The Body of Mahomet: Pierre Bayle on War, Sex, and Islam

TitleThe Body of Mahomet: Pierre Bayle on War, Sex, and Islam
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
Authorsvan der Lugt, Mara
JournalJournal of the History of Ideas
Date Published01/2017

This article discusses Pierre Bayle’s article on Muhammad in his Dictionnaire historique et critique (1696), especially with regard to its two main themes: the role of force in the establishment of Islam, and sexual morality within Islam. Both themes had been a traditional part of Christian apologetics for centuries, but Bayle takes them up in an unconventional way, proposing to write the history of Islam objectively rather than fitting it into a Christian story. This article will discuss these and other themes in Bayle’s "Mahomet" and place it within the wider historiographical context of the early modern debate on Islam.

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