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The Christians Whose Force is Hard: Non-Ecclesiastical Judicial Authorities in the Early Islamic Period

The Christians Whose Force is Hard: Non-Ecclesiastical Judicial Authorities in the Early Islamic Period

By Uriel Simonsohn

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 53 (2010)

Abstract: This paper examines the context in which church leaders in the regions of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, during the first few centuries after the Arab conquest, were objecting to the appeal of the their coreligionists to judicial authorities outside ecclesiastical control. Rather than assuming that from the outset of the Islamic conquest Muslim judges served as immediate judicial alternatives, the paper shows that, at least in the early Islamic period, church leaders were often aiming their exhortations towards Christians who sought the authority of other Christian figures from outside ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

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