The Emergence of an Islamic Culture in Early Abbasid Iraq: The Role of non-Arab Contributions

With the spread of Islam in the early middle ages, Arabic became the lingua franca of the empire ruled by Muslims, which was populated also by large numbers of Jews and Christians. Islamic rule provided the umbrella under which various cultural traditions could merge to form a new, imperial culture,...

Author: Drews, Wolfram
Document types:Part of book
Media types:Text
Publication date:2013
Date of publication on miami:30.05.2017
Modification date:30.05.2017
Edition statement:[Electronic ed.]
Source:Höh, Marc von der; Jaspert, Nikolas; Oesterle, Jenny Rahel (Hrsg.): Cultural Brokers at Mediterranean Courts in the Middle Ages (Mittelmeerstudien 1), Paderborn: Fink Schöningh, 2013
Subjects:Exzellenzcluster Religion und Politik; mittelalterliche Geschichte; transkulturelle Geschichte; Islam und Christentum; Übersetzungsbewegung; religiöse Minderheiten; Grenzgänger zwischen Kulturen Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics; medieval history; transcultural history; Islam and Christianity; translation movement; religious minorities; cultural brokers
DDC Subject:180: Antike, mittelalterliche und östliche Philosophie
200: Religion
900: Geschichte
Legal notice:Die Veröffentlichung erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung des Verlags Fink Schöningh.
License:InC 1.0
Language:English
Format:PDF document
ISBN:978-3-7705-5364-8
URN:urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-62219606960
Permalink:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-62219606960
Digital documents:artikel_drews_2013_emergence.pdf

With the spread of Islam in the early middle ages, Arabic became the lingua franca of the empire ruled by Muslims, which was populated also by large numbers of Jews and Christians. Islamic rule provided the umbrella under which various cultural traditions could merge to form a new, imperial culture, which comprised all peoples of various faiths and different ethnic backgrounds living within the dār al-Islām. One of the characteristic features of early Abbasid culture is the prominence of intellectual figures of non-Arab background. Important contributions were made by translators from Pahlavi, but also by East Syrian Christians. The most famous institution associated with the transmission and cultivation of learning is the House of Wisdom (bayt al-ḥikma). The Abbasid court stimulated numerous translations from Greek and Persian into Arabic. The translation movement received its impetus from the Abbasid power centre, drawing non-Muslims into its orbit, who participated in and contributed to the emergence of an Islamic culture, not only by translating texts into Arabic, but also by stimulating interfaith dialogues, which contributed to the emergence of an Islamic apologetic theology (kalām). The imperial culture of early Abbasid Iraq was nurtured and shaped by a synthesis of different traditions achieved by cultural brokers at the imperial centre of the Islamic caliphate.