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Robert G. Hoyland

robert g. hoyland on tom holland, robert g. hoyland
Robert G Hoyland is a scholar and historian, specializing in the medieval history of the Middle East He is a former student of historian Patricia Crone and was a Leverhulme Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford He is currently Professor of Late Antique and Early Islamic Middle Eastern History at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World,1 having previously been Professor of Islamic history at the Oriental Institute of the University of Oxford2 and a Professor of history at the University of St Andrews and UCLA


  • 1 Research
  • 2 Publications
    • 21 Books
    • 22 Selected chapters and articles
  • 3 References


Hoyland's research interests include: relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the pre-modern Midde East; the links between identity, religion and ethnicity in particular, the forging of an Arab identity in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic period; the transmission of knowledge from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the reforging of that knowledge by Muslim scholars; the change in material culture from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the emergence of an Islamic style of art and architecture; and the use of Arabic inscriptions for understanding Islamic history and culture

Hoyland's best-known academic work Seeing Islam As Others Saw It is a contribution to early Islamic historiography, being a survey of non-Muslim eye witness accounts of that period3 Hoyland also received much attention with his work In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire 2014 in which he questions the traditional Islamic view of the Early Muslim conquests According to Hoyland, Islam still had to evolve, so he prefers to call the conquests Arabic rather than Islamic conquests4



  • Seeing Islam as Others Saw it A survey and analysis of the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian writings on Islam Darwin; Princeton, 1997
  • Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam Routledge; London, 2001
  • Muslims and Others in early Islamic society Ashgate; Aldershot, 2004
  • ed with Dr Philip Kennedy, Islamic Reflections and Arabic Musings Oxbow; Oxford, 2004
  • with Brian Gilmour: Swords and Swordmakers in Medieval Islam Oxbow; Oxford, 2004
  • with Simon Swain et al, Seeing the face, seeing the soul The art of physiognomy in the Classical and Islamic Worlds Oxford University Press, 2007
  • In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire Oxford University Press; Oxford, 2014

Selected chapters and articlesedit

  • ‘The content and context of early Arabic inscriptions', Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 21 1997
  • 'The earliest christian writings on Muhammad: an appraisal' in H Motzki ed, The Biography of Muhammad Leiden, 2000
  • 'Epigraphy', 10,000-word entry in Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an Leiden, 2002
  • ‘Language and Identity: the twin histories of Arabic and Aramaic', Scripta Israelica Classica 23 2003
  • "History, Fiction and Authorship in the first centuries of Islam"; Writing and Representation in Medieval Islam; Julia Bray ed; Routledge; 16-46 2006
  • "New Documentary Texts and the Early Islamic State"; Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies; 693:395-416 2006


  1. ^ "Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University" Retrieved 21 January 2015 
  2. ^ "Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford" Retrieved May 27, 2011 
  3. ^ Hoyland, Robert G 1997 Seeing Islam as others saw it: A survey and evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian writings on early Islam Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press ISBN 0-87850-125-8 Retrieved May 27, 2011 
  4. ^ Dr Youssef Choueiri, Review of In God’s Path Reviews in History No 1780

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