Beyond Clashing Civilizations: Rethinking Early Christian-Muslim Relations
Fri, October 29, 2010 • 5:00 PM • Texas Union, Sinclair Suite (3.128)
The Workshop on Late Antiquity presents:
"Beyond Clashing Civilizations: Rethinking Early Christian-Muslim Relations"
A lecture by Michael Penn, Mount Holyoke College
October 29, 2010, 5:00 PM
Texas Union, Sinclair Suite (3.128)
The history of early Christian-Muslim relations has often been told from the perspective of Greek Christians from the besieged city of Constantinople or Latin Crusader accounts. Our earliest, largest, and most diverse set of early Christian writings concerning Islam, however, was written in an Aramaic dialect called Syriac. Professor Penn asks how these rarely studied Syriac documents can substantially change our understanding of the first encounters of the modern world's two largest religions. In "Beyond Clashing Civilizations" Penn argues that these sources point not only toward a much more complex set of interactions than usually envisioned. They also suggest that in the seventh through ninth centuries the very categories of Christian and Islam were much more ambiguous, permeable, and overlapping than previously has been acknowledged.