Robert G. Hoyland

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For the Neighbours character, see Bobby Hoyland.

Robert G. Hoyland is a scholar and historian, specializing in the medieval history of the Middle East. He is a former student of historian Patricia Crone and was a Leverhulme Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is currently Professor of Islamic history at the Oriental Institute of the University of Oxford,[1] having previously been a Professor of history at the University of St. Andrews.

His research interests include: relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the pre-modern Midde East; the links between identity, religion and ethnicity (in particular, the forging of an Arab identity) in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic period; the transmission of knowledge from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the reforging of that knowledge by Muslim scholars; the change in material culture from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the emergence of an Islamic style of art and architecture; and the use of Arabic inscriptions for understanding Islamic history and culture.

Hoyland's best-known work Seeing Islam As Others Saw It is a contribution to early Islamic historiography, being a survey of non-Muslim eye witness accounts of that period.[2]



  • Seeing Islam as Others Saw it. A survey and analysis of the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian writings on Islam (Darwin; Princeton, 1997).
  • Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam (Routledge; London, 2001).
  • Muslims and Others in early Islamic society (Ashgate; Aldershot, 2004).
  • ed. with Dr. Philip Kennedy, Islamic Reflections and Arabic Musings (Oxbow; Oxford, 2004).
  • with Brian Gilmour: Swords and Swordmakers in Medieval Islam (Oxbow; Oxford, 2004).
  • with Simon Swain et al., Seeing the face, seeing the soul. The art of physiognomy in the Classical and Islamic Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2007).

Selected chapters and articles[edit]

  • ‘The content and context of early Arabic inscriptions', Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 21 (1997).
  • 'The earliest christian writings on Muhammad: an appraisal' in H. Motzki ed., The Biography of Muhammad (Leiden, 2000).
  • 'Epigraphy', 10,000-word entry in Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an (Leiden, 2002).
  • ‘Language and Identity: the twin histories of Arabic and Aramaic', Scripta Israelica Classica 23 (2003).
  • "History, Fiction and Authorship in the first centuries of Islam"; Writing and Representation in Medieval Islam; Julia Bray (ed); Routledge; 16-46 (2006)
  • "New Documentary Texts and the Early Islamic State"; Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies; 69(3):395-416 (2006)


  1. ^ "Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford". Retrieved May 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Hoyland, Robert G. (1997). Seeing Islam as others saw it: A survey and evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian writings on early Islam. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press. ISBN 0-87850-125-8. Retrieved May 27, 2011.