The Church of the East in the ʿAbbasid Era

Authored by: David Wilmshurst

The Syriac World

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138899018
eBook ISBN: 9781315708195
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the plight of the Church of the East under Muslim rule. Wilmshurst shows how the church’s remarkable growth under the later Sassanian rulers was slowed under the Ummayads, halted under the ‘Abbasids, and reversed under the Seljuqs. Drawing a sharp distinction between the lifestyles of elite Christians and their more humble counterparts, he demonstrates how ordinary Christians were routinely treated as second-class citizens under Muslim rule. Evidence from the diocesan organisation of the Church of the East during the five centuries that followed the Arab Conquest enables the church’s decline to be charted in detail.

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