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Administration and Political Elites, Muslim Scholars and Learning in Palestine during the Early Islamic Period (634-1099)

Prof. Amikam Elad


The aim of the research project is to create a broader, deeper, inclusive picture of the administrative and political elites, the scholars and the learning in Palestine in the Early Islamic period. The geographic realm covers the southern districts of “Greater Syria” (al-Shām) that is the districts of Filastīn, al-Urdunn and part of Dimashq (Damascus) district. The political, cultural and religious transition which took place in Palestine and its surroundings during the mid-7th century was one of the most significant in the Middle Eastern history. During this transitional period, the region which so far had been under Byzanto-Christian control came under Islamic rule and cultural influence.

Despite the many studies devoted to this multi-faceted transition, none have so far conducted an in-depth interdisciplinary study. The historical research of the period is by itself fraught with methodological problems raised by the nature of the different sources involved and remains far from fully utilizing the countless data available.

This research takes advantage of the now available digitalized databases which includes a significant proportion of the relevant Early Islamic sources. The phenomenon of the compact disks and websites is revolutionary with respect to data and its interpretation. It enables, for the first time, collecting the majority of evidence for this project.

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