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Daily Archives: January 31, 2014

Beyond “Tolerance” and “Intolerance”: Deconstructing the Myth of the Islamic Golden Age

Introduction

Like many other concepts that shape our understanding of medieval history, the idea of a “Muslim Golden Age” is a historiographical construct. It promotes the notion that, until at least the early thirteenth century, the Muslim world experienced an era of unprecedented stability, prosperity, and cultural production. More particularly, it emphasizes that the period between roughly 800 and 1200 (sometimes extended to 1700 in order to include the Ottomans and Mughals; the Safavids are usually ignored) can be considered to represent the pinnacle of human endeavor in the Muslim world. There are many problems with this perspective. (more…)