Muhammad and the Golden Bough

Muhammad and the Golden Bough

Reconstructing Arabian Myth
Jaroslav Stetkevych
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/22/2000
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21413-3
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A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2000

Now in Paperback!
Muhammad and the Golden Bough
Reconstructing Arabic Myth
Jaroslav Stetkevych

Connects pre-Islamic Arabian myth to world mythic traditions.

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book

Stetkevych succeeds brilliantly in reconstructing the myth of the destruction of the Thamud, an ancient people of north Arabia.... This book will add a new dimension to the study of Near Eastern and Mediterranean myth and legend." —Choice

Stetkevych’s critical and wide-ranging perspective reveals a wealth of insights. This book is must reading for everyone in the field of religion and one of the most important works in recent years." —Religious Studies Review

The graceful writing, interdisciplinary scope, and hermeneutical depth should make it compelling reading for those interested in the mythos of Arabia before and at the birth of Islam and in comparable myths in neighboring civilizations." —MESA Bulletin

It opens up new dimensions of how to think about, how to study, how to see interrelationships in the ancient Arabian world and their connections with the Mediterranean world in general.... a stunning piece of work." —Chronicle of Higher Education

Through its development of a methodology for analyzing the mythic and folkloric traditions of pre-Islamic Arabia and the process of their incorporation into Islamic myth and Qur’anic texts, Muhammad and the Golden Bough offers compelling insights for students of Islam, comparative religion, and cultural anthropology. By linking Arabic myth with a broad range of ancient and classical texts—including Gilgamesh, Homer, and the Hebrew Bible—the book makes a provocative contribution to biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies, classics, and comparative literature.

Jaroslav Stetkevych is Professor Emeritus of Arabic Literature at the University of Chicago. He is author of The Modern Arabic Literary Language: Lexical and Stylistic Developments and The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reclaiming Arabian Myth
1. The Textual Puzzle
2. The Thamudic Backdrop to the Puzzle
3. The First Answer to the Puzzle: The Raid on Tabuk
4. The Totem and the Taboo
5. Poeticizing the Thamud
6. Demythologizing the Thamud
7. The Scream
8. The Arabian Golden Bough and Kindred Branches: Frazer, Vergil, Homer, and Gilgamesh