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Seeking Justice among the 'Outsiders': Christian Recourse to Non-Ecclesiastical Judicial Systems under Early Islam

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The phenomenon of Christian recourse to non-ecclesiastical judicial systems during the first few centuries following the Muslim conquest is at the core of this paper. 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 paper seeks to identify the social agenda of West Syrian ecclesiastical leaders. Much of the discussion revolves around the term 'outsiders', barrāyē, and attempts to delineate the term's various meanings within the legal discourse.

Affiliations: 1: Leiden University;, Email:


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