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Umayyad Christianity


John of Damascus as a contextual example of identity formation in Early Islam


A study of the identity-formation process that the Christians of Syria-Palestine experienced during the Umayyad Caliphate. It approaches this subject by using John of Damascus and his writings on Islam as a case-study. This provides an exhaustive study of the available historical data in order to stimulate some further thought on John of Damascus’s theology and legacy from a contextual and intercultural methodology. Such an examination has not yet been pursued in the scholarship of Byzantine Christianity during that era. Proceeding from a centralizing ‘context’, the monograph revisits John of Damascus’s legacy (and the Umayyad Christians’ identity-formation of that era) from the perspective of his historical, Islamic-Arabic context, and not from any assumed, metanarrative, common to contemporary pro-Byzantine theology scholars.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0757-1
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Dec 6,2018
Interior Color: Black with Color Inserts
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 484
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0757-1
$95.00
$66.50

A study of the identity-formation process that the Christians of Syria-Palestine experienced during Umayyad Caliphate. It approaches this subject by using John of Damascus and his writings on Islam as a case-study. This provides an exhaustive study of the available historical data in order to stimulate some further thought on John of Damascus’s theology and legacy from a contextual and intercultural methodology. Such an examination has not yet been pursued in the scholarship of Byzantine Christianity during that era. Proceeding from a centralizing ‘context’, the monograph revisits John of Damascus’s legacy (and the Umayyad Christians’ identity-formation of that era) from the perspective of his historical, Islamic-Arabic context, and not from any assumed, mita-narrative, common to contemporary pro-Byzantine theology scholars.

A study of the identity-formation process that the Christians of Syria-Palestine experienced during Umayyad Caliphate. It approaches this subject by using John of Damascus and his writings on Islam as a case-study. This provides an exhaustive study of the available historical data in order to stimulate some further thought on John of Damascus’s theology and legacy from a contextual and intercultural methodology. Such an examination has not yet been pursued in the scholarship of Byzantine Christianity during that era. Proceeding from a centralizing ‘context’, the monograph revisits John of Damascus’s legacy (and the Umayyad Christians’ identity-formation of that era) from the perspective of his historical, Islamic-Arabic context, and not from any assumed, mita-narrative, common to contemporary pro-Byzantine theology scholars.

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Contributor Biography

Najib Awad

Dr Najib George Awad is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Hartford Seminary. He gained his doctorate at King's College, London, and his Theol. Habil. at Philipps Universitaet Marburg, Germany.

Preface (vii) 
Chapter One. Introducing the case (1)
Chapter Two. On contextuality in historical–theological reasoning: a brief methodological exposition (9) 
   On contextuality in today’s “context-centered” scholarship (10) 
   Contextuality in late antiquity/early Islam studies (19) 
   Context-centered methodology and oriental church history (25) 
   Contextuality and John of Damascus in this study (31)
Chapter Three. Who was John of Damascus? Or, centralizing Sitz im Leben (35) 
   John of Damascus’s Profile in Today’s Scholarship (35) 
   John of Damascus, the “Saracen-minded” Christian in Umayyad Syria (44)
Chapter Four. Yannah Manṣūr ad-Dimashqī b. Sarjūn b. Manṣūr ar-Rūmī, the inhabitant of Damascus (73) 
   John’s Sitz im Leben and relation to Islam (73) 
   On John’s image as a turban wearer: a gesture of defiance or of affinity? (94) 
   John’s Arabic name: using Arab patronyms in early Islam (119)
Chapter Five. John of Damascus’s Greek writings in the context of Umayyad Syria-Palestine (153) 
   Islam in the writings of John of Damascus: a contextual experiment (153) 
   The Heresy of the Ishmaelites from a contextual perspective (167) 
      Hostility, identity formation, and chapter 100/101 (167)
      The context of Palestine–Jerusalem and John’s religious zeal (192) 
      Traces of context in chapter 100/101 (207) 
      Conclusion (313)
   The trilogy of On the Divine Images from a contextual perspective (316)
      Iconoclasm in the context of Umayyad Syria-Palestine (316)
      Some traces of the Sitz im Leben in On the Divine Images (331) 
      Conclusion (362)
Chapter Six. Umayyad Christianity: forming identity in a changing Sitz im Leben (367) 
   Identity formation in late-antique Islam (368) 
   The Christian mawālī under Umayyad rule (382) 
   To be a Christian in a radically changing Umayyad world (389) 
   Arab Christians in the land of Islam: a brief reflection on today’s Middle East (402)
Bibliography (421)
Index (465)

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