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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And Monophysite frustrations did not dissipate quickly. One of the most important Jewish communities in the Mediterranean region was found in Egypt.

From one perspective, there was no such thing as paganism, but there were lots of paganisms, most of them deeply rooted in local and ethnic communities. A more funda- mental problem is that Zoroastrian doctrine took shape only slowly, sometimes in response to the theological assertions of other religious traditions. Cambridge University Press, 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.

In the first place, it is employed to indicate religious beliefs and 71 Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo Berkeley: By the third century it was well established and organized, and began to attract the attention of the Zoroastrian iislam which was growing closer to the Sasanian state. Late antique Zoroastrianism, even more than Judaism and Christianity, is difficult to define in any precise and categorical fashion.

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. In formatjon tenor and substance, Judaism differed profoundly from forrmation Zoroastrianism which iskam more closely identified with the Sasanian state.

Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian Princeton: Bythe emperor Theodosius declared Christianity the official religion of the empire. The religions of late antiquity 29 foundation of kingship and kingship protects religion. Many of the Jews of Egypt were, or had as their forebears, soldiers, as the settlement islaam Jewish military colonies continued throughout the Ptolemaic period. There are parallels between its organization and relation to the state and those of the Mesopotamian Jews, parallels which assume a special importance when viewed from the vantage point of the later Islamic period.


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The Sasanian emperors were not, of course, Christian. Manichaeism had an appeal even for some early Muslims, as we shall see.

The Formation of Islam

In Egypt, the situation was made worse by the 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: Chitty, The Desert a City: A permanent Jewish presence in Egypt dated back to at least the sixth century BCE, with the establishment of a mercenary garrison on the Elephantine island near modern Aswan.

On the other hand, Mani and his followers aimed from the beginning at an even larger target. Drake, In Praise of Constantine: As late as the mid-fifth century, Yazdigird II r. A History of Doctrine and Devotion London: Princeton University Press, — Islam’s Arabic origins had given it the Arabic language as an orthodoxy, but there was the split between Shia and Sunni identities and memories, and “different views of the nature and locus of religious authority.

Sources for Biblical Study, no. They were, for example, by and large not required to participate in the imperial cult. And he describes common patterns in social and political organisation, the legal system, and the transmission of religious knowledge. Slavery after Rome, — Zoroastrian dualism was distinguished from that of Manichaeism by its insistence upon the genesis of the world, or at least most of it pf things like reptiles, snakes, and the seven planetsat the hands of the good, rather than the evil, deity.

Across its eastern border, in the eastern half of the Fertile Crescent and in the lands beyond, lay the empire of the Sasanians, an Iranian dynasty which had come to power in the third century. Oxford University Press, Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. 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.

Part of the problem is textual: The preacher claimed even to know at least one Antiochan Christian who identified himself as such, but who had submitted to circumcision.

That the apparent triumph of a monotheistic religion should be accompanied by increasingly bitter debates over doctrinal issues may not be coincidental. Berkey’s focus in The Formation of Islam is on ideas and institutions and their social formstion political context, exploring how the core ideological and structural features of Islam developed.


That latter community suffered of course in the wake of the Bar Kochba rebellion, when Jews were forbidden to live within the city of Jerusalem, a prohibition periodically renewed by the Roman emperors, and also from the sharp rise of antisemitic feeling in the later Roman Empire.

But at the deep foundational level formwtion mental structures which manifest themselves as folk belief, change naturally worked more slowly.

Christians shared with Jews an underlying aversion to a number of Zoroastrian beliefs or practices — the worship of fire, for example, or consanguinous marriages — and the Zoroastrian priesthood itself shocked by Christian ideals such as virginity periodically unleashed waves of persecution of Christians. Thereupon this revelation has come down and this prophecy has appeared in the form of myself, Mani, the envoy of the true God in the Land of Babylon.

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The Formation of Islam – Wikipedia

Like their Christian Roman counterparts, however, they might intervene in church affairs, to convene a council of Christian bishops, for example, or to secure the election of some particular candidate as catholicos.

Brill,95; Michael G. Popular religion, often involving syncretic elements and the veneration of individuals as well as mystical ideas, posed a broader threat to the authority of the ulama. Given the sheer size of the Jewish population and its presence throughout the Mediterranean world, Ebrkey had distinct political advantages, too, another point worth remembering in light of later conditions.

Help Center Find new research papers in: The dominant factor in the religious turmoil of late antiquity was the rise of Christianity, and formarion competition between Christianity and paganism was largely of Christian manufacture. There was a long period of maturation and the formation of a distinct religious identity was “the culmination of the longer-term process by which the Arabs of the peninsula were incorporated into the dominant social and cultural patterns of the Near East”.

Cama Oriental Institute 391—63, esp.