Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam

Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam

Islamic History

Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam
The Originall & Progress of Mahometanism

Author(s): Nabil Matar

Reviewed by: Shahrul Hussain, Ibn Rushd Centre of Excellence for Islamic Research, Birmingham, UK



Henry Stubbe was born in 1632 in Partney, Lincolnshire. He had a rationalist disposition, furthered only by his fear of Catholic influence on the king. This led Stubbe to examine the origins of Christian theology through the writings of the earliest church fathers. Stubbe was a very talented scholar who mastered many disciplines. Later scholars writing about him described him as a classicist, polemicist, physician and philosopher; Anthony Wood described him as ‘the most noted person of his age’ and the most important critic of the early Royal Society. The book under review is an edited version of The Originall & Progress of Mohometanism by Nabil Matar, a distinguished historian and professor of English. Professor Matar situates this text within England’s theological and intellectual climate in the seventeenth century. He shows how, in order to draw a historical portrait of the Prophet Muhammad, Stubbe consulted travelogues, Latin commentaries, studies on Jewish customs and Scripture and, most importantly, Arabic chronicles, many of which were written by medieval Christian Arabs who lived amongst Muslims.

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