consultation with President Wise and Dr. Kohut, I chose this subject for
the Lectures on the Stroock Foundation, I did so partly because of my
belief, long held, that some important matters relating to Mohammed and
the quran Koran are in need of a fresh examination; partly also in the
conviction that the Arabian prophet and his marvellous book are in
themselves of such great interest that even a somewhat technical
discussion may be given a hearing by the layman. The subject has a
certain timeliness by reason of the many recent investigations in its
field, and also because of the presence of new material relating to
conditions in ancient
conclusions which are given especial prominence in the Lectures, the
following may be mentioned.
The Jewish colonies
in the Hijaz were established by a very considerable migration, chiefly
the sixth century B.C. Both Dozy and August Müller saw the plain
evidence of a large migration of Jews from Palestine into northern
Arabia, but neither was able to find a convincing reason for such a
movement. A most suitable occasion is now seen to have been given by a
remarkable episode in neo-Babylonian history.
The orthodox Muslim
dogma that Mohammed was an unschooled man is utterly untenable, though
even the most recent treatises continue to give it some credence.
The Arabian prophet
is less mysterious than he has generally been regarded (every great
genius, to be sure, is more or less of a mystery). He was at all times
sincere, never doubting that the self-hypnotism which he had learned to
produce, and which he continued to practise at critical times, brought
him a divine revelation. His naiveté is commonly exaggerated by modern
interpreters and made to explain too much; very often what seems merely
childlike is the result of long reflection and wise calculation.
The doctrine that
the foundation of Islam was mainly Christian has held the field for
nearly half a century. It is completely refuted, however (as I think
will appear), partly by evidence which the quran Koran furnishes, partly
also by material gathered from pre-muhammad Mohammedan Arabia.
criticism" of the quran Koran has suffered from undue dependence on the
native commentators. Certain theories too hastily propounded by the
greatest European authorities in this field have dominated all
"islam Islåm" began
with Ishmael, the father of the Arabs. It was thus by right primarily an
Arabian religion, even though Ishmael's sons had rejected it. Mohammed's
account of the Sacrifice (Sura 37: 100 ff.) is very skilfully managed.
The Lectures were
delivered in March, 1931, but for various reasons it was not found
practicable to publish them at once. Lectures I, IV, and V are given
here very nearly in the form in which they were delivered. Lectures II
and III, as they are here published, show a very considerable expansion
and rearrangement, each containing an amount of material which is too
technical to be inflicted on a popular audience.
It is a source of
regret that some books from which I could have received instruction have
not been accessible to me. I am especially sorry that Professor
Rostovtzeff's Caravan Cities came to hand too late for my use.
The verses of the
quran Koran are cited (as is now customary) according to the numbering
in Flügel's edition. Semitic names and words generally familiar are not
transliterated exactly, but are given in their popular form. Citations
not strictly verbal are indicated by single quotation marks.
It remains to tender
hearty thanks to the Bloch Publishing Company for the care which they
have bestowed on the typography of the volume and on all the details of
CHARLES C. TORREY