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The House and the Book: sanctuary and scripture in late antique Judaism and Christianity, and early Islam

Start: Nov 29, 2018 06:30 PM
End: Nov 29, 2018 08:30 PM

Location: Theatre G6, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PY

Gerald Hawting

Thursday November 29th


The emergence of Islam in the seventh century CE as a religion with both a scripture and a central sanctuary associated with animal offerings provokes some surprise. Late antiquity was marked by the virtual disappearance of animal sacrifice in the public sphere, and Judaism was transformed from a religion centred on the Jerusalem Temple and its daily offerings to a religion of the book. Christianity combined a sacrificial ritual and a concern with scripture, but the former was symbolic in form and the latter limited in extent. Islam, on the other hand, has at its heart both an extensive concern with scripture and a ritual involving the slaughter of animals at its central sanctuary. In this lecture I intend to reflect on the Islamic case comparatively and historically: how and why did Islam develop with both elements of central importance, and how do they relate to one another?

Emeritus Professor Gerald Hawting was until retirement in 2009 Professor of the History of the Near and Middle East at SOAS. His teaching and research has focused on the emergence and early development of Islam, on which he has published several books and articles. Among them are The idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam (1999), and (with David Eisenberg) ‘“Earnest Money” and the Sources of Islamic Law’ (2015). In 2018 was President of the International Qurʿānic Studies Association (IQSA).

The Institute of Archaeology lecture theatre G6, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY

Drinks from 6pm, lecture 6.30pm


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