- John Wansbrough
John Edward Wansbrough (
February 19, 1928– June 10, 2002) was an American historian who taught at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies(SOAS). Wansbrough's emphasis was on the critique of traditional accounts of the origins of Islam. Born in Peoria, Illinois, Wansbrough completed his studies at Harvard University, and spent the rest of his academic career at SOAS.
He caused a furor in the 1970s when his research on early Islamic manuscripts, including the analysis of the repeated use of monotheistic
Judeo-Christianimagery found in the Qur'anled him to posit that the rise of Islamwas a mutation of what was originally a Judeo-Christian sect trying to spread in Arablands. As time evolved the Judeo-Christian scriptures were adapted to an Arab perspective and mutated into what became the Qur'an which was developed over centuries with contributions from various Arab tribal sources. Wansbrough's research suggests that a great deal of the traditional history of Islam appeared to be a fabrication of later generations seeking to forge and justify a unique religious identity. Within this context, the character of Muhammadcould be seen as a manufactured myth created to provide the Arab tribes with their own Arab version of the Judeo-Christian prophets.
He died at
Books by John Wansbrough
* Quranic Studies 1977
This line of research was investigated in Egypt by
Nasr Abu Zaydbut he was expelled from Egypt because of his conclusions about the Qur'an. Students and scholars who share Wansbrough's outlook include:
* Michael Cook
* Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation (Oxford, 1977)
* The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition Of Islamic Salvation History (Oxford, 1978)
* Res Ipsa Loquitur: History and Mimesis (1987)
* Lingua Franca in the Mediterranean (Curzon Press 1996)
* [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/relrpt/stories/s591483.htm John Wansborough remembered] , "The Religion Report",
Radio National(Australia), 26 June 2002.
* [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/burton.html Islamic-Awareness, Burton, Wansbrough & The 'Logic' Of Christian Missionaries]
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