Early Islamic History: Parallels and Problems


in Understanding the History of Ancient Israel

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264010
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734946 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Early Islamic History: Parallels and Problems

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In early 2004, a book called ‘Crossroads to Islam’ was written by Yehuda Nevo, an amateur archaeologist, and J. Koren, his research assistant. Early Islamic history shares not only some geography with ancient Israel but also a comparable historical and historiographical trajectory, and at least some of Nevo's (and others') views seem to have been informed by the study of ancient Israel itself. In his book, Nevo reaches four principal conclusions: that the Arabs took over the eastern provinces of the Byzantine empire without a struggle; that the Arabs were pagan at the time of the takeover; that Muhammad is not a historical figure, and enters the official religion only c. 71/690; and that the Qur'an is a late compilation. These radical views subvert the narrative of Islamic origins that prevails not only amongst most Muslims, but also amongst most scholars.

Keywords: Crossroads to Islam; Yehuda Nevo; Islam; history; ancient Israel; Arabs; Byzantine empire; Muhammad; Qur'an; Muslims

Chapter.  6870 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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