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Abstract

Due to its closeness to the various ancient civilizations including China, India, Greece, and the Mediterranean world, Greater Khurāsān has been credited with religious and cultural diversity from the outset. Followers of different religions have co-existed within this area both during pre and post Common Era. When Muslim armies conquered Khurāsān in the first/seventh century, the worshipers of other religions faced new challenges, and some of them such as Zoroastrians left their homeland and immigrated to India. By obeying Islamic rules, some others including Jews and Christians remained faithful to their ancestral religions. The existence of numerous synagogues and patriarchates within certain cities such as Marw and Nayshāpūr, and the Jewish names of certain villages, testify to the fact that the aforementioned minorities inhabited Greater Khurāsān at least during the early centuries. This ongoing research tries to shed light on the Jews and Christians’ diaspora and their social life in Greater Khurāsān during the early centuries following a historical-analytical approach. We will answer whether the existence of religious sites in Greater Khurāsān signifies a tolerant atmosphere in a Muslim environment? Have Muslims tolerated their Jewish and Christian surroundings?

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 33

Abstract

This paper briefly reviews the backstage to this special section on Greater Khurāsān. The editors will open up the floor for further inquiries and investigations on the region. While some areas of the scholarship covered how the historical Greater Khurāsān finds some contemporary relevance, we argued that much is left for critical analysis, particularly when dealing with the emerging movements the majority of which – as the papers in this section indicate – have firm roots in the history of wider western and central Asia, particularly what was classically designated as Mā Warāʾ an-Nahr (Transoxania). This paper ends with a review of the eight papers included in this section, and how broader themes among such diverse studies can inform future studies.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 33
Volume 33 of Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion brings together an open section and two special sections that illuminate new vistas in the study of religious and non-religious belief. Special section 1 examines the historical roots of religious practice emerging from Greater Khurāsān – a historical ‘cross-road’ for many world religions. Special section 2 initiates a paradigm shift in study of religious and non-religious belief in relation to children, insisting upon foregrounding children’s narratives. Both special sections explore under-researched areas, underlining the significance of historical and contextual approaches. At an intrinsic level the volume interrogates the power dynamics that determine why particular voices and approaches are prioritised in the study of religious and non-religious belief, and why others remain under- or mis-heard.