Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari d. 923 was the towering figure among the historians of early Islam. Living in Baghdad when the city was at the height of its position as a cultural centre, he was in a perfect position to collect and edit the early histories of Islam and produce his magnificent synthesis. His great History of the Prophets and Kings was the crowning achievement of early Islamic historiography. Running to 39 volumes in the new English translation, he told the story of the Muslim world, beginning with the biblical and old Persians traditions and continued the story down to his own time. He also produced one of the fullest and most respected commentaries of the Qur’an. Yet the man himself remains something of a mystery. He almost never intrudes into the narrative. It is difficult to say whether we should treat him as an author or as an editor, repackaging earlier works, all fully acknowledged. What were his biases and prejudices? Was he a propagandist for the reigning Abbasid dynasty or simply a passer on of the traditions he found? This volume, bringing together some of the most eminent scholars of early Arabic historiography is the first attempt to answer some of these questions and it will be of fundamental importance to anyone interested in the early Islamic world or in comparative historiography
Tarif Khalidi, Michael Whitby, Mohsen Zakeri, Zeev Rubin, James Howard-Johnston, Walter E. Kaegi and Paul M. Cobb, Jane Dammen Mcauliffe, Claude Gilliot, Khalil Athamina, Sebastian Gunther, Hugh Kennedy, Ell Landau-Tasseron, John A. Nawas, Ralph-Johannes Lilie, Matthew S. Gordon, Elton Daniel, Chase F. Robinson, Arnoud Vrolijk, Anas B. Khalidov, Osman S.A. Ismail Al-Bili.