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Stephen James Shoemaker
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR 97403-5219)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 8/31/2004

The Prophet’s Palestinian Campaign: Reconsidering the Date of Muhammad’s Death in View of Non-Islamic Sources

This study investigates a matter of fundamental significance in the "quest for the historical Muhammad" and for understanding the formation of the Islamic tradition. It examines the divergent accounts of the end of Muhammad’s life reported by Islamic and non-Islamic sources written during the first 150 years of Islam: while Islamic sources report Muhammad’s death at Medina in 632, the Christian sources regularly describe Muhammad as surviving to lead the Islamic conquest of the Near East, beginning in 633-4. This project scrutinizes all of the pertinent sources and concludes that the non-Islamic accounts are trustworthy, while there is reason to suspect the historical reliability of the traditional Islamic accounts.