Sunday, January 01, 2012

How Islam Began

A lecture at the Oriental Institute... I'll try and be there. Say hello if you're there too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Time: 7:00pm until 10:00pm
Where: Oriental Institute, Breasted Hall, 1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL
Description: Fred Donner, of the University of Chicago, will give a lecture entitled, 'How Islam Began: New Views'.

Muslim tradition offers a very clear vision of how Islam began, centering on the life of the prophet Muhammad in Arabia, his receiving of revelations from God that became the text of the Qur'an, and a rapid expansion of his followers after his death to form a new Islamic empire that dominated most of the Near East. Western scholarship followed this traditional story, but over the past forty years revisionist scholarship has offered a variety of new interpretations, many of which depart in striking ways from the traditional narrative. Evidence now suggests that there was a much more flexible sense of communal identity among the earliest followers of Muhammad, so that the distinction between "Muslim," "Christian," and "Jew" may have been less clear-cut than it subsequently became. This lecture explores these issues and discusses how Islam, as it is classically defined, emerged from this more ecumenical environment.

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