Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East
Ed. by Heidemann, Stefan / Hagen, Gottfried / Kaplony, Andreas / Matthee, Rudi
2 Issues per year
CiteScore 2016: 0.21
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.195
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.682
First Century Sources for the Life of Muḥammad? A Debate
Abstract: In a recent issue of Der Islam, Stephen R. Shoemaker has contributed an extensive article in which he challenged the processes and findings of a number of studies conducted by Gregor Schoeler, Harald Motzki, and Andreas Görke. The following article offers a response to his findings. Whereas the three authors argued the case for the possibility that authentic traditions of the first century of the Hijra can be reconstructed, Shoemaker holds the contrary point of view, as already stated in the abstract of his study: “While az-Zuhrī and occasionally other authorities of his generation can often be persuasively linked with the tradition in question, the reach back to ’Urwa is generally not convincing …” Yet he is not entirely consistent in his views. In his study several statements are to be found that in fact support the views of the authors whose studies he critically examines. Overall, Shoemaker makes more concessions towards the possible authenticity of some of the material traced back to the first century than any “sceptic” prior to him. Unfortunately, Shoemaker’s criticism and rendering of the three authors’ studies is fraught with misunderstandings and inconsistencies. They are the focus of attention in this critical review. In addition, hitherto unknown traditions as well as sources that Shoemaker mentions without quoting or paraphrasing them will be presented. This material also challenges a number of Shoemaker’s key conclusions.
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