Robert G. Hoyland (Redirected from Robert Hoyland)

Robert G. Hoyland is a scholar and historian, specializing in the medieval history of the Middle East. He is a former student of historian Patricia Crone and was a Leverhulme Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is currently Professor of Late Antique and Early Islamic Middle Eastern History at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World,[1] having previously been Professor of Islamic history at the University of Oxford's Faculty of Oriental Studies[2] and a Professor of history at the University of St. Andrews and UCLA.


Hoyland's research interests include: relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the pre-modern Middle East; the links between identity, religion and ethnicity (in particular, the forging of an Arab identity) in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic period; the transmission of knowledge from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the reforging of that knowledge by Muslim scholars; the change in material culture from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the emergence of an Islamic style of art and architecture; and the use of Arabic inscriptions for understanding Islamic history and culture.

Hoyland's best-known academic work Seeing Islam As Others Saw It is a contribution to early Islamic historiography, being a survey of non-Muslim eyewitness accounts of that period.[3] Hoyland also received much attention with his work In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire (2014) in which he questions the traditional Islamic view of the Early Muslim conquests. According to Hoyland, Islam still had to evolve, so he prefers to call the conquests Arabic rather than Islamic conquests.[4]



  • Seeing Islam as Others Saw it. A survey and analysis of the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian writings on Islam (Darwin; Princeton, 1997).
  • Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam (Routledge; London, 2001).
  • Muslims and Others in early Islamic society (Ashgate; Aldershot, 2004).
  • ed. with Dr. Philip Kennedy, Islamic Reflections and Arabic Musings (Oxbow; Oxford, 2004).
  • with Brian Gilmour: Swords and Swordmakers in Medieval Islam (Oxbow; Oxford, 2004).
  • with Simon Swain et al., Seeing the face, seeing the soul. The art of physiognomy in the Classical and Islamic Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire (Oxford University Press; Oxford, 2014).

Selected chapters and articles

  • ‘The content and context of early Arabic inscriptions', Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 21 (1997).
  • 'The earliest christian writings on Muhammad: an appraisal' in H. Motzki ed., The Biography of Muhammad (Leiden, 2000).
  • 'Epigraphy', 10,000-word entry in Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an (Leiden, 2002).
  • ‘Language and Identity: the twin histories of Arabic and Aramaic', Scripta Israelica Classica 23 (2003).
  • "History, Fiction and Authorship in the first centuries of Islam"; Writing and Representation in Medieval Islam; Julia Bray (ed); Routledge; 16-46 (2006)
  • "New Documentary Texts and the Early Islamic State"; Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies; 69(3):395-416 (2006)


  1. ^ "Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University". Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Hoyland, Robert G. (1997). Seeing Islam as others saw it: A survey and evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian writings on early Islam. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press. ISBN 0-87850-125-8. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  4. ^ Dr Youssef Choueiri, Review of In God’s Path Reviews in History No. 1780

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