History and its mimesis and the problem of the sources
Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Feb 8, 2013 at 18:28
Ianus you wrote
Hi, dhimmi no more !I must say you make a very strange point referring to my quotes :
You see I think that we might be saying the same thing but reaching our conclusions from very different directions.
I was really surprised that in the Middle East the study of history is called علم الاثار or the science of archaeolgy and not التاريخ or the study of history as indeed historians in that part of the world always had great suspicions of written sources (they believe that written sources are written by people that must have believed that this is what happened but it does not mean that this is indeed what happened) and it stem from the fact that Islamic history or the genre of Islamic tarikh or التاريخ has always been viewed as pious fiction or not real history as in what the German historians called that the study of history is about undestanding "what really happend"
Now you need to read two very seminal works to be able to understand the nature of the early islamic sources and also understand my skepticism about the Islamic literary sources
1. You must read Albrecht Noth's quellenkritische or The early Arabic historical tradition and this is indeed the penultimate examination of the early Muslims literary historical tradition. Go and read it and you will realize that the Islamic historical literary tradition is the biggest fraud in the history of mankind and should be approached with skepticism
So if we cannot trust the islamic literary historical tradition to answer the question about what really happened then what is left?
2. Well we are left with archaeology and this is indeed why historians in the Middle East regard the study of history as the study of archaeology (that does not mean that they do not study the literary sources but they have a great healthy degree of skepticism) and this would bring me to the second book and it is only 27 pages and it was a presentation to the Israel Academy of Sciences in 1987 by John Wansbourgh, the great historian of early Islam and who really changed just about every thing we knew about how did Islam come about and for this check his Res Ipsa Liquitur history and its mimesis
where he examines the archaeological findings of the Ugarit civilization in Syria and compare it with Arabia in the pre-Islamic period
The Ugarit civilization flourished some 1500 years BCE and how can historians were able to reconstruct their history based on the archaeological findings done in Syria
Now compare this with what we have in the history of early islam! Lots of bogus literary sources written 2-3 centuries at the least about events so remote to the writer of the text as for the archaeological evidence there is none at best
As for Fardawsi: Sure he was Muslim but he had no like for the Arabs and you cannot escape the fact that the genius of the people of Iran has always been if you cannot beat them then join and indeed in the case of islam they were defeated but it was the Iranians that created islam and made it what it is after all 70% of literary sources that we have now were written by not Arabs but Persians
Read both books and let us talk again
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