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Through a Glass Brightly: Christian Communities in Palestine and Arabia During the Early Islamic Period

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the churches of Umm al-Rasas and the monastic-palace complex of Qasr al-Hallabat in Jordan and discusses architecture and decoration in Palestine and Arabia during the Umayyad and early Abbasid periods. At least fourteen churches were constructed, reconstructed, or renovated between the late sixth and late eighth centuries, as attested by inscriptions in the mosaic pavements of the buildings. The chapter highlights the role played by the Ghassanids as important intermediaries in this process, and this has recently gained attention in scholarship. The sites considered in the chapter attest to an environment of continuity and stability in Palestine and Arabia during the early Islamic period. The renovation and rebuilding that occurred well into the Umayyad period in the Complex of St Stephen at Umm al-Rasas suggest conditions of prosperity and tolerance for the Christian community.

Keywords: Arabia; Christian community; Complex of St Stephen; early Islamic period; Ghassanids; Jordan; Palestine; Qasr al-Hallabat; Umm al-Rasas



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