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Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World

Christian C. Sahner

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Princeton University Pres
01 September 2020
Religion & beliefs; Religious intolerance, persecution & conflict; History of religion; Christianity; Islam
How did the medieval Middle East transform from a majority-Christian world to a majority-Muslim world, and what role did violence play in this process?

Christian Martyrs under Islam explains how Christians across the early Islamic caliphate slowly converted to the faith of the Arab conquerors and how small groups of individuals rejected this faith through dramatic acts of resistance, including apostasy and blasphemy. Using previously untapped sources in a range of Middle Eastern languages, Christian Sahner introduces an unknown group of martyrs who were executed at the hands of Muslim officials between the seventh and ninth centuries CE. Found in places as diverse as Syria, Spain, Egypt, and Armenia, they include an alleged descendant of Muhammad who converted to Christianity, high-ranking Christian secretaries of the Muslim state who viciously insulted the Prophet, and the children of mixed marriages between Muslims and Christians. Sahner argues that Christians never experienced systematic persecution under the early caliphs, and indeed, they remained the largest portion of the population in the greater Middle East for centuries after the Arab conquest. Still, episodes of ferocious violence contributed to the spread of Islam within Christian societies, and memories of this bloodshed played a key role in shaping Christian identity in the new Islamic empire. Christian Martyrs under Islam examines how violence against Christians ended the age of porous religious boundaries and laid the foundations for more antagonistic Muslim-Christian relations in the centuries to come.
By:   Christian C. Sahner
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780691203133
ISBN 10:   069120313X
Pages:   360
Publication Date:   01 September 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Christian C. Sahner is associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Oxford and a fellow of St Cross College. He is the author of Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present.

Reviews for Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World

The Spectator's Books of the Year Shortlisted for the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize Finalist for the Award for Excellence in the Historical Study of Religion, American Academy of Religion


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