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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
(Though I note that both of Gibson’s publishers, CanBooks and Independent Scholars Press, seem to be his own personal operations.)
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Where Genesis says “before any king reigned over the children of Israel”, Gibson understands this to mean before the Exodus. It’s a surprising argument:
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson repeatedly calls the leading men of Edom “sheiks”, a word that does not appear in the Bible, because he wants us to think of them as Arabs.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson says “the Horites are called Horims” in Deuteronomy 2:12. This is because he can only read translations: Ḥorim (חרים) is just the plural of Ḥori (חרי).
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
I reckon experts in Ancient Near Eastern stuff would find loads in this first half to pick apart; I can see how tenuous his arguments are, but I don’t know the state of the field much better than Gibson does.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
More from Gibson’s historical linguistics: unresearched guesswork that bends semantics and phonology all out of shape.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson must think this sort of thing is what linguists do profesionally, but he could only think that if he hasn’t read any linguistics.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
“From time immemorial the Arabs” The magic words! Everyone take a shot!🍹
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Ian D. Morris Jul 26
Replying to @iandavidmorris
I am SUPER-tickled that Gibson consults Charles Forster on the notion that Qedar = Harb. I talk about this in my article on Macoraba, pp. 23–4: To Gibson’s credit, he’s not buying it.
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Ian D. Morris
LEFT: R.B. Serjeant’s note on a translation of Ibn Ishaq. RIGHT: Gibson’s misreading of Serjeant.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson interprets a particular phrase, “the glens of Mecca and the beds of its valleys”, as meaning that there was abundant grass; neither the English nor the Arabic implies such a thing. In fact, he says, “no grass grows” in “the area around Mecca”. (It does, but sparsely.)
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
“The presence of trees and plants in ancient times can be easily tested by the presence of spores and pollens in undisturbed ancient soil. To date there is no record of trees having ever existed in ancient Mecca.” A bold claim there, supported by no citations of any kind.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson worries that the numbers of “Meccan” soldiers in our sources are too large for Mecca itself to sustain. I actually think he’s right about this, but where he takes this as evidence against Mecca as the historical location for these events, I draw very different conclusions:
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
1) Such numbers are generally exaggerated. 2) Mecca was a net importer of food. 3) Not all soldiers with Meccan/Qurashi allegiance were necessarily resident in Mecca itself.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson does not accept that cult images from “multiple religions” should have been kept together at the Ka‘bah. He speculates that they were gathered after an earthquake (in Petra): dug out of the rubble and stored in a central public place.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Of course, there’s no need to imagine “multiple religions” operating here: syncretism is a thing, and it’s not altogether strange for people to revere (say) Jesus and Mary *alongside* local gods or spirits.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
It’s odd that the Arabic tradition’s (late, hostile, and not altogether coherent) portrayal of the Meccan cult is basically trustworthy, in Gibson’s reading.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 27
Replying to @iandavidmorris
There’s more, but I really need to say this now: If you read Gibson and think he sounds reasonable, you are being duped. His arguments are very, very poor. Perhaps you don’t notice how poor they are, because you don’t have the training that specialists have: so I’m telling you.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 28
Replying to @iandavidmorris
This is weird: Gibson doubts that Mecca could have been subject to blockade. (You don’t have to fully encircle a city: patrols and signals can help to intercept supplies and counter raids.)
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Ian D. Morris Jul 28
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson understands this passage to mean that the journey from Mecca to Damascus took less than 40 days. If anything, I think the opposite is implied: the Umayyads in Mecca were too late to meet him. But in any case, 40 is a topos: see Conrad’s article
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Ian D. Morris Jul 28
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson: ”This passage does not tell us where the new Ka’ba was constructed.” Tabari: “Ziyād ibn Jiyal told me he was in Mecca on the day when Ibn al-Zubayr was overcome… They re-established it on its foundation and Ibn al Zubayr rebuilt it”
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Ian D. Morris Jul 28
Replying to @iandavidmorris
I’ll leave it to the palaeographers to say whether Surah 2 has survived in the earliest manuscripts, but let’s keep some perspective: those manuscripts are fragmentary.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 28
Replying to @iandavidmorris
I mean, Surah 2 *is* in manuscripts that have been provisionally dated to the latter half of the 7th century; if Gibson’s demanding *non-Uthmanic* variants, which are vanishingly rare, he’s really setting an arbitrarily high standard of evidence.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson: “The Nabataeans and Edomites were both descendants of Abraham, and so they had a monotheistic background and were reluctant to put human characteristics onto gods” 😐
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson: ”In the massive collections of writing produced by Abbāsid authorsbetween [sic] 750 - 950 AD (132 - 340 AH) the writers seldom mention the city of Mecca” HOLD UP
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
The ABBASID writers SELDOM MENTION Mecca?!
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Anyway, Gibson goes on to cite Khalid b. al-Walid’s impossibly quick pilgrimage as evidence that he must have gone to Petra, not Mecca; but of course the unlikely speed of the pilgrimage is the very reason the anecdote is told. (Gibson has a profoundly literal habit of reading.)
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
“Trebuchet stones”? No citation; no way to confirm anything about this.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
“Is it any wonder that a mosque was built in Canton China (modern Guangzhou) while Muḥammad was still alive?” Why, yes. So much so that it didn’t happen.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
He cites this Huaisheng Mosque elsewhere, seemingly unaware that its claim to the seventh century isn’t taken remotely seriously.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson: “there was also a literary vacuum in the early Muslim empire created by zealous Muslims who destroyed books and manuscripts, erased inscriptions, burned libraries and destroyed all literature except Islamic writings” This is a breathtaking overstatement.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
“One can only surmise that the city of Petra is today bereft of all inscriptions because of the actions of zealous Muslims during Yazīd’s reign.” Evidence of targeted vandalism might help this case.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson, on the dearth of early Qur’an manuscripts, cites scholarship from the 1970s. But things have improved: he’s just not kept up.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson: Ibn Hisham, Bukhari, Tabari and Yaqut “are responsible for the bulk of Islamic history that has come down to us today.” He knows embarrassingly little about our sources.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Ibn Hisham “begins the practice of editing past writings”, says Gibson, much to my surprise.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE SO VERY TIRED
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Ian D. Morris Jul 29
Replying to @iandavidmorris
“Muḥammad met some of the tribe of Anṣār (Quraysh in Medina)” ?!?!
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Ian D. Morris Jul 30
Replying to @iandavidmorris
A former follower of Mukhtar tells the Zubayrids: “we are people who turn to the same qiblah as you”. Gibson understands this to mean that there were two qiblas. The point, however, is simply that both sides are Muslims, part of the same ‘people’, who may therefore be reconciled.
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Ian D. Morris Jul 30
Replying to @iandavidmorris
Gibson also seems to think that the Ibn al-Zubayr in this passage is ‘Abd Allah, the self-declared caliph; in fact it’s Mus‘ab, his brother.
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