With Teodozja I. Rzeuska, Anetta Łyżwa-Piber and Katarzyna Molga from the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences, who have published a book (in Polish) on harems as described in the memoirs of Polish travelers, pilgrims, vagabonds and expatriates, we discuss the lives of women in the nineteenth-century Middle East.
At the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first century, the field of Arabic and Islamic studies became enriched by a number of multi-facetted scholarly theories challenging the traditional account on the early centuries of Islam. An author of one of them was the Israeli scholar Yehuda D. Nevo (1932–1992), working in archaeology, epigraphy and historiography. He devoted much of his career to the studying of Arabic rock inscriptions in the Negev desert, as well as to investigating literary and numismatic evidence of nascent Islam. In his theory, the gradual development of the Islamic faith, inspired by Abrahamism with an admixture of Judeo-Christianity, went through a stage of “indeterminate monotheism”. Not earlier than since the end of the second century A.H. one can speak of the formation of the dogmatic pillars of Islam, similar to those we know today. This paper is an attempt to sum up Nevo’s insightful input into the field of modern Islamic & Quranic studies today. Although controversial and unorthodox, many later researchers repeatedly refered to Nevo’s plenty of inspiring theses in their quest for facts on Islamic genesis lost in the maze of time and shifting memory of generations.