​Abbasid Id​entities​

The division of the Middle East into different religious communities has long been seen as a distinctive feature of the region. But the relationship between the caliphal authorities and different religious communities cannot simply be seen as a straightforward application of the Quranic message. Studies of different communities have often been separated from one another and from the political and economic history of the period, and have often prioritised questions of theology or Islamic law. To put it another way, this creates a danger that we examine Christians only as Christians or Jews only as Jews, etc., without considering other aspects to their identity, or that we exaggerate the significance of clerical elites. Here we aim to pose the same questions of group differentiation to different groups within the same project, to help us to identify common variables and to integrate group histories with those of the wider society.

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