The study of Islam’s origins from a rigorous historical and social science perspective is still wanting. At the same time, a renewed attention is being paid to the very plausible pre-canonical redactional and editorial stages of the Qur'an, a book whose core many contemporary scholars agree to be formed by various independent writings in which encrypted passages from the OT Pseudepigrapha, the NT Apocrypha, and other ancient writings of Jewish, Christian, and Manichaean provenance may be found. Likewise, the earliest Islamic community is presently regarded by many scholars as a somewhat undetermined monotheistic group that evolved from an original Jewish-Christian milieu into a distinct Muslim group perhaps much later than commonly assumed and in a rather unclear way.
The following volume gathers select studies that were originally shared at the Early Islamic Studies Seminar. These studies aim at exploring afresh the dawn and early history of Islam with the tools of biblical criticism as well as the approaches set forth in the study of Second Temple Judaism, Christian, and Rabbinic origins, thereby contributing to the renewed, interdisciplinary study of formative Islam as part and parcel of the complex processes of religious identity formation during Late Antiquity.