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Muhammad’s Heirs. The Rise of Muslim Scholarly Communities, 622–950 by Jonathan E. Brockopp (June 2017)

Muhammad's Heirs. The Rise of Muslim Scholarly Communities, 622–950 (...)

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Jonathan E. Brockopp is an Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is the editor of and contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad (Cambridge, 2010).


Muslim scholars are a vital part of Islam, and are sometimes considered ’heirs to the prophets’, continuing Muhammad’s work of establishing Islam in the centuries after his death. But this was not always the case: indeed, Muslims survived the turmoil of their first century largely without the help of scholars. In this book, Jonathan Brockopp seeks to determine the nature of Muslim scholarly communities and to account for their emergence from the very beginning of the Muslim story until the mid-tenth century. By analysing coins, papyri and Arabic literary manuscripts from the ancient mosque-library of Kairouan, Tunisia, Brockopp offers a new interpretation of Muslim scholars’ rise to positions of power and influence, serving as moral guides and the chief arbiters of Muslim tradition. This book will be of great benefit to scholars of comparative religion and advanced students in Middle Eastern history, Islamic Studies, Islamic Law and early Islamic literature.


Introduction; 1. Foundations, 622–680; 2. Integration of the proto-scholar, 680–750; 3. Rise of the Muslim scholar, 750–820; 4. Scholarship and the literary turn, 820–875; 5. Mature scholarly community of Kairouan, 875–950; Conclusion; Appendix.

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