Noor lectures this Sunday look at new views on Islam’s beginnings

Fred Donner, University of Chicago professor of Near Eastern history, will deliver two talks as part of the 2010-2011 York-Noor Lecture Series: Recent Publications on Islam and Muslim Societies.

The first lecture, "How Islam Began: New Views", will take place Sunday, Feb. 6, from 3 to 5pm at the Noor Cultural Centre, 123 Wynford Dr. (Don Valley Parkway and Eglinton Avenue) in Toronto.

The second, "The Development of Early Islamic Political Vocabulary", will take place Monday, Feb. 7, from 11:30 to 2:30pm in the Vanier Senior Common Room, 010 Vanier College, Keele campus.

Right: Fred Donner

Donner‘s interests include the origins of Islam, early Islamic history and historiography, and Islamic law. His early interest took in the role of pastoral nomadic groups in Near Eastern societies, which evolved into a close examination of the sources for this period. His interest shifted to the intellectual or ideological factors that were at play in the early expansion of Islam, and to an effort to understand just what the movement was all about.

Most recently, he has turned to the study of true documents for the first century of Islam (roughly the seventh century AD), particularly Arabic papyri. A Guggenheim Fellowship allowed him to take leave in 2007-2008 to examine Arabic papyri in Paris, Oxford, Heidelberg and Vienna.

He is the author of Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam (Harvard University Press, 2010), Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing (Darwin Press, 1998), The Early Islamic Conquests (Princeton University Press, 1982) and the translation of The History of al-Tabari, vol. X: The Conquest of Arabia: The Riddah Wars (State University of New York Press, 1993). He is also editor of Al-User al-Wista, the Bulletin of Middle East Medievalists.

For more information on the York-Noor Lecture Series, visit the Noor Cultural Centre website.