptize.

Who was vouchsafed the epiphany of that godhead who gives oracles and makes known future events, if not the most famous of the pagans? Thomas Library,3. In the first place, the existence of regional and trans-regional trading networks discouraged cultural and religious parochialism.