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John Wansbrough's Sectarian Milieu: The Abbasids and the sacred and the profane

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Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Feb 10, 2018 at 08:08

Gato you wrote

>The configuration of sectarian milieu for the early 7th century in North-East Arabia and al-Sham and Iraq
-The community of Mushrikoon (mentioned in Qeryana) - mostly Monophysite Christians, many still undergoing the process of transition from pagan religions to Christianity. Worship of Saints, Angels and Mary, divinization of Jesus strongly prevalent, identification of older pagan deities with new saints and angels fairly current, numerous pagan survivals in customs and practices. Probably strongly influenced by the Origenism and the doctrine of Apokatastasis(believing that salvation consists in disembodiment and restitution of souls into the Divinity, rejecting judgement and bodily resurrection). Mushrikoon mentioned in Qeryana - mostly agriculturalists, but traders as well.
-the community of Believers mentioned in Qeryana probably an ex-Samaritan Judeo-Christian sect, strictly monotheistic, rejecting "shirk" - association of lesser beings with God, recognizing Jesus as Messias, emphasizing his humanity and rejecting his divinity but not considering him to be "a mere man". Have a local temple(probably intially shared with "mushrikuun", practice animal sacrifices and keep some Judaic customs. Mostly traders.
-Nasaara - probably an umbrella term for all groups who recognize Jesus as Messias which could have different theologies(monophysite, nestorian, chalcedonian etc.)
-Rabbinical Jews. Living in numerous places - certain areas of Palestine, Madina, Yemen and especially central Babylonia(Iraq, but not exclusively there
-Samaritans - strongly reduced in number after their failed insurrection of 529-531, live in Samaria
-Mandeans - a sect in Southern Iraq, their founder is considered John the Baptist. Probably identical with "Sabians" mentioned in Qeryana, although other hypotheseis exist(that they were Manicheans for example)
-Various surviving "pagan" groups including so called "Sabians of Harran" strongly influenced by neoplatonist philosophies and Babylonian atrology. Probably that various pagan groups may still have existed in various regions of Fertile Crescent and Arabia but in many places "paganism" was on the of wane or already disappeared.
-Persian Zoroastrists who by 600 controlled Iraq and Yemen, and after 610 occupied Greater Syria and Egypt for a short time.

That represents very well the religious landscape in the Middle East and to be more specific al-Sham and Mesopotamia in late antiquity and this has nothing to do with al-Hijaz

Wansbrough seems to link the emerging Islam to the Ebionites Is it true or no? We don't know

However, Gerald Hawting wrote in his review of Wansbrough's Sectarian Milieu: "a religious elite responsible for elaborating the beginnings of Islam in the sectarian setting was to establish a relationship with the originally religiously undefined Arab state so that gradually Islam became a symbol of association with that state and the early history of the state came to be defined as the early history of Islam the earliest Islamic literature that has come down to us typified by its concern with polemics and issues of authority is a result of that process."

So we have two tracks: The profane represented by the polity and the invading Arab armies and the sacred represented by those that won those debates in the Sectarian Milieu and in this case the Muslim Ulama (aka "Muslim Rabbis" and "Muslim Mobeds" and may be some Nestorians) The union of these two tracks led to Islam and the rest is history

When did this union of the sacred and profane take place? The Abbasids' Baghdad

Islam and the Qur'an have nothing to do with Mecca or Arabia! They are creations from the civilized Middle East in late antiquity

Submitting....

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