The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude Seventh-Twentieth Century

The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude Seventh-Twentieth Century

The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude Seventh-Twentieth Century

The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude Seventh-Twentieth Century

Synopsis

"In this study, newly translated into English, Bat Ye'or provides a lucid analysis of the dogma and strategies of jihad, offering a vast panorama of the history of Christians and Jews under the rule of Islam. A pioneer in a virgin field of research for which she coined the word "dhimmitude," the author has included in this essential work a documentary section illuminating the decline of Eastern Christianity. In two waves of Islamic expansion the Christian and Jewish populations of the Mediterranean regions and Mesopotamia, who had developed the most prestigious civilizations of the time, were conquered by jihad. Millions of Christians from Spain, Egypt, Syria, Greece, and Armenia; Latins and Slavs from southern and central Europe; as well as Jews were henceforth governed by the shari'a (Islamic law). Knowledge of this historical background is essential in order to understand contemporary events and developments so that future challenges can be faced within a context of positive religious dialogue and reconciliation." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This is not a book about Islam; it examines neither its expansion nor its civilization. Its objective is the study of that multitude of peoples subjugated by Islam, and to determine, as far as possible, the complex processes--both endogenous and exogenous--that brought about their gradual extinction. A phenomenon of dissolution, which after all is hardly exceptional, and part and parcel of the evolutionary cycles of human societies.

These dhimmi peoples--that is to say, "protected peoples"--represent those populations, custodians of scriptural revelations, who were conquered by Islam. In Iran and the Mediterranean basin, these populations englobed Zoroastrians, Christians, and Jews.

For guidance, I used a wide range of sources, which emanate from these peoples and often had the additional advantage of being contemporary with the events described. As these testimonials are confined to certain regions and periods, the dearth of material has, of necessity, determined the areas both of clarity and of silence in this study.

This work was originally conceived as a new French edition of Le Dhimmi, based on the revised and considerably expanded English edition. It is therefore hardly surprising that a resemblance still remains, particularly in chaper 3 (chapter 2 of The Dhimmi). However, the abundance of new material gave rise to further analyses. Determined to keep the book to a manageable size, I was prompted to reduce considerably the section concerning the Jews of Islam, which had been widely covered in my earlier publications. Essential documents appear in both books.

Whereas there are innumerable studies and specialized works on the history of Islamic civilization, publications on the vanquished peoples remain fragmentary and limited. This makes all the more valuable those books which examine the organization and history of ethnoretigious groups according to geographic boundaries and religious affiliation. The present work is not a chronological recapitulation of the history of the various peoples who were subjugated by the Arabs, Turks, and Persians. That task should be undertaken by a group of historians who would not only be able to master Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, but also Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, the Slavonic languages, and the dialects spoken by all those populations who, over the . . .

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