| Burke Q1

Burke Q1


Edmund Burke, III


I have taught Islamic civilization to California undergraduate History majors for 40 years. I have used the Marshall Hodgson’s 3 volume Venture of Islam, lately supplemented with Ira Lapidus’ History of Islamic Societies. Like Hodgson, I am also a world historian. Once I encountered Hodgson’s opus, I realized instinctively the correctness of his approach: any history worthy of the name must give equal wait to all periods of Islamic history, and must also consistently seek to locate it in the larger Eurasian contexts of which it was a part. Hodgson’s 100 page methodological introduction to Vol. 1 of The Venture remains essential reading.

I would add that we need to be aware of the connections between the Golden Age paradigm and the “Rise of the West” paradigm, according to which the course of Western history can be seen as a continually upward sloping line linking the Greeks the Renaissance and Modern Times. For Hodgson, this line is an optical elusion. The way forward, he suggests, lies in inserting both the history of the West and of the lands of Islam in their world historical contexts.


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