Patricia Crone, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, will speak about “Why Are Prophets Necessary? The Social Utility of Religion in Muslim Thought” during a visit to UC Davis next week.
She will speak at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Andrews Conference Room (2203) at the Social Sciences and Humanities Building on campus. The public is welcome.
A prophet in the classical Muslim conception was the bearer of a law revealed by God, and forming a community on the basis of that law was to escape from anarchy and oppression, a news release said. But was prophecy actually real? Might the so-called prophets be power-seeking politicians in disguise, or perhaps well-meaning politicians who disguised their law as revelation?
There was a wide range of views on the prophetic phenomenon, especially in the 10th and 11th centuries. Crone’s lecture will examine these views and the classical solution to the problem of how the bearers of such different views could coexist within the same community.