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Seeing Islam as Others Saw It

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Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam from the Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam series is a book by scholar of the Middle East Robert G Hoyland

The book contains an extensive collection of Greek, Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Latin, Jewish, Persian, and Chinese primary sources written between 620 and 780 AD in the Middle East, which provides a survey of eyewitness accounts of historical events during the formative period of Islam

The book presents the evidentiary text of over 120 seventh century manuscripts, one of which the manuscript of Thomas the Presbyter contains what Hoyland believes is the "first explicit reference to Muhammad in a non-Muslim source:"1

In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 7 February 634 at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhammad tayyaye d-Mhmt in Palestine twelve miles 19 km east of Gaza The Romans fled, leaving behind the patrician Bryrdn,2 whom the Arabs killed Some 4000 poor villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans The Arabs ravaged the whole region

According to Michael G Morony, Hoyland emphasizes the parallels between Muslim and non-Muslim accounts of history emphasizing that non-Muslim texts often explain the same history as the Muslim ones even though they were recorded earlier He concludes "Hoyland's treatment of the materials is judicious, honest, complex, and extremely useful"3


  • 1 Sources
    • 11 Greek sources
    • 12 West Syrian, Coptic and Armenian sources
    • 13 East Syrian sources
    • 14 Latin sources
    • 15 Chinese sources
  • 2 Apocalypses and visions
    • 21 Syriac texts
    • 22 Greek texts
    • 23 Hebrew texts
    • 24 Persian texts
    • 25 Muslim Arabic texts
  • 3 Martyrologies
    • 31 Greek texts
    • 32 Armenian texts
    • 33 Syriac texts
  • 4 Chronicles and histories
    • 41 Syriac texts
    • 42 Latin texts
    • 43 Greek texts
  • 5 Apologies and disputations
    • 51 Syriac texts
    • 52 Christian Arabic texts
    • 53 Jewish texts
    • 54 Persian texts
    • 55 Latin texts
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References and notes


Greek sourcesedit

  • A Christian Apologist of 634
  • John Moschus
  • Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem
  • Pope Martin I
  • Maximus the Confessor
  • Anti-Jewish Polemicists of the Seventh Century
  • The Miracles of S Demetrius and S George
  • Anastasius of Sinai
  • Patriarch Germanus
  • Cosmas of Jerusalem
  • Stephen the Sabaite
  • John the Eremopolite
  • A Greek-Coptic Papyrus
  • Berlin Papyrus no 10677
  • Timothy the Stylite

West Syrian, Coptic and Armenian sourcesedit

  • Fragment on the Arab Conquests
  • Thomas the Presbyter
  • Homily on the Child Saints of Babylon
  • Gabriel of Qartmin
  • Sebeos, Bishop of the Bagratunis
  • Benjamin I, Patriarch of Alexandria
  • A Maronite Chronicler
  • George of Resh'aina
  • Daniel, Bishop of Edessa
  • Athanasius of Balad, Patriarch of Antioch
  • Isaac, Patriarch of Alexandria
  • John, Bishop of Nikiu
  • Theodotus of Amida
  • Jacob of Edessa
  • Zacharias, Bishop of Sakha
  • Simeon of the Olives
  • A Coptic Papyrus
  • Theophilus of Alexandria
  • A Letter of Bishop Jonah

East Syrian sourcesedit

  • Isho'yahb III of Adiabene
  • A Chronicler of Khuzistan
  • Rabban Hormizd
  • John bar Penkaye
  • Hnanisho' the Exegete
  • John of Daylam
  • Isho'bokht, Metropolitan of Fars
  • The Abbots of the Convent of Sabrisho'
  • Isho'dnah of Basra
  • Thomas of Marga

Latin sourcesedit

  • Fredegar, a Frankish Chronicler
  • Arculf
  • Willibald
  • Later Testimonia
  • Historia miscella
  • Morienus the Greek

Chinese sourcesedit

  • T'ung tien
  • The Official T'ang History
  • Ts'e-fu yuan-kuei

Apocalypses and visionsedit

Syriac textsedit

  • Ps-Ephraem
  • Ps-Methodius
  • The Edessene Ps-Methodius and John the Little
  • Bahira
  • Ps-Ezra
  • Copto-Arabic Texts
  • Ps-Shenute
  • Ps-Athanasius
  • Samuel of Qalamoun and Pisentius of Qift
  • Coptic Daniel, XIV Vision
  • Arabic Apocalypse of Peter/Book of the Rolls

Greek textsedit

  • Ps-Methodius, Greek Translation
  • Greek Daniel, First Vision
  • The Vision of Enoch the Just
  • Stephen of Alexandria
  • The Andreas Salos Apocalypse

Hebrew textsedit

  • The Secrets of Rabbi Simon ben Yohai
  • Pesiqta rabbati
  • The Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer
  • Jewish Apocalypse on the Umayyads
  • Signs of the Messiah
  • On That Day
  • A Judaeo-Byzantine Daniel

Persian textsedit

  • Bahman Yasht
  • Jamasp Namag
  • Bundahishn
  • Denkard
  • A Pahlavi Ballad on the End of Times
  • The Prophecy of Rostam
  • A Judaeo-Persian Daniel

Muslim Arabic textsedit

  • Signs of the Hour
  • `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr and the Mahdi
  • Tiberius, Son of Justinian
  • An Apocalyptic Chronicle


Greek textsedit

  • Sixty Martyrs of Gaza
  • George the Black
  • A Christian Arab of Sinai
  • Peter of Capitolias
  • Sixty Pilgrims in Jerusalem
  • Elias of Damascus
  • Romanus the Neomartyr
  • Copto-Arabic Texts
  • Menas the Monk
  • Thomas, Bishop of Damascus

Armenian textsedit

  • David of Dwin
  • Vahandisambiguation needed

Syriac textsedit

  • Michael the Sabaite
  • `Abd al-Masih al-Najrani al-Ghassani
  • A Muslim at Diospolis

Chronicles and historiesedit

Syriac textsedit

  • Theophilus of Edessa and the Syriac
  • The Zuqnin Chronicler
  • The Ehnesh Inscription
  • Dionysius of Tellmahre
  • The Chronicles of 819 and 846
  • Elias of Nisibis

Latin textsedit

  • Byzantine-Arab Chronicle of 741
  • Hispanic Chronicle of 754

Greek textsedit

  • Theophanes the Confessor
  • Patriarch Nicephorus
  • A Short Chronology ad annum 818
  • Armenian Texts
  • Christian Arabic Texts
  • Agapius, Bishop of Manbij
  • Eutychius of Alexandria
  • The Chronicle of Siirt
  • The History of the Patriarchs
  • Jewish Texts
  • Samaritan Texts
  • Derivative Accounts

Apologies and disputationsedit

Syriac textsedit

  • Patriarch John I and an Arab Commander
  • A Monk of Beth Hale and an Arab Notable
  • Timothy I
  • Bahira
  • Greek Texts
  • John of Damascus
  • The Correspondence of Leo III
  • and `Umar II

Christian Arabic textsedit

  • Fi tathlith Allah al-wahid
  • Papyrus Schott Reinhard no 438
  • Masa'il wa-ajwiba `aqliya wa-ilahiya

Jewish textsedit

  • The Ten Wise Jews
  • Targum Pseudo-Jonathan

Persian textsedit

Latin textsedit

  • Istoria de Mahomet
  • Tultusceptru de libro domni Metobii
  • John the Stylite
  • Abjuration
  • Ms Mingana 184

See alsoedit

  • Islamic studies by author

References and notesedit

  1. ^ Hoyland, Seeing Islam As Others Saw It, p 120
  2. ^ The name "Bryrdn" is unclear; see, eg, "Biblical and Near Eastern essays: studies in honour of Kevin J Cathcart", ISBN 0-8264-6690-7, p 283
  3. ^ Michael G Morony International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol 31, No 3 Aug, 1999, pp 452-453

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