A History of the Jews of Arabia: From Ancient Times to Their Eclipse Under Islam

Gordon D. Newby, Author, Frederick Mathewson Denny, Editor University of South Carolina Press $34.95 (177p) ISBN 978-0-87249-558-6
The Jews of Arabia have maintained a thriving, vital Diaspora community for centuries. While Muhammad was spreading Islam around Medina in the seventh century, there were Arabian Jewish merchants, poets, pastoral nomads, farmers, sculptors and warriors. One of the findings of this scholarly synthesis is that Arabian Jewry influenced Muhammad's developing vision of his prophetic mission. Newby, associate professor of history at North Carolina State University, focuses attention on the mystical strain among Arabian Jews; one sect, for example, apparently believed in an anthropomorphized creator-angel, while another fervently awaited an apocalyptic day of reckoning. We are given an interesting portrait of Dhu Nuwas, a sixth-century Jewish ruler in Yemen who died at the hands of Abyssinian invaders. By identifying a body of shared experiences of Jews and Muslims, Newby's dry study gives hope for peaceful coexistence in the Middle East. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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