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Purely persecutions? An examination of Muslims and the Christian Dhimmi in the Near East

Harris, James 2012. Purely persecutions? An examination of Muslims and the Christian Dhimmi in the Near East. MPhil Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis examines martyrologies set in the Near East between the seventh and ninth centuries, with a view to establishing the extent of their value as historical resources. The texts are placed in the context of the development of martyrological writing as a sub-genre of Christian hagiography, since they emerge from a rich tradition of early Christian writing which itself draws on Jewish sources. The similarities and differences between the situations of Christians under Islam and under Sasanid rule are also considered, since the Sasanid period is so rich in the range and variety of martyrological writings it produced. Texts from the caliphate period are looked at individually with a view to drawing out any salient historical details contained within them – likely hard facts as opposed to topoi. But history also includes the history of ideas. Therefore attention is paid to what can be gleaned from the shape of martyrological writing as a genre at that particular time. Although the main focus of study is the Near East and compositions mostly associated with the monastery of Mar Saba, reference is made to martyrological writings generated by the explosive mid-ninth century episode of the martyrs of Córdoba. Although it occurred outside the ‘Abbāsid caliphate, it is not unconnected with Mar Saba. The thesis suggests that it is significant that the period in question produced relatively few martyrologies in comparison with the Sasanid period. Moreover, some of the Caliphate texts say little about the encounter between Christianity and Islam. However, those that refer to it indicate that Islam posed a more serious theological challenge to Christianity than anything else it had hitherto encountered in the world of late antiquity, whether paganism or Zoroastianism.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:02

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