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. Khalid Yahya Blankinship; Jonathan P. Berkey. The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, – (Themes in Islamic. Berkey is an Associate Professor of History at Davidson College. He describes Islam as having developed across generations, and he writes of various religious .

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Islamic Egypt, —, ed.

And when early Muslim polemicists defended their radical monotheism in the face of Iranian dualism, it was the compelling mythology and syncretistic doctrine of Mani, rather than the Zoroastrianism associated with the Sasanian state, which occupied most of their attention. Under Khusrau Parviz, who regained his throne as a result of Byzantine intervention and who was married to two Christian women, the condition of Christians improved further, but then deteriorated sharply during the cataclysmic war which engulfed the two states in the early seventh century.

Modrzejewski, The Jews of Egypt: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods, ed. On the controversy surrounding the conciliar declaration of Mary as Theotokos, see Hilda Graef, Mary: They helped to make possible, for example, the emergence of traditions which claimed adherents beyond any one city or locality: The social and historical significance of those controversies, however, is another matter.

The Abbasid revolution tapped “a complex and still-evolving welter of religious ideas and expectations”. It was to such problems, made worse by the per- manently shifting character of urban life, that many of the new religions addressed themselves.

The Formation of Islam | Jonathan Berkey –

Her husband, naturally distraught, sought the assistance of the Christian saint. But the more important nexus for the worsening of the position of Jews in the Sasanian Beerkey was a political one.

As late as the early seventh century, bishops could find pagan temples to destroy, and idolaters to baptize. The organized pagan cults were the first to feel the impact of this identification of church and state, but increasingly the Jews, too, felt its onerous weight.


Yale University Press,55— For the early period there are problems with sources which were mostly written in the context of later debates and divides. More importantly, from our perspective, begkey 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.

Signs of the survival of pagan traditions abound throughout the Near East. The religions of late antiquity 31 mythology is conceived as a state of suffering, as the divine sparks present in the progeny of Adam await their separation from dark matter.

The Formation of Islam, by Jonathan P. Berkey

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 result is aimed most obviously at those with some historical training, but should be accessible to lay readers already formmation with Islam and the region’s history. So, for example, a treaty with the Roman empire in provided that Christians were to be left alone, allowed to worship freely and construct churches. Khalid Yahya Blankinship; Jonathan P.

Some non-Jews, for example, were perplexed by particular Jewish practices, such as circumcision and their refusal to work on the Sabbath, by which the Jews self- consciously set themselves apart from their neighbors. Berkey includes a general outline of the political history of the Near East, but focuses on the tensions between religion and political authority, with the fragmentation berkry the latter and the presence of “alien” mostly Turkish military regimes.

There were some non-Iranian converts to Zoroastrianism, even among the tribes of the Arab peninsula. Mingana, Sources Syriaques, 2 vols. Their frustration and anger with the imperial church had a profound impact on the Christian identity of those who professed a Monophysite creed. Madrasasor schools offering instruction in jurisprudence, came as late as the 12th century and originated in Khurasan.

The exilarch, for example, functioned at times almost as a courtier of the Sasanian emperor, yet his authority rested in the final analysis on the claim of Davidic descent. A Zoroastrian Dilemma Oxford: It comes as no surprise that the missionary activities of several of the religions of late antiquity — Manichaeism, for example, and later Islam — were closely associated with merchants.


Click here to sign up. The assault on Judaism aimed at its bedrock: Email alerts New issue alert. Most users should sign in with their email address. But more importantly, monotheism itself must have contributed to the phenomenon of universalism, since Carolina: Several historians have persuasively argued that the cultural overtones and political implications of the theological division should be minimized: And Monophysite frustrations did not dissipate quickly.

And the world we are investi- gating was, as much as anything else, a world of missionaries, proselytization, and religious competition. That latter community suffered of course in the wake of the Bar Kochba 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.

A distinctive Zoroastrian faith was beginning to emerge in late antiquity, but the process was not complete, even by the time of the Arab invasions. Popular religion, often involving syncretic elements and the veneration of individuals as well as mystical ideas, posed a broader threat to the authority of the ulama.

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

Even before this, Egyptian temples had begun to suffer from a decline in the level of financial support from imperial authorities, support which had for centuries been critical to their construction, upkeep, and off. In what follows we will vormation to elucidate briefly the identities and parameters of the traditions involved in the religious competition of late antiquity. Pagans had not always treated Christians kindly, as the many martyrs might attest.

Part of the problem is textual: