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Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  5 reviews
How and why did Muslims first come to write their own history? The author argues in this work that the Islamic historical tradition arose not out of idle curiosity, or through imitation of antique models, but as a response to a variety of challenges facing the Islamic community during its first several centuries (ca. seventh to tenth centuries CE). The narratives that ...more
Unknown Binding, 358 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Darwin Press, Incorporated
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Wendelle So
impressive book for experts, not for people like me. It examines trustworthiness of sources of our knowledge of the early life of the Prophet and the dating of the Quran. It concludes that the early Islamic sources were 'an exercise in legitimation' and were conscientiously chosen and developed with an eye toward specific historiographical, polemical, or aesthetic purposes. Nevertheless this does not detract from the traditional position that the general story told by these writings convey the ...more
Taylor Kniphfer
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
For any historian of Islam or any newcomer to the field, this book is a must.
Anonimo
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ostensibly, the purpose of the book is to address the question of why the early Muslims began to write history and why the history they wrote took the shape that it did. But in doing so, Donner also tackles the question of "authenticity" that has consumed so many historians of Islam, especially in the West.

The book begins with a summary of four major approaches to Islamic history: classical, source-critical, tradition-critical and skeptical, and argues for some form of tradition-criticism (not
...more
Caracalla
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Decisive rebuttal to sceptical accounts of early Islamic history by Crone et al. Provides a thematic taxonomy of the earliest surviving works of Islamic historiography (Ibn Ishaq, al-Baladhuri, al-Tabari, etc.), arguing for a certain view of the developing historiographical tradition and the social forces that shaped it. Interesting belief that pious thinking was at heart a non-historical sort of thinking that had to be overlayed with historical writing when later political difficulties required ...more
Courtney Homer
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is my first book for my grad school class on approaches to Middle Eastern and Islamic history. The book was accessible and fascinating. The book answers two main questions - why did Muslims begin to record their history and how. As a new student of Islamic history, I found the first half especially interesting as the author addresses the context of early Islam. The second half wasn't quite as engaging as he discusses the themes and issues with the history, but it was still an enjoyable ...more
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