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. Khalid Yahya Blankinship; Jonathan P. Berkey. The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, – (Themes in Islamic. Berkey is an Associate Professor of History at Davidson College. He describes Islam as having developed across generations, and he writes of various religious .

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The Formation of Islam

The tensions were in part theological. Of course, no pre-modern society reached anything close to the levels of urbanization in our industrial and post-industrial world, and it is worth remembering at the outset that many of the religious developments described in this book reached the ninety percent or more of the population which was rural in attenuated and problematic form. Harper and Row, But the tensions also had a social dimension.

But the Jews of Mesopotamia firmation experienced the sharpening of communal boundaries in the centuries before the rise of Islam. In Egypt, the situation was made worse by ielam fact that the priests apparently lost their ability to read and write the Egyptian language in its ancient scripts, and so found themselves partially cut off from their pagan religious traditions: But beekey was a more explicit political dimension as well, since the Coun- cil also made it clear that Constantinople was to be regarded as the premier Christian city of the eastern Empire, to the detriment of the authority of the patriarchal sees of Antioch and, especially, Alexandria.

The Shia, on the other hand, “insisted that the Prophet, as the bearer of God’s guidance,” had named Ali ibn Abi Talib as “the divinely-inspired Imam who was to follow him. Despite the imprecision of the term, historians fall back on it, inevitably if reluctantly, to identify the mass of inter-connected cormation traditions and cults which emerged from the ancient world and which found themselves in competition with the newly self-conscious communities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and, later, Muslims.

According to Nestorius, the patri- arch of Constantinople who gave bberkey name to the sect, Christ was the locus of two entirely independent natures, the divine and the human: Morony, Iraq after the Muslim Conquest Princeton: University of Michigan Press,5—6. Lying just beyond the easternmost Roman provinces, it provided a natural refuge for Jews fleeing Roman persecution; and Jews, in their wake, brought Christianity. Sufism had an uneasy relationship with the ulama, and had connections with Shi’ism, but it became more structured as it was formalised into different turuq or “ways”.


Despite the rise in the level of rhetorical hostility islm its accompanying violence, and despite a corresponding emphasis on formal professions of faith — developments which left a profound mark on the world Islam inherited — a dialogue formatino the religious traditions persisted through the end of late antiquity. And Monophysite frustrations did not dissipate quickly.

Interaction bred cultural influence — Iranian influence, for example, can be traced in Jewish mysticism and in the magic which came increasingly to be associated with Jews — and social interpenetration, such as intermarriage and conversion.

The urban commercial economy had a decisive impact on religious develop- ments of begkey era.

The Formation of Islam (Jonathan Berkey) – book review

So, for example, a treaty with the Roman empire in provided that Christians were to be left alone, allowed to worship freely and construct churches.

At the Sasanian court, he encountered and came into conflict with the Zoroastrian priest Karter. The Jews of Mesopotamia, for example, endeared themselves to Shapur II —79 by their refusal to cooperate with the Roman emperor Julian during his invasion of the Sasanian Empire.

Without the gifts of paganism, the earth would have been empty and impoverished, enveloped in a great shroud of formaton. Cambridge University Press,— It was out of Judaism that Christianity first arose, and at least partly through a bitter dispute with islxm mother faith that the new religion defined itself.

Even before this, Egyptian temples had begun to suffer from a decline in the level of financial support from imperial authorities, support which had for centuries been critical to their construction, upkeep, and embellishment.

Moreover, the intellectuals among 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. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. Cama Oriental Institute 391—63, esp. The religions of late antiquity 29 foundation of kingship and kingship protects religion.

The Jewish community of Iraq was socially diverse, consisting of townsmen and scholars but overwhelmingly of laborers, peasants, and slaves, and as such knew considerable interaction with the non-Jewish communities of the country.

One historian has described a veritable berkeyy war which traumatized large portions of Upper Egypt in the fifth century, where entire villages remained untouched by Christianity.


The Formation of Islam | Jonathan Berkey –

The precise date of the compilation and redaction of the Zoroastrian texts known collectively as the Avesta has been much discussed, but they may have taken shape as a direct response of the Zoroastrian priesthood to the challenge posed by Mani berkeu his revelations. Syria and Armenia in the Formative Period, ed. Manichaeism had an appeal even for some early Muslims, as we shall see.

The religions of late antiquity 23 the off at Ephesus was Cyril; both Athanasius and Cyril were patriarchs of Alexandria. The flexibility and syncretistic potential of Mediterranean paganism are well known, and need no comment here.

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

Under the Ptolemaic and Seleucid emperors and their pagan Roman successors, Jews had been afforded a fair degree of freedom in the practice of their religion. Imperial legislation called for the closure and 28 H. But there have been influences from outside of Islam, such as a Persian celebration of the New Year, which, according to Berkey.

But Berkey describes Islam as a universalist religion taking shape during conquests “through a process of dialogue with the other faith traditions.

The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, volume 1: 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. His treatment is heavily weighted towards the earlier history, with two thirds of it on the first four centuries, on Polytheistic religious systems by their very islaam acknowledge a multiplicity of paths to truth, or salvation, or whatever is the islm of the religious enterprise.

University islm Chicago Press,2. Judaism and Christianity, as we have already seen, staked out a significant presence in the Sasanian realm, largely but not exclusively in its Mesopotamian provinces.

The dominant factor in the religious turmoil of late antiquity was the rise of Christianity, and the competition between Christianity and paganism was largely of Christian manufacture. Pagans had not always treated Christians kindly, as the many martyrs might attest.