Mun’im Sirry teaches in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, USA. He is the author of Scriptural Polemics: The Qur’an and Other Religions (2014), and editor of New Trends in Qur’anic Studies: Text, Context, and Interpretation (2019) and, with Peter Casarella, Finding Beauty in the Other: Theological Reflections across Religious Traditions (2019). Currently, he serves as co-editor of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. He is also coordinator of the “Contending Modernities” Research Group on Indonesia.
What evidence do we have to reconstruct the origins of Islam? On the basis of what sources can the first century of Islam be accessed? Why do historians of early Islam consider the literary sources of Islamic origins to be so problematic? How is the problem of early Islamic history framed? This book addresses these critical questions by discussing various approaches to the problem of reconstructing Islamic origins. In a spirit of welcoming diverse perspectives and encouraging healthy scholarly debate, it explores different, even conflicting modern theories about the emergence of Islam through various case studies, including recent debates on the Qur’an, the biography of the Prophet, and early conquest narratives. A broad spectrum of both traditionalist and revisionist scholarship is critically examined with the purpose of illuminating not only how modern scholars differ, but also what they have in common.