Book review: Syriac Christians and the early Muslim world

By Mary Fisk|May 27, 2016|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica, History, Middle East, Central Asia & Islamica, Religions|0 comments

SOAS Library recently acquired Michael Penn’s Envisioning Islam: Syriac Christians and the Early Muslim World. Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

This  review of Envisioning Islam (by Christopher Sahner, of St John’s College, Cambridge) has just been posted on Indiana University’s The Medieval Review, calling the book a “mighty achievement” in its study of the non-Muslim sources on Islamic origins through the large body of Syriac writings from the 7th to the 9th centuries.

The book “paints a rich portrait of Muslim-Christian relations from the ground up” but could have made better use of comparative primary source  evidence from Muslim sources.

Overall, though , Michael Penn provides a ” one-stop survey of some of the richest but most poorly understood Syriac sources for the early Islamic period, paired with clear-headed analysis and sober conclusions”

Click here to read the review

Envisioning Islam is available in SOAS Library. Click here to go to the catalogue entry 

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