"Mohammed, or The Reform of the Arabs": a turning point in European views of Mohammed

Nomsz, Johannes. Mohammed, of de Hervorming der Arabieren.

Amsterdam, heirs of David Klippink, 1780.

8vo. 2 parts in 1 vol. XXVI, 182 pp. (4), 190 pp. With engr. frontispiece and including both half-titles. Contemporary half calf with gilt title and emblems on spine. Portrait frontispiece of "Mohammed, son of Abdullah, of the tribe of Koreis, the descendant of Ishmael".


Very rare sole edition of this biography of Mohammed and history of the Arab people, painting a picture of him as a strong leader who brought the Arab tribes out of barbarity and into modern civilization. A distinct product of the European Enlightenment - in which ingrained attitudes towards religion were suddenly thrown into question - the present work marks a fascinating turning point in European views of the Prophet, adopting the rather admiring tone which would be echoed throughout 19th century biographies.

"Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the first major re-assessments of Muhammad came from a Dutchman, Johan Nomsz; after all, historians nowadays agree that it was in the relatively tolerant culture of the Northern Netherlands that the Enlightenment was actually born and came to fruition. In 1780, Nomsz published Mohammed, of de Hervorming der Arabieren, 'Muhammad, or the Reform of the Arabs'. The text is part prose play, part historical analysis. In it, Nomsz sketches the rise of Islam through the life of Muhammad as he had been able to reconstruct it from a number of scholarly works that had become available in Europe. His Muhammad is both a true prophet and a great statesman" (Rietbergen, Europe: A Cultural History, p. 143). In his preface, Nomsz insists on the name 'Mohammed' rather than the 'Mahomet' favoured by other, misinformed European observers.

Half-title of Part 1 with closed repaired tear, otherwise an excellent copy, clean and fresh. Very rare. OCLC shows just a handful of copies outside the Netherlands - and just one in American institutional libraries, at Yale.

OCLC 898979382.

Art.-Nr.: BN#44770 Schlagwörter: , ,