Religion and Society in the Near East, | Berkey’s focus in The Formation of Islam is on ideas and institutions and their social and political context. Jonathan Berkey’s book surveys the religious history of the peoples of the Near East from roughly to CE. The opening chapter examines the religious. Khalid Yahya Blankinship; Jonathan P. Berkey. The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, – (Themes in Islamic.

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In part their dispersion resulted from the successive deportations of Jews from Palestine, under the Assyrians and Babylonians and, in the wake of the Bar Kochba rebellion in the second century CE, the Romans. Princeton University Press,—8. On certain matters of ritual touching intimate areas of human life and expectations, divergence in practice could create real feelings of uneasiness or even revulsion: And the decline is measurable, and not merely in the obvious fact that, at some point between the third and seventh centuries, the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Near East formally converted to one of the new faiths.

By the fourth century, the church was well- established, with a network of churches down to the village level, and a growing body of Christian literature written in or translated into Coptic, the language of the native population. Brill,and the still serviceable work of H. Harper and Row, It comes as no surprise that the missionary activities of several of the religions of late antiquity — Manichaeism, for example, and later Islam — were closely associated with merchants.

The Formation of Islam (Jonathan Berkey) – book review

Berkey’s focus in The Formation of Islam is on ideas and institutions and their social and political context, exploring how the core ideological and structural features of Islam developed.

Overall, The Formation of Islam is an excellent survey of the earlier history of Islam, managing to provide some structure to a hugely complex body of religious institutions and ideas as they evolved over nine hundred years. The prophet Mani himself was born into a family attracted to the Jewish-Christian baptist sects which proliferated in the Fertile Crescent in the first centuries of the Common Era.


Cama Oriental Institute 391—63, esp. Clarendon Press,; on the situation in western Anatolia more generally, see Frank R. Egypt provides a case in point.

formztion From the standpoint of the religious traditions which are studied in this book, the year BCE may be somewhat arbitrary, since the subsequent centuries were, at least in the Near East, equally decisive regarding the articulation of identifiable religious traditions. The Sasanians, even at the height of their conflict with Rome in the sixth century, relentlessly borrowed from Byzantine culture everything from bath-houses to systems of taxation, ths the shah Khusrau I Anushirvan r.

There is “some controversy as to the point at which we can safely speak of a distinctive Islamic tradition” and “The Consolidation of Islam, ” begins with questions of identity: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, volume 1: It was to such problems, made worse by the per- manently shifting character of urban life, that many of the new religions addressed themselves.

Zoroastrian dualism was distinguished from that of Manichaeism by its insistence upon the genesis of the world, or at least most of it minus things like reptiles, snakes, and the seven planetsat the hands of the good, rather than the evil, deity.

Jonathan Berkey

Remember me on this computer. The various local and national religions, even the colorful and exuberant polytheism of Egypt, were not immune to jonatgan force of the monotheistic ideal. Despite the imprecision of the term, historians fall back on it, inevitably if reluctantly, to identify the mass of inter-connected religious traditions and cults which emerged from flrmation ancient world and which found themselves in competition with the newly self-conscious communities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and, later, Muslims.

The Jewish historian Josephus reports that the empress Poppaea, second wife of Nero, felt the attraction of Judaism, and interceded with her husband on its behalf. The religions of late antiquity 27 Manichaeans and others in the Fertile Crescent. One of the characteristic features of the religious literature of late antiquity is its highly polemical nature. And mono- theism, or at least a tendency toward belief in a single god, permeated the late antique world, by no means exclusively in its Jewish or Christian form.

Nor were the older pagan traditions immune from the influence jonnathan the first of the major monotheistic faiths. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity Princeton: The religions of late antiquity 15 emerged as authoritative spokesmen on questions regarding law, the questions which marked the Jews off as a people and gave them a separate identity. Williams and Norgate,; cf. In both tenor and substance, Judaism differed profoundly from the Zoroastrianism which grew more closely identified with the Sasanian state.


Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century: Clarendon Press, The social and historical significance of those controversies, however, is another matter. University of Michigan Press, Moreover, what became the principal medieval image of Mary — suckling the infant Jesus — can be traced back iconographically to Egyptian depictions jonatnan the goddess Isis nursing her infant son Horus.

Beroey used the phrase to describe the third century, but it is just as descriptive of the ensuing centuries. Sources for Biblical Study, no. But other religions, such as Christianity, were also more porous than bishops and others might insist. First, they tended to be closely associated with states and empires.

Skip to main content. In the Roman Empire, as is well known, Manichaeism was a potent force, which at one point held a powerful attraction for St Augustine. The religions of late antiquity 35 district of Beth Aramaye lower Iraq.

Now she is a woman, not at all changed, except in the eyes of self-deceived men. And by at least the end of the sixth century, the leaders of those schools, the geonim, had 10 On the size of the Jewish population in Iraq, see Jacob Neusner, Talmudic Judaism in Sasanian Babylonia Leiden: On fourth- and fifth-century Roman legislation aimed at preventing conversion to Judaism, see Simon, Verus Israel, —3.

Across its eastern joonathan, in the eastern half of the Fertile Crescent and in the lands beyond, lay the empire of the Sasanians, an Iranian dynasty which had come to power in the third century.

The religions of late antiquity 33 practices of almost unlimited variety, many of them unconnected in any mean- ingful sense to others also defined as manifestations of paganism.