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Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness

Collected Studies in Three Volumes, Volume 3

Series:

Patricia Crone

Edited by Hanna Siurua

Patricia Crone's Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians.

The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters
The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands

Series:

Patricia Crone

Abstract

This article is a contribution to the question how far there was continuity between ancient Near Eastern and Islamic culture. It focuses on the practice of using lot-casting to allocate inheritance shares, conquered land, and official functions, and briefly surveys the history of this practice from ancient through Hellenistic to pre-Islamic times in order to examine its Islamic forms as reflected in historical and legal sources. It is argued that the evidence does suggest continuity between the ancient and the Islamic Near East, above all in the first century of the hijra, but also long thereafter, if only at a fairly low level of juristic interest. The article concludes with some general consideration of the problems involved in the study of the two disconnected periods of Near Eastern history.

Series:

Patricia Crone

Abstract

This article argues that Enoch and the ancient Near Eastern figure Atraḫasīs became indistinguishable at a popular level in pre-Islamic Iraq and that this is why Enoch came to be known as Idrīs, explained here as an Arabised version of a still unattested Aramaic form of Atraḫasīs. The exegetes may have been right when they identified the Qurʾānic Idrīs as Enoch, and they were at least half right when they identified Moses’ mysterious companion in sura 18 as al-Khiḍr, long recognised as another version of Atraḫasīs. In both cases they seem to be exhibiting a familiarity with the traditions behind the Qurʾān that they often lack in their interpretation of other Qurʾānic material.