Preaching the Faith: “Storytellers” in Early Islam
Public research seminar
(American University of Beirut)
Thursday, May 25, 2017, 6-8 pm
The Islamic qāṣṣ (preacher/storyteller) has been viewed most commonly as a teller of stories, primarily religious in nature and often unreliable. Building on material of over a hundred quṣṣāṣ from the rise of Islam through the end of the Umayyad period, The Quṣṣāṣ of Early Islam (Brill, 2017) offers the most comprehensive study of the early Islamic qāṣṣ to-date. By constructing profiles of these preachers/storytellers and examining statements attributed to them, the book argue that they were not merely storytellers but in fact a complex group with diverse religious interests. Lyall Armstrong demonstrates how the style and conduct of their teaching sessions distinguished them from other teachers and preachers and explores their relationship with early religio-political movements, as well as with the Umayyad administration.
Lyall Armstrong (Ph.D. 2013, University of Chicago) is Assistant Professor of History at the American University of Beirut. His research interests are in early Islamic history and thought, particularly in Qur’ān and its commentary, Prophetic ḥadīth and storytelling.