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Judaism in Arabia From origins to the rise of Islam (5-6 février 2006)

Judaism in Arabia From origins to the rise of Islam (5-6 février 2006)

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International Colloquium


Jerusalem, Mishkenot Shaananim, Fostel Hall
5-7 FEBRUARY 2006

Organized by
Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
Laboratoire des Études Sémitiques Anciennes, Paris (CNRS, Collège de France et Université Paris IV) Institut de Recherches sur l¹Études des Religions, Paris (Université Paris IV)
Institut d¹Études et de Recherches sur le Monde arabe et Musulman, Aix-en-Provence (CNRS, Université de Provence, Aix-Marseille III)
Ben Zvi Institute (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

under the auspices of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres

Since about thirty years, the archaeology of Ancient Arabia from the borders of Jordan to the shores of the Indian Ocean has been enriched by all kinds of new discoveries : cities with huge surrounding walls, stone monuments, and a very large number of texts.
With these discoveries, itbecomes now possible to write a history of Preislamic Arabia and to connect it with that of the Near East and of the Eastern Mediterranean basin.
One of the periods for which the new findings have consequences far beyond the confines of Arabia is the Late Antiquity (IVth century-beginning of the VIIth century).
This period is essential to understand the genesis of Islam.
According to historians of the rise of Islam, the inhabitants of Arabia were poor, isolated, refractory to the use of writing and without a stable political organization.
The small sedentary population of the oasis was dominated by the pastoral nomads of the desert.
Some studies of the Coran and primitive Islam also conclude that Arabia was not the real craddle of the new religion.
These assertions are now contradicted by the most recent researches.
They show that Arabia was not an isolated area and that relatively stable political structures existed in the South of the Peninsula.

The Conference aims to investigate this pivotal period and the associated problems.
It will focus on the religious situation in Arabia and the regional context during the few centuries preceding the rise of Islam.
As it is now established that Judaism occupied a dominant position in the Kingdom of Himyar (i.e., Yemen and neighbouring areas) and in part of Western Arabia, the Conference will first endeavour to define the origins and development of this Arabic Judaism, and its links with the rest of the Jewish World.
A second goal of the Conference will be to show that Islam was the heir of a long religious tradition in Arabia itself, which explains rather well its most ancient characteristics.

The Conference will gather scholars from various disciplines (archaeology, philology, history, history of religions) and of three academic fields : Ancient Arabia, Ancient Middle East and the origins of Islam. They are mainly Israeli and French, but also American, English and Italian.



First Session
9.00 Welcome address, by Pierre de MIROSCHEDJI (director of the French Research Center in Jerusalem).
9.15 Introduction, by Christian ROBIN (director of the UMR 8167 ³Orient et Méditerranée², CNRS, Paris IV, Collège de France and EPHE, member of the Institut de France).
10.00 Coffee break.

Second Session. Chair: Myriam FRENKEL

10.15 Ronny REICH (University of Haifa) : The necropolis of Beth Shearim.
11.15 Yosef TOBI (University of Haifa) : The mikrâb of Hasî (inscription MAFRAY-Hasî 1).
12.15 Maria GOREA (University of Paris VIII) : Les mishmarôt de l’inscription de Bayt Hâdir réexaminées.
13.15 Lunch.

Third Session. Chair: Gerald R. HAWTING

14.30 Shaul SHAKED (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) : The inscription of ŒEn ŒAvdat, a summary.
15.15 Zeev RUBIN (University of Tel Aviv) : From the Rabbanat at the court of Sharahbi¹îl Yakkuf to the Tiberian Priests at the Court of Yûsuf As¹ar Yath¹ar.
16.15 Guy STROUMSA (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) : False prophet and false messiah in the seventh century : Jewish and Christian traditions.
17.15 Coffee break.

Fourth Session. Chair: Shaul SHAKED

17.30 Paul YULE (University of Heidelberg) : On the end of the preislamic period : archaeological evidence.
18.30 Madeleine SCOPELLO (CNRS) : Mani et Muhammad, prophètes et envoyés : une rencontre de traditions.


First Session. Chair: Sergio NOJA NOSEDA

8.30 Françoise BRIQUEL-CHATONNET (CNRS) : Chrétiens d’Arabie : les sources syriaques.
9.30 José COSTA (University of Paris III) : L’Arabie dans le Talmud.
10.30 Coffee break.

Second Session. Chair: Yosef TOBI
10.45 Sergio NOJA NOSEDA (University of Milan) : Is the enigmatic name of the valley of Tuwâ¹ (XX, 12) a copy of Horev ?
11.45 Michael LECKER (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) : The treasure of the Jews of Medina.
12.45 Lunch.

Third Session. Chair: Michael LECKER
14.00 Gerald R. HAWTING (School of Oriental and African Studies, London) : The concept of prophethood in the Qur¹ân and its possible sources.
15.00 Robert HOYLAND (University of Edinburgh) : The Jews of North-West Arabia.
16.00 Coffee break.

Fourth Session. Chair: Robert HOYLAND
16.15 Alba FEDELI (Fondazione Ferni Noja Noseda, Studi arabo islamici, Lesa, and University of Milan) : Rajab and the sacred months of jâhiliyya : reflection on the verse II, 217 in scriptio inferior of the palimpsest of SanŒâ¹.


9.00 Departure for field trip to Beth Shearim.
17.00 Return to Jerusalem
17.30 Concluding session.

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