Early Sunnī Historiography

A Study of the Tārīkh of Khalīfa b. Khayyāṭ


In Early Sunnī Historiography, Tobias Andersson presents the first full-length study of the earliest Islamic chronological history extant: the Tārīkh ( Chronicle) of the Basran ḥadīth scholar and historian Khalīfa b. Khayyāṭ al-ʿUṣfurī (d. 240/854). The book examines how Khalīfa worked as a historian in terms of his social and intellectual context, selection of sources, methods of compilation, arrangement of material and narration of key themes in comparison to the wider historiographical tradition. It shows how Khalīfa’s affiliation with the early Sunnī ḥadīth scholars of Basra is reflected in his methods and concerns throughout the Tārīkh, while also highlighting similarities to other histories compiled by ḥadīth scholars of the third/ninth century.

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Tobias Andersson, Ph.D. (2016), University of Edinburgh, is a researcher at Uppsala University. He has published in the field of Islamic historiography and translated classical Arabic works into English and Swedish.
Note on Conventions

1 Subject and Scope
2 Previous Studies on Khalīfa’s Tārīkh
3 Manuscripts and Published Editions

1 The Transmission of Khalīfa’s Tārīkh
1 Introduction
2 The Transmitters: Baqī b. Makhlad and Mūsā b. Zakariyyā al-Tustarī
3 Differences between the Recensions and the Question of Authorship
4 Missing Material in Baqī’s Recension
5 Conclusion

2 Khalīfa’s Life and Works
1 Introduction
2 Biography
3 Works
4 Scholarly Reputation
5 Khalīfa’s Tārīkh in Later Scholarship
6 Conclusion

3 Social and Intellectual Context
1 Introduction
2 Social and Political Context
3 Intellectual Context
4 Historiographical Context
5 Conclusion

4 Khalīfa’s Sources
1 Introduction
2 Main Direct Transmitters (20–110 Citations)
3 Less Frequently Cited Direct Transmitters (5–19 Citations)
4 Minor Direct Transmitters (1–4 Citations)
5 Major Indirect Sources
6 Analysis of Material
7 Conclusion

5 Khalīfa’s Methods
1 Introduction
2 Epistemology of Historical Knowledge
3 System of Reference
4 Selection and Evaluation of Transmitters
5 Conclusion

6 Structure and Arrangement of the Tārīkh
1 Introduction
2 Concept of Chronography
3 General Structure: Annalistic and Caliphal Chronology
4 Structure of Individual Years and Lists
5 Conclusion

7 Themes I: Prophethood, Community and Hegemony
1 Introduction
2 Prophethood
3 Community
4 Hegemony
5 Conclusion

8 Themes II: Leadership and Civil War
1 Introduction
2 The Rāshidūn Period
3 The Umayyad Period
4 The ʿAbbāsid Period
5 Conclusion

1 Overview
2 Methods, Concerns and Contexts of the Early Historians
3 Chronography among the Early Ḥadīth Scholars
4 Articulations of Sunnī Views in the Early Historical Tradition

Appendix: Citations of Khalīfa in al-Bukhārī’s al-Jāmiʿ al-ṣaḥīḥ
All those interested in Islamic historiography, ḥadīth scholarship, early Sunnī Islam and the early history of Islam more generally.