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Seeking Justice Among The 'Outsiders': Christian Recourse To Non-Ecclesiastical Judicial Systems Under Early Islam

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the phenomenon of Christian recourse to non-ecclesiastical judicial systems during the first few centuries following the Muslim conquest. This phenomenon not only alludes to a reality of legal diversity but also to the social heterogeneity that has characterized Near Eastern societies long before the Arab takeover. Through the adoption of the legal-anthropological paradigm of legal pluralism and the examination of West Syrian legal sources, the chapter seeks to identify the social agenda of West Syrian ecclesiastical leaders. Much of the discussion revolves around the term outsiders (barraye), and attempts to delineate the term's various meanings within the legal discourse. It analyses by surveying some of the late antique origins of Christian judicial systems, as well as some contemporary demands made by Christian religious leaders for judicial exclusiveness. It then focuses on a few points of context essential for understanding the state of ecclesiastical judiciary under Muslim rule.

Keywords: Christian recourse; Islam; judicial systems; Justice; Muslim rule; non-ecclesiastical; outsiders (barrāyē); religious leaders; West Syrian legal sources



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