Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World
Crone (Patricia) & Cook (Michael)
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Inside Cover Blurb

  1. This book sets out a new theory of the origins of Islam and a novel analysis of the formation of Islamic civilisation.
  2. The theory of Islamic origins advanced in Part One is based on the use of contemporary non-Muslim sources to reconstruct a phase in the history of the religion — 'Hagarism’ — which the Islamic tradition itself has suppressed. Most strikingly, these sources point to a very intimate link between the earliest form of Islam and Jewish messianism.
  3. Islamic civilisation took shape when the bearers of this developing faith conquered a large part of the world of late antiquity. What was it about the conquerors that enabled them to bring about the formation of a new civilisation? And what was it about the conquered that disposed them to collaborate in this venture? Parts Two and Three set out to answer these questions, and to show what the answers have meant for the character of Islamic civilisation.
  4. This challenging book will be of interest to all those concerned with the study of Islamic history and civilisation, the history of Judaism and late antiquity, and the whole range of Near and Middle Eastern studies. It is also a major contribution to the history of religion and the history of ideas.
  5. Patricia Crone is Senior Research Fellow, The Warburg Institute, and Michael Cook is Lecturer in Economic History with reference to the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Preface (excerpted)
  1. Islamic civilisation is the only one in the world which went through its formative period later than the first millennium B.C. Its emergence thus constitutes an unusual, and for a number of related reasons a peculiar, historical event. This book is an attempt to make sense of it.
  2. In making the attempt we have adopted an approach which differs appreciably from that of more conventional writing in the field.
    1. First, our account of the formation of Islam as a religion is radically new, or more precisely it is one which has been out of fashion since the seventh century: it is based on the intensive use of a small number of contemporary non-Muslim sources the testimony of which has hitherto been disregarded. It follows, of course, that new discoveries of early material could dramatically confirm, modify or refute the positions we have taken up.
    2. Secondly, we have expended a good deal of energy, both scholastic and intellectual, on taking seriously the obvious fact that the formation of Islamic civilisation took place in the world of late antiquity, and what is more in a rather distinctive part of it.
    3. Finally, we have set out with a certain recklessness to create a coherent architectonic of ideas in a field over much of which scholarship has yet to dig the foundations.
  3. It might not be superfluous for us to attempt a defence of this enterprise against the raised eyebrows of the specialist, but it would certainly be pointless: it is in the last resort by specialists that our work will be judged, and the judgment of specialists is not open to corruption by prefaces. What has been said should also suffice to warn the non-specialist what not to expect: this is a pioneering expedition through some very rough country, not a guided tour. There is however one particular group of readers who are in a special position. For although the characters who appear in our story are all of them dead, their descendants are very much alive.
    1. In the first place, the account we have given of the origins of Islam is not one which any believing Muslim can accept: not because it in any way belittles the historical role of Muhammad, but because it presents him in a role quite different from that which he has taken on in the Islamic tradition. This is a book written by infidels for infidels, and it is based on what from any Muslim perspective must appear an inordinate regard for the testimony of infidel sources. Our account is not merely unacceptable it is also one which any Muslim whose faith is as a grain of mustard seed should find no difficulty in rejecting.
    2. In the second place, there is a good deal in this book that may be disliked by the Muslim who has lost his religious faith but retained his ancestral pride. What we wish to stress for such a reader is that the strong evaluative overtones of the language in which we have analysed the formation of Islamic civilisation do not add up to any simplistic judgment for or against. We have presented the formation of the new civilisation as a unique cultural achievement, and one to which the maraudings of our own barbarian ancestors offer no parallel whatever; but equally we have presented the achievement as one which carried with it extraordinary cultural costs, and it is above all the necessary linkage between the achievement and the costs that we have tried to elucidate.
  4. In the course of our research we have been helped by a number of scholars and institutions. …
  5. Over and above these debts of execution, we would also like to put on record what we owe to two influences without which this book could hardly have been conceived.
    1. The first was our exposure to the sceptical approach of Dr John Wansbrough to the historicity of the Islamic tradition; without this influence the theory of Islamic origins set out in this book would never have occurred to us. We also benefited from an exchange of views with Dr Wansbrough in a seminar held in the spring of 1974, and have made use of what we learnt then at a number of points in our argument. These debts are acknowledged in their proper places; such acknowledgements should be taken to indicate that the substance of the idea is not to be credited to us, not that the form in which it appears can be debited to Dr Wansbrough. Cf. his forthcoming "Wansbrough (John), Rippin (Andrew), Qur'an - Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation".
    2. The second is the powerful and suggestive analysis of cultural meaning displayed in the work of John Dunn; without it we might still have developed our account of the beginnings of Islam, but we would have had only the haziest notion what to do with it.
  6. ...

    Preface – vii
    1. Judeo-Hagarism – 3
    2. Hagarism without Judaism – 10
    3. The Prophet like Moses – 16
    4. The Samaritan calques1 – 21
    5. Babylonia – 29
      Appendix I: The Kenite; Reason and custom – 35
    1. The imperial civilisations – 41
    2. The Near-Eastern provinces – 47
    1. The preconditions for the formation of Islamic civilisation – 73
    2. The fate of Antiquity: I. The Hagarisation of the Fertile Crescent – 83
    3. The fate of Antiquity: II. The cultural expropriation of the Fertile Crescent – 92
    4. The fate of Antiquity: III. The intransigence of Islamic civilisation – 107
    5. The fate of Hagarism – 120
    6. Sadducee Islam – 130
    7. The austerity of Islamic history – 139
      Appendix II: Lex Fufia Caninia and the Muslim law of bequests – 149
    Notes to the text – 152
    Bibliography – 237
    Indices – 259

  1. Very interesting and scholarly!
  2. A review, which I don’t have access to, is Review of John Burton, The Collection of the Qurʾan, Cambridge 1977; Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, Hagarism. The Making of the Islamic World, Cambridge 1977. It also reviews another book in my collection ("Burton (John), Qur'an - The Collection of the Qur'an").

In-Page Footnotes ("Crone (Patricia) & Cook (Michael) - Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World")

Footnote 1: See Wikipedia: Calque.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2024
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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