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Magic Circles

V.G. Kiernan, 4 May 1989

Jewish History: Essays in Honour of Chimen Abramsky 
edited by Ada Rapoport-Albert and Steven Zipperstein.
Peter Halban, 700 pp., £30, January 1989, 1 870015 19 3
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A History of Islamic Societies 
by Ira Lapidus.
Cambridge, 1002 pp., £35, July 1988, 0 521 22552 3
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... been commissioned, instead of the customary platoon: a rare and high distinction, which Professor Lapidus’s book justifies to a very impressive degree. Its thousand pages are organised in three parts: from the origins to about 1200 AD, the further spread of Islam from the tenth to the 19th centuries, and the two last centuries when nearly all the Muslim ...

More than a Religion

Malise Ruthven: ‘What Is Islam?’, 7 September 2016

What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic 
by Shahab Ahmed.
Princeton, 609 pp., £29.95, November 2015, 978 0 691 16418 2
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... books and miniatures. Ahmed takes issue with Hodgson and the scholars who followed him – Ira Lapidus, Chase Robinson, Aziz al Azmeh et al. There is no one ‘Islam’, he says; the word is so ambiguous, governing so many variations in religious practice and such a multitude of societies, as to be useless as a term of historical ...

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