Ahmad Al-Jallad

Nov 17, 2022

The Religion and Rituals of the Nomads of Pre-Islamic Arabia

A Reconstruction Based on the Safaitic Inscriptions

Brill 2022

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The Religion and Rituals of the Nomads of Pre-Islamic Arabia: A Reconstruction Based on the Safaitic Inscriptions (Brill, 2022) by Ahmad al-Jallad presents evidence for religious identity and ritual practices among the Safaitic-writing nomads of pre-Islamic Arabia. For this evidence, al-Jallad relies on a large corpus of rock-carved inscriptions in the Safaitic language. Unlike Islamic-period literary sources, this material was produced by practitioners of traditional Arabian religion; the inscriptions are eyewitnesses to the religious life of Arabian nomads prior to the spread of Judaism and Christianity across Arabia. Al-Jallad reconstructs this world using the original words of its inhabitants, interpreted through comparative philology, pre-Islamic and Islamic-period literary sources, and the archaeological context. In this episode we discuss the lifestyles, worldviews, belief systems, languages, and gender and social norms of the nomadic peoples of pre-Islamic Arabia based on the epigraphic evidence.

Maggie Freeman is a PhD student in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.

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Maggie Freeman

Maggie Freeman is a PhD student in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.

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