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Chapter Summary

This is the introduction chapter of the book, which investigates if, how far, and in which ways the possible cultural, religious, and social differences between the Byzantine central power on the one hand, and peripheries of the empire on the other, could have influenced the emergence and rapid spread of Islam in the eastern provinces. The analysis focuses on theological issues in terms of cultural processes that took place between the Byzantine central power and its periphery. It focuses on versatile encounters and reciprocities between Eastern Christianity and early Islam in eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire and in Persia. The book explores the earliest encounters between Islam and Oriens Christianus against the background of study of historical Muḥammad and the Qurʾan, concentrating on the Christian and especially Ethiopic presence in Makka. It then deals with the Islamic conquests of Egypt and with the relations between Muslim and Coptic Christians.

Keywords: Byzantine Empire; Eastern Christianity; historical Muḥammad; Islam; Makka; Oriens Christianus; Persia; Qurʾan



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