Orientalists: <i>The Modern Quest for Muhammad and the Origins of Islamic Civilization</i>

in Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780226471075
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226471099 | DOI:
Orientalists: The Modern Quest for Muhammad and the Origins of Islamic Civilization

Show Summary Details


This chapter describes the interest of the Latin West in seeking knowledge of the Islamic East for both polemical and practical purposes. It concentrates on the development of a modern orientalist scholarship that threw much of its polemical baggage in interrogating the origins of Islam and Islamic civilization. The roots of Islam can be drew to the seventh century ce when Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah declared himself to be the messenger of God. The community founded by Muhammad eventually spread its political influence well beyond the Hijaz as the Prophet established relations with tribal leaders in various regions of the peninsula. The work of Abraham Geiger marked a turning point in European scholarship toward Muslims and the origins of Islam. In the introduction to his history of the Qur'an, Theodore Nöldeke praised Geiger's work as still being useful and then wondered where all the rabbis had gone.

Keywords: modern orientalist scholarship; Islam; Islamic civilization; Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah; Abraham Geiger; Qur'an; Theodore Nöldeke

Chapter.  10269 words. 

Subjects: Islam

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.