The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Correspondence keeps getting dated to 720 AD

Correspondence of Leo and 'Umar claims to date to the reign of, er, Leo and 'Umar - the late 710s AD. Some scholars, like Arthur Jeffery and then Robert Hoyland, have argued that it is a later composite.

I'd argued (perhaps not well) in "The Scriptures of Abû Turâb": The Christian apologist in the Correspondence has inherited a more primitive Umayyad critique of ʿAlî - in comparison to the more-careful swipes against ʿAlî's family, which Zuhrî put out under Caliph Hishâm. (The Umayyads raised contemporary complaints about the codex of Ibn Masʿûd; the Correspondence omits these, so I didn't discuss them there.) My essay constrained the anti-ʿAlî part of the work prior to that Caliph. Which is all my work cared about, at the time - since I was going to deal with possible Shîʿite (and Masʿûdî) variants in later essays. Wherever I cite the Correspondence for any other reason, like on topic of the Black(?) Stone, it's in the style of Neo-Weasel Impressionism.

But now braver souls are discussing the whole thing. To that, we (well, Ian Morris's readers) have two essays arguing for the circa 720 AD date - independent of me (not a surprise) and independent of each other (more to the point): Greenwood and Palombo.

Those two disagree on the important question of what freakin' language the original was in. (As noted I have consistently ducked out of any debate over the whole text.) They know the language was not Armenian or Latin. Beyond that, Greenwood says Greek and Palombo says Arabic.

posted by Zimri on 16:40 | link | 0 comments

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