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Abraham or Aristotle? First Millennium Empires and Exegetical Traditions
An Inaugural Lecture by the Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths Given in the University of Cambridge, 4 December 2013


  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107462410

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About the Authors
  • Judaism, Christianity and Islam - the three scriptural monotheisms, still often studied separately - are here intertwined within a historical frame. The approach outlined in this lecture pivots around the Qur'an as it emerged in seventh-century Arabia on the peripheries of the two world-empires of Iran and Rome, and variously refracts rabbinic Judaism and patristic - especially Syriac - Christianity. The formation and exegesis of scriptural canons helps define the major religious communities and identities both before and after Muhammad. The latter part of the lecture concentrates on the interaction of these communities, and especially their scholars, in the Abbasid Baghdad of the ninth and tenth centuries, and on the theological and philosophical debates that flourished there. The lecture interrogates the newly fashionable concept of 'Abrahamic' religion and proposes a fresh historical periodization inclusive of both late antiquity and Islam, namely the First Millennium.

    • Based on a new historical periodization, the First Millennium
    • Addresses historical problems relevant to current tensions between adherents of the scriptural monotheisms
    • Engagingly written for a wide audience and gives a foretaste of Professor Fowden's major new book to be published within a few years
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107462410
    • length: 48 pages
    • dimensions: 185 x 123 x 3 mm
    • weight: 0.05kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Inaugural lecture.

  • Author

    Garth Fowden, University of Cambridge
    Garth Fowden was educated at the University of Oxford and spent most of his career at the National Research Foundation in Athens, before taking up the Sultan Qaboos Chair of Abrahamic Faiths at the University of Cambridge in 2013. His main interest is in repositioning Islam at the focus rather than the periphery of Eurasian history.

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