Patricia Crone

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Patricia Crone
Born 1945
Main interests
Islamic Studies; Quranic (Islamic) studies; scriptural exegesis; scholarship on Islamic origins
Major works
Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (with M.A. Cook); Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam

Patricia Crone (born 1945)[1] is a scholar, author, Orientalist, and historian of early Islamic history working since 1997 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is notable as an historian of Islam, who has treated the Koran as scripture with a history, just as there are histories of the Bible.[2]


In 1977, Crone became a University Lecturer in Islamic history and a Fellow of Jesus College at Oxford University. Crone became Assistant University Lecturer in Islamic studies and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University in 1990. She has held several positions at Cambridge since then.[3] She served as University Lecturer in Islamic studies from 1992 to 1994, and Reader in Islamic history from 1994 until 1997.

That year, 1997, she was appointed to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton where she became Andrew W. Mellon professor. Since 2002, she has been a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Social Evolution & History.[4]

In their book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (1977), Crone and her associate Michael Cook, working at SOAS at the time, provided a new analysis of early Islamic history by studying the only surviving contemporary accounts of the rise of Islam, which were written in Armenian, Greek, Aramaic and Syriac by witnesses. By using non-Arabic sources, they could study more of the context for the rise of Islam. They argued that Islam, as represented by contemporary, non-Muslim sources, was in essence a tribal rebellion against incursions by the Byzantine and Persian empires. They noted that it had deep roots in Judaism, and that Arabs and Jews were allies in these conquering communities.[5]

In her book Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam (1987), Crone argues that the importance of the pre-Islamic Meccan trade has been grossly exaggerated. She also suggests that while Muhammad never traveled much beyond the Hijaz, internal evidence in the Qur'an, such as its description of Muhammad's polytheist opponents as "olive growers," might indicate that the events surrounding the Prophet took place near the Mediterranean region.[5]

Beginning as a scholar of early military and economic history of the Middle East, Crone now works mainly on "the Qur’an and the cultural and religious traditions of Iraq, Iran, and the formerly Iranian part of Central Asia."[6]


Sole author[edit]




  1. ^ "Library of Congress Authorities". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  2. ^ "Institute for Advanced Study: Faculty and Emeriti: Crone". Institute for Advanced Study. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-24. Crone's work has challenged long-held explanations and provided new approaches for the social, economic, legal and religious patterns that transformed Late Antiquity. 
  3. ^ INSTITUTE APPOINTS NEW FACULTY MEMBERS at the Wayback Machine (archived December 8, 2004); "Dr. Crone, who is presently at Cambridge University, will be in residence at the Institute as of the beginning of the fall term in September 1997."
  4. ^ Social Evolution & History, website
  5. ^ a b Sean Gannon (4 December 2008). "The gospel truth?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-12-09. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Patricia Crone", Institute for Advanced Study

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