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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the characteristics of early Islam in Late Antiquity. Two approaches have emerged to conceptualize the rise and formation of Islam—either as a child of Late Antiquity, conceived and nourished wholly by the late antique world; or as a force that was formed outside the late antique world (in Arabia) from outside (Arabian) ingredients and only entered that world once it was fairly well developed and so was only marginally influenced by it. The latter view, the "out of Arabia" approach, is the traditional Muslim one and it is accepted by most Western scholars. However, the former view, the "born of Late Antiquity" approach, is gaining support, particularly among late antique historians, since it widens the scope of their field to include a new geographical region, a new religious phenomenon, and a longer span of time.

Keywords: early Islam, religion, Late Antiquity, Arabia, Middle East

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