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Before and After MuhammadThe First Millennium Refocused$
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Garth Fowden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158532

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158532.001.0001

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A New Periodization

A New Periodization

The First Millennium

(p.49) 3 A New Periodization
Before and After Muhammad

Garth Fowden

Princeton University Press

This chapter proposes the First Millennium as an alternative or parallel periodization, arguing that it has the basic advantage of embracing the “long” late Antiquity advocated by Peter Brown: the formation of Christianity and the birth of Islam. Instead of viewing the centuries after 250 as primarily an Age of Empires, the chapter foregrounds pre-600 the two major monotheistic traditions, rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, as they move toward a mature form still readily recognizable today. It then adds Islam, gradually emergent from soon after 600. All three of these major, seminal developments are unique to their period, without parallel in any other. Aside from these three major monotheisms, the chapter shows that Greek philosophy, Roman law, Mazdaism, and Manicheism attained intellectual and institutional maturation in the First Millennium.

Keywords:   monotheism, First Millennium, late Antiquity, Christianity, Islam, rabbinic Judaism, Greek philosophy, Roman law, Mazdaism, Manicheism

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