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. Jonathan Berkey’s book surveys the religious history of the peoples of the Near East from roughly to CE. The opening chapter examines the religious. Khalid Yahya Blankinship; Jonathan P. Berkey. The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, – (Themes in Islamic.

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The signs of competition are rampant: For while Christ was yet in the womb, the Roman empire received its power from God as the servant of the dispensation rhe Christ introduced, since at that very time the accession was proclaimed of the unending line of the Augusti by whose command a census was made which embraced the whole world. Princeton University Press, — The religions of late antiquity 13 religious traditions which emerged from late antiquity, still in the process of formation.

By the rise of Islam, for example, the Jewish community of Babylonia was well over one thousand years old. One of the most important Jewish communities in the Mediterranean region was found in Egypt. Purchase Subscription prices and ordering Short-term Access To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.

The period, in contrast, is only touched on in a nine page epilogue, covering the Ottomans and the “closer symbiosis of secular and religious authority” and the Safavids and how Iran became a jpnathan Twelver Shi’ite state. In the first place, the existence of regional and trans-regional trading networks discouraged cultural and religious parochialism.

Princeton University Press, Hakluyt Society,70—1. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. And not only are the mainlands full of Jewish colonies but also the most highly esteemed of the islands Euboea, Cyprus and Crete.

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

And the decline is measurable, and not merely in the obvious fact that, at some point between the third and seventh centuries, the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Near East formally converted to one of the new faiths. Above all, Jews were found in Alexandria, the capital of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, in which they formed a distinct and self-regulating community. There were exceptions, of course, such as the efforts of the Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes to suppress Judaism which efforts sparked the Maccabaean revolt in the second century BCEor the reprisals carried out by the Romans in response to the rebellions in Palestine in 66—70 and — CE, which resulted in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the banishing of Jews from that city.

Reports of human sacrifices in Iraq should perhaps be approached with some caution, but it is striking that they continue well into the eighth century.


Conscience and History in a World Civilization, in 3 volumes Chicago: Islamic Egypt, —, ed. A number of factors contributed to its appeal to the population, including several doctrinal parallels with the late pagan cults patronized both by native Egyptians and by Greeks and Romans resident in the country, such as their emphasis on redemption and sacramental mysteries, and perhaps especially the traditional Egyptian pre- occupation with immortality as in, for example, the popular cult of Osiris, god of the Nile and king of the dead.

It was to such problems, made worse by the per- manently shifting character of urban life, that many of the new religions addressed themselves. And mono- theism, or at least a tendency toward belief in a single god, permeated the late antique world, by no means exclusively in its Jewish or Christian form.

The assault on Judaism aimed at its bedrock: According to Nestorius, the patri- arch of Constantinople who gave his name to the sect, Christ was the locus of two entirely independent natures, the divine and the human: Jews had settled, of course in Palestine, but also throughout the Graeco-Roman world, as the apostle Paul well knew.

More importantly, from our perspective, the 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.

A Nestorian catholicos, shortly after the Muslim conquest but well before significant numbers of local residents had converted to Islamcomplained that there were more pagans than Christians in the 77 Roger S. Bishops seized the moment and, capitalizing on the anxieties stirred up by the violence they had provoked, frequently made certain that attacks on temples were followed by the formal mass conversion of the pagans who had worshiped in them. Brill,—, esp. For example, a number of Jewish incan- tation bowls from Mesopotamia have survived which sought to counter-act the evil influence of demons identified as, among others, Ishtar — the name of the prominent ancient goddess of the region.

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.

The formation of Islam: 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, exploring how the core ideological and structural features of Islam developed. University of Notre Dame Press,although this work is somewhat sentimental and uncritical. The Sasanian emperors were not, of course, Christian.

The fundamental distinction within Iranian society was that between nobles, who were exempted from certain taxes and forbidden to marry outside their caste, and commoners. Secondly, and more honathan, urban commercial economies tended to make social inequities more conspicuous and brought social injustices into sharper relief. Clark,3: Communities of Samaritans, nonathan, could be found scattered through the country, from the mid-third century BCE through at least the end of the Islamic Middle Period.


Part of the problem is textual: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods, ed. At the rise of the Sasanian empire, the community was led by the exilarch, a member of a family claiming Davidic descent. Only in such an open world can the considerable growth in the size of the Jewish community in late antiquity be understood.

Nestorian Christianity in particular proved to be a dynamic force in the religious history of the iislam medieval period, its missionaries active throughout Central Asia and as far as China at least until the Mongol conquests in the thirteenth century.

The various local and national religions, even the colorful and exuberant isla, of Egypt, were not immune to the force of the monotheistic ideal. But over time, the thf was toward a union of the outlook and interests of the state and bdrkey Zoroastrian hierarchy. Even so, there was a strong universalizing streak in the Judaism of late antiquity.

An important marker of the decline of paganism there lies in the decay of the active life of the temples and other cultic sites and occasions. Meeks and Robert L. And by at least the end of the sixth century, the leaders of those schools, the geonim, had 10 On the size of the Jewish population in Iraq, see Jacob Neusner, Talmudic Judaism in Sasanian Babylonia Leiden: He covers the development of Shi’ism, including the separation of its Isma’ili and Twelver strands, and the formation of Sunni traditionalism “what we now call Sunni Islam is, islaj a way, simply non-Shi’i Islam” around shared ideas about law, ijma or the doctrine of tne, and the role and authority of the ulama: Moreover, the intellectuals jonathaan them such as the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo engaged in sustained exchange with their pagan colleagues, an exchange through which the Jews sought to explain and justify their traditions and their faith.

In Iran no less than in the Roman empire, the characteristic process of religious definition in late antiquity was a product silam intense competition and not-always- friendly dialogue.

More importantly, the schism resulted in the emergence in both Egypt and Syria of rival networks of bishops, priests and churches, one formztion to the Chalcedonian formulations generally supported although in varying degrees, and not without efforts to heal the breach by the emperors, another to the Monophysite creed.

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