By Kenneth M. Setton, Norman P. Zacour, Harry W. Hazard

The six volumes of A background of the Crusades will stand because the definitive historical past of the Crusades, spanning 5 centuries, encompassing Jewish, Moslem, and Christian views, and containing a wealth of knowledge and research of the background, politics, economics, and tradition of the medieval international.

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Qùthàmà might also be one of these late philosophical pagans who followed suit and, perhaps, added local elements to their pagan world view: the society which he describes is, in any case, pagan. Yet the Biblical elements do show that he was already heavily influenced by either Judaism or Christianity, or both, in some of their forms. 63 It does not seem possible with our present state of knowledge to be more exact about the background of Qùthàmà. To summarize the evaluation of the provenance and authorship of the Nabatean Agriculture, the analysis seems to favour the following conclusions which, I wish to emphasize, cannot be considered as final.

43 Likewise, one may wonder at the duplicating of the original material in the passage which attacks ascetics in the original work and to which Ibn Wa˙shiyya adds his own, anti-Sufi attacks (Text 28). It does not, of course, follow from this duplicating that there must have been two different authors, but one cannot too easily see what Ibn Wa˙shiyya could have achieved by first attributing to Qùthàmà a passage against ascetics and then duplicating this by adding his own notes. It would have been much more efficient to attack only once, but with maximum venom.

90 The two articles on Naba† in EI2, by Graf and Fahd, are not very satisfactory. In al-Mas'ùdì, Tanbìh, p. ” For the Nabateans of the Arabian peninsula, see Fiey (1990): 52–53. It seems to me rather clear that the historiographical problems involved in Early Islamic texts make these references somewhat dubious and one should perhaps take them as later inventions. 91 The better informed Arab authors knew well that this was not an autochthonous term by which the people of Iraq would have referred to themselves.

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