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Studies on Islam, edited by Merlin L. Swartz, Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger, 1981, p 3-22

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Studies on Islam, edited by Merlin L. Swartz, Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger, 1981, p 3-22

Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger


To describe the religion of pre-Islamic Arabia, and especially the pre-Islamic Bedouin religion, is no less difficult a task than portraying ancient Bedouin society, and that precisely because of serious lacunae in our documentation. It was with good reason that J. Wellhausen entitled his book on the subject, Reste arabischen Heidentums (Remnants of Arab Heathendom).' Cuneiform literature, the Old Testament, and the classical authors (Greek as well as Latin) throw very little light on religious phenomena in ancient Arabia. It is only the Byzantine, Syriac, and especially the Arab writers (all from a somewhat later period) who furnish more detailed information, although it is hardly systematic or complete.' It is not surprising, therefore, that no attempt appears to have been made in Europe before the seventeenth century to publish monograph-length studies on pre-Islamic religion, because of this lack of relevant documents. Since the classical and biblical references were too few and the cuneiform inscriptions still unknown, it was impossible to consider undertaking such a project before the Arabic sources became at least partially accessible in the West. It is true that as early as the tenth century, Arabic works were translated into Latin or into other European languages in Spain. First to be translated were treatises on philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, etc. Works on the Quran as well as books dealing with the religion of Islam followed. Information on pre-Islamic Arabia is to be found for the most part in works by Muslim historians, traditionists, and jurists. These are works that did not come to the attention of Christian Europe until the Renaissance, and then only gradually.3

The first to describe pre-Islamic religion ex Professo was Edward Pococke, in his Specimen historiae Arabuin (Oxford, 1649) .4

After an interval of almost two centuries, G. Bergmann published his dissertation (1834) on pre-Islamic Arabic religion 5, certainly a work of merit for its time, but soon made obsolete by the works of E. Osiander (1853),6 L. Krehl (1863),7 and especially those of J. Wellhausen, the most important of which has already been mentioned, the Reste arabischen Iteidentums, published for the first time in 1887-8. In it Wellhausen drew primarily on the Kitab al-Asnam (The Book of Idols) of Ibn al-Kalbi, a work known at that time only through quotations in Yaqut's geographical dictionary." In his Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, first published in 1889., W. R. Smith contributed to our understanding of pre-Islamic religion through explanations that were largely speculative. For his factual data he relied on Wellhausen's work.9 Much the same may be said of the work of M.-J. Lagrange 10 who, like W. R. Smith, made a number of valuable contributions to an understanding of the religions of other Semitic peoples. Th. No1eke, on the other hand, advanced our knowledge in the field by his critical scholarship 11 and also by an important article in which he summarized the results of research up to that point12

Toward the end of the nineteenth century and on into the twentieth, South-Arabic and proto-Arabic epigraphy (entirely absent from the works of Welfhausen) was taken more and more into consideration. Although not particularly relevant to the study of the nomadic peoples, D. Nielsen from 1904 onwards made use of epigraphic evidence as a basis for reconstructing an astral religion common to proto-Semitic peoples and thus also attributable to Arab Bedouin. This much too speculative theory met with strong opposition .13 More reliable studies followed the discovery of Ibn al-Kalbi's Kitab al-Asnam, published in 1913 in Cairo by Ahmad Zaki- Pacha 14, later translated into German and English 15, and referred to in numerous articles. 16

Credit must be given to G. Ryckmans for producing an important survey in his monograph, Les Religions arabes pr6islamiques, first published in 1947. 17 He made extensive use of the expanding corpus of epigraphic material while carefully avoiding Nielsen's dubious theories. More recently, in his works on the religions and social organization of pre-Islamic Arabia, 18 j. Chelhod attempted to present an overall picture of pre-Islmaic religion. Though debatable in some respects, his work is essentially sound. Finally one will find discussions of varying lengths dealing with the religious situation of pre-Islamic Arabia in introductions to biographies of Muhammad 19 and to monographs on Islam. 20

Arab and Bedouin Religion

The sheer volume of this literature would seem to contradict the remark made earlier that the documentation is meager and that it is thus difficult to paint a complete picture of pre-Islamic Bedouin religion. The difficulty, however, is real. Works dealing with this subject contain a large number of inferences (more or less justifiable) by which the authors have attempted to compensate for the lacunae in the existing data. On the other hand, scholars frequently speak of Arabs or even Semites without always distinguishing between nomads and sedentary peoples .21 in general, however, most of the authors do differentiate clearly between the more developed civilizations of South Arabia and those in other parts of the peninsula. 22 More precisely than his predecessors, G. Ryckmans makes a tripartite distinction between central Arabia (where there are no inscriptions), northern Arabia (important for its Lihydnite, Thamadic, and Safaitic inscriptions), and southern Arabia (known primarily through its inscriptions). 23 But even considering central Arabia by itself, we often have great difficulty distinguishing clearly between the religious practices of the nomads and those of the settled peoples.

One might be tempted to think that it is possible to make progress in this area by giving careful attention to the information provided, for example, by Ibn al-Kalbi. He often says, "Such and such a tribe worshipped such and such a god." One might suppose therefore that one need only divide the tribes into nomadic and settled. But these indications are often of little value in solving the question at hand, for many of the tribes were partly nomadic, partly settled, and the nomads often maintained a close symbiotic relationship with one or more oases, which also served as their religious centers. It has been shown that the priests or guardians of the sanctuary frequently belonged to another tribe which had emigrated and that "priestly" families tended to remain fixed. 24 What we know of the religious practices of pre-Islamic Arabia has to do primarily with the cultic centers located at oases, to which the Bedouins came as pilgrims, associating themselves with the religious practices of the settled groups. 25 (There were also, however, portable sanctuaries, and to H. Lammens goes the credit for having drawn attention to this very important fact.) 26

Theories concerning the relationship between the religion of the settled peoples and that of the Bedouin reflect two tendencies which are not, however, always mutually exclusive. One group of scholars begins with the assumption that the nomads were more or less indifferent 27 and unoriginal in matters of religion, and that their gods were borrowed from more advanced civilizations. 28 The other school of thought holds that the nomads represent a more primitive form of Semitic religion. The most extreme form of the first tendency was found in the pan-Babylonian school at the beginning of this century, 29 though its views have since been generally abandoned. If C. E. Dubler has somewhat more recently gone back to H. Winckler 30 it is only to draw on a few details of the latter's ideas. In any case, the Babylonian influence, whether strong or weak, was felt primarily among the settled Arabs and reached the Bedouin only indirectly. In certain respects, therefore, one is brought back to W. Caskel's view regarding influences within Arabia. 31

We turn now to a consideration of the other tendency which considers the Bedouin religion to be older than that of the settled peoples. It assumes an evolution from the less developed to the more developed. What the starting point was differs considerably from theory to theory.

1. According to some, it was an elementary form of fetishism, the worship of stones and similar objects; already certain Greek writers had pointed out that Arabs worshipped stones. 32

2. Another view which originated in the field of Semitic studies under the influence of E. B. Tylor and gained recognition was that of animism. According to this theory, in the most primitive phases of the development of religion there were no gods bearing distinct personalities, but only spirits, that is, collective and anonymous beings. The jinn are interpreted as representing this primitive phase, and the origin of a belief in them is often attributed to the Bedouin, whereas the settled people are credited with the creation of individual gods. Wellhausen became the champion of this theory 33 which flourished most vigorously at the end of the nineteenth century. Indeed, in spite of criticism 34 it still has a loyal following today. 35

3. A third though less important theory, manism, proposed that ancestors, not nature spirits, were the predecessors of the gods; and certainly ancestor-worship existed among pre-Islamic Bedouin. 36

4. Recently another theory has been advanced, suggesting that religion began with le sacre impersonnel, a force not yet personified. According to J. Chelhod, this impersonal force was still too diffused to constitute a true object of worship 37

5. We will not repeat here the details of W. R. Smith's totemic theory which attempts to explain both religious and social phenomena in terms of totemism. 38

6. According to D. Nielsen, the starting point of the religion of the Semitic nomads was marked by the astral triad, Sun-Moon-Venus, the moon being more important for the nomads and the sun more important for the settled tribes. 39

7. Finally, some have considered the oldest form of the Semitic religion to be a fairly pure monotheism. M.J. Lagrange's claim: "El, the common, original, and probably only god of the Semites" is well known. 40 W. Schmidt adopted this view on the basis of a much more extensive documentation dealing with other pastoral nomadic peoples. 41 He held that the same belief also existed among the ancient Semitic nomads in addition to the pre-Islamic Bedouin Arabs. 42 C. Brockelmann has published a short but important study on this question. 43

In order to assess these theories, it will first be necessary to give a purely descriptive account of pre-Islamic Bedouin religion as we are able to observe it immediately prior to the rise of Islam. This can be done only on a provisional basis, however. Other aspects of pre-Islamic Arabia remain to be studied in greater depth, and these may later oblige me to revise some of my conclusions.

We will not take into consideration here the influences of foreign religions such as Christianity which had won many followers in Arabia, even among the nomads. 45 Judaism, 46 Parseeism, and Manichaism 47 on the other hand do not seem to have won many converts outside the sedentary communities.

Attempting now to describe what one may safely call autochthonous Bedouin religion, I will first discuss the superior beings they worshipped and then go on to describe their practices and cultic personnel. But first, one more general remark: it has become quite common to speak of the religious indifference of the Bedouins .48 This view is not entirely without justification. In comparison with South Arabia where a very large body of data bears directly on the religious life, Bedouin Arabia seems to furnish very little evidence in this area. However, I think that certain qualifications are in order. First one must recognize that the Bedouin were never particularly zealous in the practice of Islam, which is not surprising in view of the fact that Islam is markedly urban in character. 49 As for the Pre-Islamic Bedouin, one must also take into account the fact that their moral ideal Of muruwwa ("virility") had no religious character. 50 Nevertheless, to conclude from this a total absence of religious sentiment is to go too far. When Scholars use pre-Islamic poetry as a basis for this judgment, they make rather generous use of the argument from silence. One must not forget the rigid and conventional character of pre-Islamic poetry in the centuries immediately preceding the birth of Islam, narrowly limited as it was in its choice of subjects. It is for this reason, very probably, that pre-Islamic poetry does not reflect all aspects of contemporary life. 51

In order to form a judgment on this point, let us observe some of the more concrete expressions of Bedouin religion.

1. One detail which already impressed the Greek authors was the role played by sacred Stones, 52 a phenomenon that they interpreted as a worship of raw and unpolished stones, that is to say, fetishism, regarded as the oldest and crudest form of religion. However, the scientific study of religion has long since rejected the theory that accorded to fetishism such a place of honor. In fact what is customarily called fetishism is not an independent phenomenon. The material object is not venerated for itself but rather as the dwelling of either a personal being (god, spirit) or a force 53 Especially in the area of Semitic beliefs, more recent research has led to a conclusion which R. Dussaud summarizes in his latest book: "One must realize that it is not to the stone itself that the worshipper gives his adoration, but to the god which it contains.... The term 'li-tholatry' therefore expresses a false idea and is based on a total lack of understanding of the rites." 54 In addition one must ask whether the religious significance of sacred rocks and stones arose among nomads who, we now know, Possessed portable sanctuaries, 55 rather than among settled peoples who tended to worship concrete and stationary objects existing within a particular locality.56 In my view it would therefore not be justifiable to consider this stone worship" as a characteristic of Bedouin religion except in the sense defined by Dussaud, in which case it applies equally to the sedentary peoples.

2. One might perhaps object that the conceiving a personal god, that Bedouin were not yet capable of they were at an earlier stage which had not yet moved beyond the sacre impersonnel, or at least the collective and anonymous phenomenon of the jinn.

This compels us to consider the role of these spirits in the religion of the pre-Islamic Bedouin. The persistence in the Quran of a belief in the jinn and the testimony of pre-Islamic as well as Islamic literature adequately demonstrate its importance at the beginning of the seventh century. But it will be necessary to define the role of this belief more precisely.

Wellhausen has rightly observed that these spirits which were thought to haunt desolate, dingy, and especially dark places in the desert were feared, that it was thought necessary to protect oneself against them, but that they were hardly the object of a true Cult. 57 From this he drew the conclusion that these spirits had first to be elevated to the level of divinities in order to become objects of worship. Though there may, be some truth in this assumption, the view that polydemonism everywhere preceded belief in divinities and that all gods are only spirits elevated to a higher rank, has been increasingly called into question by the science of comparative religion. 58

It is often assumed that belief in the jinn who were thought to dwell in the desert originated with the Bedouin and was passed from them to the settled tribes. This assumption does not seem to me to be well founded. The Bedouin who are familiar with the desert feel much less fear there than do village or city dwellers who regard this unknown region as terrifying and who imagine that all sorts of monsters and demons dwell there. This tendency existed already in the Ancient East. 59 And there is another fact that deserves attention: among Arab peoples today, belief in spirits is much more intense among the agricultural population than among the Bedouin. 60 It is further worth noting that, according to W. F. Albright who bases his ideas on certain facts already established by Th. Noldeke and M. Lidzbarski, the word jinn is not Arabic but derived from Aramaic. Aramaic-speaking Christians used the term to designate pagan gods reduced to the status of demons. He concludes from this that the jinn themselves were introduced into Arabic folklore only late in the pre-Islamic period. 62 However that may be,' one must reckon seriously with this possibility, for it is supported by other observations of detail.' Even if one accepts an autochthonous pre-Christian animism among the Bedouin (which seems reasonable to me), this animism could have been reinforced by contributions from sedentary Arabs, and one should not see in it either the core or the root of the pre-Islamic Bedouin religion. The possibility of the secondary diffusion even of beliefs and practices which one would prefer to designate as very primitive is not purely theoretical. We have a clear example of it in the spread of Zar ceremonies (with their ideology) into Egypt and Arabia. This diffusion which occurred only since the nineteenth century was effected by African slaves. 64 We now know that what is "primitive" in the sense of a value judgment is not necessarily so in the chronological sense.

3. There are more numerous indications of the existence of a cult of ancestors. Here we are undoubtedly dealing with an indigenous phenomenon. Proof of this is to be seen in the extensive diffusion of this cult even among Bedouin in more recent times, a fact that cannot be attributed to Islam whose principles are opposed to it. (In border areas this cult more nearly approximates Islam through the fact that the ancestor has been elevated to the rank of wali or Muslim saint. 65 For pre-Islamic Arabia, explicit evidence is not lacking. It has not been sufficiently established that the dead generally were regarded as powerful, superhuman beings. They appear rather as beings deprived of protection, needing the charity of the living. This is why sacrifices for the dead in general do not seem to signify a cult of the dead but rather a continuation of social obligations beyond the grave. On the other hand ancestors, that is to say, especially the eponymous heroes of the tribe (as well as certain other celebrated heroes, chiefs, and warriors), were an object of real veneration. People not only slew animals and made libations by their tombs but also erected stone structures as they did at the sanctuaries of the local gods. Like the sanctuaries these graves were places of refuge. 66 These are instances of a real cult; moreover, this veneration of the ancestor reflects a social organization which assigned a great deal of importance to genealogy. It is difficult to understand J. Chelhod's remark that the sacred remained too diffused to coalesce into a clearly defined cultic object. 67 For the Bedouin the hero was (in my view) a rather concrete figure. If it does not appear so to us, it is because we know very little about the ancestor traditions within each tribe. Furthermore, the transition from tribal ancestor to tribal god does not seem to me too difficult. Although it would be going too far to see this as the origin of all individual divinities, one may admit that some of them were originally only ancestors and heroes, wrapped in legends, and slowly elevated to the status of deity.

4. Let us now examine these local divinities, which Muslim authors call "idols" (asnam) or "companions" (shuraka') -supposedly companions mistakenly associated with Allah -local divinities because their cult was restricted to a certain place or to a particular tribe. In most cases we have very little information about them. We scarcely know their names or the places where they were worshipped (and often not even the real name but a surname meaning, for example, "lord of such and such a place"). The myths which might have been able to illuminate the character of these gods are almost entirely lost.' In view of this one can see why it is difficult to decide in each case whether the god in question owes its origin to the Bedouin or to sedentary peoples. It is undeniable that the Bedouin often borrowed gods from the latter but, on the other hand, one cannot exclude the possibility that the Bedouin also had their own gods, as in the case of a god called after the name of a mountain.

The mass of these gods presents a chaotic picture (it does not seem justifiable to me to speak of a pantheon)." In trying to substantiate certain data regarding their origin, one is hardly able to go beyond hypo-theses. Those which I have already mentioned all seem to me to contain some element of truth. Among these gods there may be some that were originally jinn, mythical ancestors or legendary heroes, elevated little by little to the rank of god. On the other hand, some of the gods developed directly from the personification of natural forces (in Quzah, for example, one may still discern the features of a storm god).' It should not be thought, however, that these gods must first have passed through a spirit or demon stage, and that celestial beings are posterior to earth spirits." Pre-Islamic Arabic stellar myths (which are, at least in part, Bedouin in origin)" prove that the sky was studied and that stars also were personified. To what degree were the stars the object of real worship? That is a separate question, which we will look at now.

5. The importance of astral divinities in central Arabia has been exaggerated by pan-Babylonian theories and those of D. Nielsen. Certainly they dominated the religion of South Arabia, but not of central Arabia. The information given by several later Muslim authors on the worship of certain planets and fixed stars is not very well founded except for the cult of the Pleiades which arose through north Semitic influences." The three great goddesses venerated at Mecca by the Quraish (and by several other tribes), mentioned in the Quran as "daughters of Allah" (in the opinion of inhabitants of Mecca), al-Lat, al-'Uzza and Manat, were not exempt either from such influences and cannot be considered as divinities of purely Bedouin origin." Manat was a goddess of destiny, without an astral character. Al-Lat and al-'Uzza probably represented two phases of the planet Venus (evening and morning), but it is possible that their identification with this planet represented a secondary development. 76 In Bedouin Arabia (as in South Arabia) there was probably first a masculine divinity of the planet Venus which only later became feminine under a north Semitic influence.' The existence of a sun goddess (which some had attempted to recover in al-Lat) is less certain, and it is impossible to prove the existence of an earth goddess among the nomadic Semites. 77

6. The final divinity to be considered is Allah who was recognized before Islam as god, and if not as the only god at least as a supreme god. The Quran makes it quite clear that he was recognized at Mecca, though belief in him was certainly more widespread .78 How is this to be explained? Earlier scholars attributed the diffusion of this belief solely to Christian and Judaic influences. But now a growing number of authors maintain that this idea had older roots in Arabia. Wellhausen's view that Allah (al-ilah, "the god") is a sort of abstraction which (originating in the local gods) gave rise first to a common word, then a common concept that merged the various gods into one single god has rightly been judged inadequate. One must rather see in this pre-Islamic Allah one of those great supreme gods who created the world but who plays a minor role in the actual cult. 79 If, therefore, Allah is indigenous to Arabia, one must ask further: Are there indications of a nomadic origin? I think there are, based on a comparison of the beliefs of the nomads in central and northern Asia with those of northeastern Africa. Like the supreme being of many other nomads, Allah is a god of the sky and dispenser of rain. 80 These indications might not seem sufficiently peculiar to Bedouin, for the notion of such a god might just as well have been formed by settled farming people. But one must not forget that rain is even more important for nomads. Whereas agriculture is possible with artificial systems of irrigation which lessen the direct dependence on rain, for the nomads the condition of the pasture lands, vitally important for both animals and people, is much advocating that more directly dependent on the rain. I am certainly not advocating one should conclude simply on the basis of the monotheism of other nomadic peoples that the Semites, including the pre-Islamic Bedouin, were also monotheists. Nevertheless, a comparison with these other nomads might help us to better understand the fragmentary data for pre-Islamic religion. This is especially true for certain cultic practices which we shall discuss now.

In the practices of the pre-Islamic cult, prayer does not seem to have been very important. In any case, we know very little about it. More frequently mentioned are the sacrifices, bloody sacrifices as well as those that did not involve the shedding of blood. The animals which were immolated were the camel, the sheep, and the ox; fowl are never mentioned. 81 There seems to have been a certain preference for white animals. As for other types of sacrifice, libations of milk are indigenous, whereas libations of wine and oil are of foreign origin. Human sacrifices, on the whole rather rare among the Bedouin, may be attributed to the influence of the northern Semites. 82 The offering of human hair was not a true sacrifice but a rite of passage, involving a transition from the profane to sacred or in the reverse direction. 83 If the preference for white in the sacrificial animal recalls the customs of central and northern Asia, this is even more true for the non-bloody consecration of animals, a rite which expressed gratitude for the fertility of cattle. Camels and other domesticated animals dedicated to a god were exempt from work. In the case of camels, their milk was reserved for visitors and the poor. Sometimes after these animals were marked, they remained with the herd, but very often as the special property of the god they were kept in a sacred enclosure (hima) near a sanctuary until their natural death. 84 The sacrificial rites were simple; each man had the right to sacrifice his own victim. Owing to the scarcity of fuel in the desert, victims were not burned. Usually the sacrifices ended in a common meal. Sometimes too the slaughtered animals were abandoned to wild animals and birds of prey. If the ceremonies of pouring and sprinkling the blood are not in any way peculiar to a nomadic civilization, the interdiction against breaking the bones,' on the other hand, can only be explained by an ideological complex which is still very much alive among hunters and stock farmers of northern Asia. This custom is based on the belief that the animal can be regenerated if the bones remain intact. In the very fragmentary Arabic documentation, this custom is barely comprehensible and has given rise to very different and sometimes rather arbitrary interpretations; but it appears in a new light when compared with the customs and beliefs of the above-mentioned peoples. The same is true for the festivals of springtime 86 as far as the sacrifice of the firstborn is concerned. There are solid reasons for believ-ing that the Arabic feast of the month of Rajab, for which originally the firstborn of the herd were sacrificed, and the Jewish Passover have a common origin. Both are derived from a spring festival common to nomadic Semites (although after the exodus from Egypt, the Passover was given a new significance). These spring observances have numerous analogies among other shepherd groups.

The question of pilgrimage which was an element foreign to nomadic civilization and of a late date among Semitic peoples will not be dealt with in detail here. 87 It is precisely through pilgrimage that certain cultic practices of the settled tribes found their way into nomadic culture. Nor is there sufficient space here to discuss in detail the various practices of divination, magic, and sorcery, 88 which certainly receive ample attention from Muslim authors in their descriptions of pre-Islamic religion, but which must be studied much more thoroughly. As in the case of the belief in the jinn, we must try to discover what share the nomads and the sedentaries had respectively in these practices. By the inherent (perhaps magical) force of his utterances, the sha'ir (poet) resembles the kahin (soothsayer); 90 both were said to be inspired by the jinn.

This leads us to mention briefly the individuals who played a special role in the religion. Can one speak of cultic officials? The priests (sadin, pl. sadana) mentioned in the Arabic sources" were not sacrificers but rather guardians of the sanctuaries, for each man was allowed to slaughter his own victim. The absence of a special class of priests recalls the primitive situation of the Semites and other shepherd nomads. 92 It is not our intention here to deal with the typology of the priesthood and related phenomena in the history of religions. 93 However, within the Semitic domain, we must at least touch briefly on a problem which is suggested by the linguistic identity of the words kahin (soothsayer) in Arabic and kohen (priest) in Hebrew. Scholars since Wellhausen have seen in this fact proof of a development from the sorcerer through the soothsayer to the priest. 94 This view, however, is contradicted by W. F. Albright who on the basis of Ugaritic documents writes: "Unfortunately, however, the word (kahin) is isolated in Arabic and may, therefore, like thousands of other cultural words in that language, be considered equally well as a loanword from older Canaanite kahin or from Aramaic kahna, both meaning 'priest'; should this be true, we have an indication of a specialization in function among the Arabs and not of a supposed magical back-ground of the Israelite priesthood." 95 I cannot resolve this problem here. May I simply point out that in this case also, an explanation by uniform evolution from the less developed to the more developed is not at all clear. Moreover, the portable sanctuaries were also accompanied by soothsayers and other persons playing a religious or magical role, among whom there were also women. 96 I would not venture to identify such institutions with shamanism, a phenomenon which has been vigorously debated in recent years as to its nature and origin and which is probably no more indigenous to nomadic pastoral civilization than the institution of the priesthood. 97


To conclude, let us attempt briefly to characterize the pre-Islamic Bedouin religion. In 1958 A. Brelich, in analyzing the results of studies on ancient Semitic divinities, came to the following conclusion: one cannot speak of polytheism in proto-Semitic civilization, but one does find the belief in a supreme being, coupled with animism. 98 I am inclined to accept this formula, with a few slight modifications, for pre-Islamic Bedouin religion. It seems to me that one must attribute a little less importance to animism (belief in nature spirits), and emphasize ancestor worship a little more.

Here then are the elements of this religion: Allah, creator of the world, supreme and undisputed lord, but relegated to the background in the cultic and practical life of the people; next, manifesting the rudiments of a polytheism, several astral divinities (at least that of the planet Venus) and atmospheric divinities (perhaps the attributes of a creator god which have been hypostatized); 99 finally, ancestors and jinn, these last having more importance in the belief system than in the cult. All of this, moreover, is somewhat vague and far from being organized into a real pantheon or hierarchical system. The cultic practices as well were characterized by very little ritual and in turn reflected the individualism of the Bedouin and the lack of rigidity in their entire social system.

Islam which followed this religion did not grow out of a void, nor was it of purely foreign origin. It was not a Bedouin religion, for its principal roots are to be found in the biblical religions; however, in Arabia it found not only human values 100 but also religious values it could and did incorporate.


(See page xi for list of abbreviations of journal titles)

1. J. Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidenturm (Berlin, 1887; 2nd ed. 1897, reprinted 1927).

2. On these sources see: "La soci6t6 b6douine ancienne" [in L'antica societa beduina (ed. F. Gabrieli; Rome, 1959)], pp. 71-76.

3. See J. Fueck, Die arabischen Studien in Europe bis in den Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1955), especially pp. I- 166 passim; cf. also: F. Wiistenfeld, Die Ubersetzung-en arabischer Werke in das Lateinische seit dem 11. Jahrhundert (Abhandl. der Ges. der Wiss. zu G(5ttingen, Hist.-phil. Classe 22, 1877, no. 2); U. Monneret de Villard, Lo studio dell' lsldm in Europa nel XII e nel XIII secolo (CittA del Vaticano, 1944); other references in J. Henninger, "Sur la contribution des missionnaires A la connaissance de l'Islam, surtout pendant le moyen Age," Neue Zeitschrift far Missionswiss. pp. 161-85. 9 (1953)

4. Pococke's account was used extensively by G. Sale in the introduction to his transla-tion of the Quran (London, 1734), and by many authors who relied on one or the other of these; see G. Pfannmiiller, Handbuch der Islam-Literature (Berlin and Leip-zig, 1923), pp. 91, 96, 164, 171-72, 209, 216.

5. G. Bergmann, De religione Arabubourg, 1834). n- mica alssertatio historico-theologica (Stras-

6. E. Osiandcr, "Studien iiber die vOrislAmische Religion der Araber," ZDMG, 7 (1853), pp. 463-505.

7. L. Krehl, Ober die Religion der vorislamischen Araber (Leipzig, 1863).

8. See above, note 1.

8a.[Mu'jam at-Buldan, edited by F. Wiistenfeld and published in 6 vols. (Leipzig, 1866/73). See GAL, 1, 480, Suppl. 1, 880.]

9. W. R. Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites: The Fundamental Institutions (London, 1889; 3rd ed., 1927). See ibid., pp. XVI-XVII: "For Arabia I have been able to refer throughout to my friend Wellhausen's excellent volume, Reste arabischen Hei-dentums (Berlin, 1887), in which the extant material for this branch of Semitic heathen-ism is fully brought together, and criticized with the author's well-known acumen."

10. M.-J. Lagrange, Etudes sur les religions somitique.s- (2nd ed., Paris, 1905).

11. Th. N61deke, review of W. R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia (London, 1885), in ZDMG, 40 (1886), pp. 148-87; idem, review of J. Wellhausen, Reste arabis-chen Heidentunu (Berlin, 1887) in ZDMG, 41 (1887), pp. 707-26. Th. N61deke, article: "Arabs (Ancient)," in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics I (Edinburgh, 1908), pp. 659a-73a.

13. D. Nielsen, Die altarabische Mondreligion und die mosaische Oberlieferung (Strass-burg, 1904); idem, Der dreienige Gott in religionshistorischer Beleuchtung, I (Copenha-gen, 1922), 11 (1942); idem, Handbuch der altarabischen Altertumskunde, I (Paris-Copenhagen-Leipzig, 1927), and other publications. For a critique of these theories see: G. Furlani, "Triadi semitiche e TrinitA cristiana," Bulletin de l'Institut d'Egypte, 6 (1924), pp. 115-33; E. Dhorme, "La religion primitive des Sdmites. A propos d'un ouvrage rdcent," RHR, 128 (1944), pp. 5-27; A. Jamme, "Le panth6on sudarabe prdislamique d'apr6s les sources dpigraphiques," Le MusL$on, 60 (1947), pp. 57-147; idem, "D. Nielsen et le Panthdon sud-arabe prdislamique." RB, 55 (1948), pp. 227-44;; other references in J. Henninger, Anthropos, pp. 37-40 (1942-45), pp. 802-5; cf. also Henninger, Zeitschr. far Ethnol., 79 (1954), pp. 107-10; idem, Anthropos 53 (1958), p. 743.

14. First edition: Cairo, 1913, 2nd edition, Cairo, 1924 (text reprinted in R. Klinke-Rosen- berger, see note 15).

15. See R. Klinke-Rosenberger, Das G6tzenbuch (Kitab al-Aqnam) of Ibn al-Kalbi (Leip-zig, 1941); N. A. Faris, The Book of Idols, Being a Translation from the Arabic of the Kitdb al-Asndm by Hishdm Ibn al-Kalbf (Princeton, New Jersey, 1952).

16. See, for example: M. S. Marmadji, "Les dieux du paganisme arabe d'apr~s Ibn al-Kalb!," RB, 35 (1926), pp. 397-420; H. S. Nyberg, Bemerkungen Zum "Buch der G6tzenbilder" von Ibn al-Kalbi, in APARMA, Martino P. Nilsson A.D. IV Id. Jul. Anno MCMXXXIX dedicatum (Lund, 1939), pp. 346-66; F. Stummer, "Bemerkung-en zum G6tzenbuch des Ibn a]-Kalt)7i," ZDMG, 98 (N.F. 23) (1944), pp. 377-94; A. Jepsen, "Ibn al-Kalb-is Buch der G6tzenbilder. Aufbau und Bedeutung," TheoL Litera-tur-Zeitung, 72 (1947), Col. 139-44.

17. G. Ryckmans, Les Religions arabesproislamiques, in M. Gorce and R. Mortier, Histoire ggn~rale des religions, IV (Paris, 1947), pp. 307-22, 526-34; 2nd ed. (Bibliotheque du Musgon, vol. 26) Louvain, 1951; cf. E. Dhorme, "Les Religions arabes prdislamiques d'apr6s une publication rdcente," RHR, 133 (1947-48), pp. 34-48.

18. J. Chelhod, Le Sacrifice chez les Arabes (Paris, 1955); idem, Introduction a la sociolo-gie de l'Islam. De I'animisme 4 l'universalisme (Paris, 1958), as well as several articles, mostly in the RHR. For a critique of some of the details see: Henninger, Anthropos, 50 (1955), pp. 106 with note 135; idem, Anthropos, 53 (1958), pp. 748-57, passim, 786, 795, note 339. A general criticism has yet to be written.

19. See, for example: F. Buhl, Das Leben Mohammeds (German translation by H. H. Schaeder: Leipzig, 1930; 2nd ed. Heidelberg 1955); T. Andrac, Mohammed, Sein Leben und sein Glaube (G6ttingen, 1932; French translation: Mahomet, sa vie et sa doctrine, Paris, 1945 [English translation: Mohammed, The Man and His Faith, New York, 1936]); W. M. Watt, Muhammad at Mecca (Oxford, 1953; French translation: Mahomet a la Mecque. Paris, 1958); idem, Muhammad at Medina (Oxford, 1956); M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Mahomet (Paris, 1957); R. Paret, Mohammed und der Ko-ran (Stuttgart, 1957).

20. See, for example, F. M. Pareja, Islamologia (Roma, 1951) [translated into French under the title of Islamologie (Beirut, 1964)]; cf. also M. Guidi, Storia e cultura degli Arabifino alla morte di Maometto (Firenze, 1951), especially pp. 122-43.

21. W. R. Smith assumes a primitive religion common to all Semites, as is expressed in the title of his work: Lectures on the Religion of the Semites. M.-J. Lagrange writes more cautiously in his Etudes sur les religion sgmitiques.

22. Cf. J. Henninger, "Das Opfer in den altsiidarabischen Hochkulturen," Anthropos, 37- 40 (1942-45), pp. 779-810, especially pp. 787-93, 805-10.

23. See G. Ryckmans, op. cit., pp. 7-18: central Arabia; pp. 19-24: northern Arabia; pp. 25-48: southern Arabia.

24. See Buhl, op. cit., pp. 73-74, 81-82; other references in J. Henninger, Anthropos, 50 (1955), pp. 119-20.

25. See Smith, Religion, pp. 111- 13; cf. also G. Levi Della Vida, Les Sgmites et leur r6le dans 1'histoire religieuse (Paris, 1938), pp. 81-91 passim, especially pp. 89-91, and 116-17, note 40; Gaudefroy-Demombynes, op. cit., pp. 34-39.

26. See H. Lammens, "Le Culte des bdtyles et les processions religieuses chez les Arabes prtislamites," Bulletin de l'Institut frangais d'archa6ologie orientale, Le Caire, IF (1919), reprinted in H. Lammens, LArabie Occidentale avant I'H6gire (Beyrouth, 1928), pp. 101-79; J. Morgenstern, The Ark, the Ephod and the "Tent of Meeting" (Cincinnati, 1945), passim, especially pp. 1-77; cf. also Henninger, Intemat. Archiv Ar Ethnogr., 42 (1943), pp. 23-26, especially p. 26, note 116; idem, Anthropos, 50 (1955), p. 121, note 189; K. Dussaud, La Pgnttration des Arabes en Syrie avant l'Islam (Paris, 1955), pp. 113-17.

27. See Smith, Religion, p. 47; Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 224-28; N61deke, in Hastings, 1 (1908), p. 659b. One could also cite many more references.

28. See W. Caskel, in Le Antiche diviniti) semitiche (Roma, 1958), pp. 104-5 (cf. S. Moscati, ibid. 9 pp. 120-21); W. Caskel, ZDMG, 103 (1953), p. 31 [English translation: "The Bedouinization of Arabia," in Studies in Islamic Cultural History, edited by G E. von Grunebaum (The American Anthropological Association. Memoir No. 76, April 1954, Menasha, Wisconsin), p. 39]; idem, Die Bedeutung der Beduinen in der Geschichte der Araber (K61n and Opladen, 1953), p. 6.

29. See, for example, H. Winckler, Arabisch-Semitisch-Orientalisch. Mitteilungen der Vor- derasiatischen Gesellschaft, 6 (1901), pp. 151-373, passim. Merely as a curiosity one might also mention Ahmad-Bcy Kamal, Les idoles arabes et les divinitis $gyptiennes (Recueil de travaux relatifs it la phitologie et 4 I'archgologie $gyptiennes et assyriennes, 2,f annde, Nouvelle s6rie, tome 8'[Paris, 19021, pp. 11-24.) This author compiles a list of gods which supposedly had been identical in ancient Egypt and in Arabia. Accord-ing to the Egyptologist Werner Vycichl, that is entirely inadmissible (Letter of 26 May 1959). Besides, this risky theory does not seem to have gained any supporters.

30. See C. E Dubler, "Survivances de I'ancien Orient dans l'Islam (Consid6rations g6n6rales)," Studia Islamica, 7 (1957), pp. 47-75, especially 53-54; idem, Das Weiter-leben des Alten Orients im Islam (Antrittsvorlesung, Ziirich, 1958), pp. 5-6.

31. See Caskel, above note 28.

32. The earliest testimony seems to be that of Maximus of Tyre and Clement of Alexan-dria; see references in G. E. von Grunebaum, Medieval-Islam (2nd ed., Chicago, 1953), p. 131, n. 89; cf. also A. Bertholet, "Ober kultische Motivvershiebungen," Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil. hist. Klasse, 18 (Berlin, 1938), pp. 164-84, especially pp. 165-69; E. G. Gobert, "Essai sur la Lithoiltrie," Revue africaine, 92 (1948), pp. 24-110, passim; other references in Hen-ninger, Zeitschr. fiir Ethnol., 79 (1954), pp. 103-6; idem, Anthropos, 50 (1955), pp. 107-9; Dussaud, op. cit., pp. 41-42; cf. also Lammens, op. cit., passim; Krehl, op. cit., pp. 69-73.

33. See Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 211-14.

34. See Lagrange, op cit., pp. 16-28, especially pp. 16-18; cf. also W. Schmidt, Der Ursprung der Gouesidee, I (2nd ed., Miinster i. W. 1926), pp. 20-55, 69-133, passim.

35. 1 will mention only some of the most recent ones: Chelhod, Sociologie, pp. 15, 42-62, passim, 77-83, 88-90, 180-81; Gaudefroy-Demombynes, op. cit., pp. 25, 26, 29, 32-33.

36. This theory is found already in Ibn al-Kalbi for some of the gods of pre-Islamic Arabia; see Klinke-Rosenberger, op cit., pp. 56-61. Cf. also Krehl, op. cit., pp. 54-69, passim; A. Lods, La croyance a la vie future et le culte des morts dans I'antiquitg isra,$Iite (Paris, 1906), especially 1, pp. 8-17, 29-31; 11, pp. 101-3, 112-13.

37. Chelhod, Sacrifice, p. 125; idem, Sociologie, pp. 42-43, 180-81.

38. See "La soci6t6 b6douine ancienne" [L'antica s iet4 b d 68].

39. See above, note 13.


41   e utna knome, 1959), p. 85, n.   Lagrange, op. cit., p. 70, cf. Moscati, loc. cit. (above, note 28), p. 122. See W. Schmidt, Der Ursprung der Gottesidee VII-XII.- Die Religionen der Hirtenvdlker (Miinster, 1940-1955; vol. XII, posthumous, edited by F. Bornemann).

42. W. Schmidt, op. cit. 1, pp. 670-74.

43. C. Brockelmann, "Allah und die G6tzen, der Ursprung des islamischen Monotheis- mus," Archiv far Religionswiss., 21 (1922), pp. 99-121.

44. For this brief survey, the references cannot always be given in detail. It is based on the materials used in the publication mentioned above, notes 1-20, and on a study by the author entitled: Das Opfer bei den Arabern. Eine religionsgeschichtliche Studie, and composed of about 450 pages of manuscript. As of the present moment only a sum-mary has been published in French ("Le sacrifice chez les Arabes," Ethnos, 13 (1948) pp. 1-16), and certain parts dealing with specific problems (see the list: Anthropos, 50 (1955), p. 99, n. 113; in addition, see below, notes 81-86).

45. See H. Charles, Le Christianisme des Arabes nomades sur le Limes et dans le d6sert syro-m6opotamien aux alentours de I'H6gire (Paris, 1936).

46. See W. M. Watt, EI, new ed. [French edition] 1, p. 919a (English edition, p. 892b),


47. One must perhaps admit a certain diffusion of Manichaeism, which had a center at Hira, among the Bedouin of the Syrian desert. See U. Monneret de Villard, Annali   Lateranensi, 12 (1948), pp. 169-74, and references cited there. For Parseeism, see Buhl, op. cit., pp. 71-72.

48. See above, note 27.

49. See X. de Planhol, Le Monde islamique (Paris, 1957), pp. 5-45, and the bibliography, ibid., pp. 132-35; Dussaud, op. cit., p. 140.

50. See 1. Goldziher, "Muruwwa und Din" in Muhammedanische studien, I (Halle, 1889), pp. 1-39 [translated into English under the title Muslim Studies, I (London, 1967), pp. 11-441. Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, pp. 20-33 (French translation, pp. 43-46).

51. See the discerning comments of Levi Delia Vida, op. cit., pp. 89-90. It would be easy to list a great number of references emphasizing the strictly limited content of this poetry.

52. See above, note 32.

53. See M. Eliade, Traitt d'histoire des religions (Paris, 1949), pp. 191-210, passim [trans-lated into English under the title Patterns in Comparative Religion (New York, 1963), pp. 216-381; A. Bertholet, W6rterbuch der Religionen (Stuttgart, 1952), see under "Fetischismus"; P. Schebesta, "Fetischismus" in F. K6nig, Religionswissenschaftliches W6rterbuch (Freiburg i. Br., 1956), col. 252-53.

54. Dussaud, op. cit., p. 41, and note 3; cf. also Lagrange, op. cit., pp. 187-216, passim.

55. See above, note 26.

56. See A. Musil, 6sterr. Monatsschrift f~ir den Orient, 43 (1917), p. 164; the same text in English: A. Musil, Northern Negd (New York, 1928), p. 257.

57. Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., p. 213; cf. ibid., pp. 148-60, passim. 58. See Bertholet, W6rterbuch, see under "Animismus"; P. Schebesta, "Animismus," in F. K6nig, op. cit., col. 52-54; J. Goetz, "D5monen," ibid., col. 154-56.

59. See A. Haldar, The Notion of the Desert in Sumero-Accadian and West-Semitic Reli-gions (Uppsala-Leipzig, 1950; summary in Anthropos, 46[1951], p. 624); cf. also Ebel-ing, "Ddmonen" in Reallexikon der Assyriologie, Il (Berlin und Leipzig, 1938), pp. 107a-13a; E. Zbinden, Die Djinn des Islam und der altorientalische Geisterglaube (Bern und Stuttgart, 1953), especially pp. 101-10.

60. For the Bedouin, see A. Musil, The Manners and Customs of the Rwala Bedouins (New York, 1928), pp. 411-17; for the Felldhin: T. Canaan, Aberglaube und Volk-smedizin im Lande der Bibel (Hamburg, 1914), passim; idem, "Haunted Springs and Water Demons in Palestine," Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society, 1 (1920-1921), pp. 153-70; idem, Ddmonenglaube im Lande der Bibel (Leipzig, 1929); W. S. Black-man, The Fellah[n of Upper Egypt (London, 1927; French translation: Les Fellahs de la Haute-Egypte, Paris, 1948); cf. also Henninger, Anthropos, 41-44 (1946-1949), pp. 337-46, especially pp. 343-46, on the diffusion of certain animist beliefs and practices with the introduction of chicken breeding.

61. See W. F. Albright, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 57 (1937), pp. 319-20; 60 (1940), pp. 292-93, with the references cited there.

62. D. Schlumberger, La Palmyr~ne du Nord-Ouest (Paris, 1951), pp. 121-22, 135-37, maintains the priority of the Arabic word jinn and considers that the Palmyran form iny' derives from the former.

63. According to A. Haidar, Associations of Cult Prophets Among the Ancient Semites (Uppsala, 1945), p. 180, the demoting of gods to the level of demons had already begun before Islam.

64. See the references in Henninger, Anthropos, 50 (1955), pp. 130-36; cf. also Bulletin des atudes arabes, 3 (1943), pp. 104-6; M. Rodinson, Journal Asiatique, 240 (1952), pp. 129-32; idem, Comptes rendus sommaires des s~ances de l'Institut Frangais d'Anthropologie, fasc. 7 (1953), pp. 21-24.

65. See the details in my essay on Arab sacrifice, mentioned above, note 44; cf. also Chelhod, Sacrifice, pp. 118-19; idem, Sociologie, pp. 50-52.

66. See 1. Goldziher, "Le culte des anc~tres et le culte des morts chez les Arabes," RHR, 10 (1884), pp. 332-59; idem, "(Jber Todtenverehrung im Heidentum und im Islam," in Muhammedanische Studien, 1, pp. 229-63; (translated into English under the title Muslim Studies, I (London, 1967), pp. 209-38 ("The Veneration of the Dead in Paganism and Islam")]; Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 183-85; Lammens, LArabie Occidentale, pp. 163-79, passim; ]3uhl, op. cit., pp. 78-79; Chelhod, Sacrifice, pp. 101, 106, 118-19; idem, Sociologie, pp. 15, 180-81. On the question of human sacrifice (rather doubtful) in the cult of the dead, see Henninger, Anthropos, 53 (1958), pp. 749-52.

67. In Sociologie, pp. 42-43, Chelhod does not speak of the cult of ancestors; but ibid., pp. 15, 180-81, he places this cult on the same level (palier) with the notion of a diffused and impersonal sacred. This kind of systematization does not appear justified to me.

68. See Buhl, op. cit., pp. 76-77. J. Chelhod's attempt to reconstruct a myth concerning the origins of civilization ("Le monde mythique arabe," Journal de la Societ6 des Africanistes, 24 (1954), pp. 49-61) is not convincing.

69. See Ryckmans, op. cit., pp. 14-18, and the works mentioned above, note 16. Ac-cording to Chelhod, Sociologie, pp. 118-25, in the course of the formation of an Arab national religion, a kind of pantheon developed at Mecca. However that may be, even Chelhod admits that the formation of an Arab national religion followed the adoption of a sedentary mode of life and does therefore not concern Bedouin reli-gion as such.

70. See Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 67, 209; Buhl, op. cit. pp. 76-77; Albright, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 60 (1940), pp. 295-96.

71. Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 211-14.

72. See J. Henninger, "(Jber Sternkunde und Sternkult in Nord und Zentral-arabien, Zeitschr. ffir Ethnol., 79 (1954), pp. 82-117, especially pp. 88-93, 110-15.

73. See Henninger, loc. cit., pp. 93-110, passim, 115-17.

74. See W. Caskel, in Le antiche devinittl semitiche, p. 105.

75. See Henninger, Zeitschr. )"ar Ethnol., 79 (1954), pp. 97-110.

76. See Henninger, loc. cit., pp. 107-10.

77. See Henninger, loc. cit., pp. 99-100, 110. The question of s~olar and lunar cults in central Arabia still remains to be examined in a special study.

78. The fact is too well known to need detailed references. For a succinct account, see Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 217-24, and the article of C. Brockelmann, men-tioned above, note 43; cf. also Paret, op. cit., pp. 15-17, and the references cited, ibid., p. 156.

79. See Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 218-19; opposed to this opinion: Brockelmann, loc. cit., pp. 103-5; Buhl, op. cit., p. 94; Andrae, op. cit., pp. 20-21; Paret, op. cit., p. 17. Cf. also Levi Della Vida, op. cit., pp. 85-92 passim, 116, n. 37; and below, notes 98 and 99.

80. See Brockelmann, loc. cit., pp. 107-8; Smith, Religion, p. I 11; Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., p. 222.

81. See J. Henninger, "(Jber Huhnopfcr und Verwandtcs in Arabicn und seinen Randge- bieten," Anthropos, 41-44 (1946-1949), pp. 337-46.

82. See J. Henninger, "Menschenopfer bei den Arabern," Anthropos, 53 (1958), pp. 721- 805.

83. See J. Henninger, "Zur Frage des Haaropfers bei den Semiten," in Die Wiener Schuleder V61kerkunde. Festschrift anliisslich des 25 jdhrigen Bestandes des Instituts Pr V61kerkunde der Universitdt Wien (1929-1954) (Horn-Wien, 1956), pp. 349-68.

84. See J. Henninger, "Die unblutige Tierweihe der vorislamischen Araber in ethnolo- gischer Sicht," Paideuma, 4 (1950), pp. 179-90.

85. See J. Henninger, "Zum Verbot des Knochenzerbrechens bei den Semiten" in Studi Orientalistici in onore di Giorgio Levi Della Vida (Roma, 1956), 1, pp. 448-58. See J. Henninger, "Les f8tes de printemps chez les Arabes et leurs implications historiques," Revista do Museu Paulista, n.s. 4 (1950), pp. 389-432.

87. See Smith, Religion, p. 80; cf. also ibid., pp. 109-10; Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 121-22, with note 3; Buhl, op. cit., p. 86.

88. See Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., pp. 159-77, passim; Gaudefroy-Demombynes, op. cit., pp. 39-44.

89. Cf. above: "La socidt6 b6douine ancienne," n. 62.

90. Cf. above: "La soci6t6 bddouine ancienne," n. 61.

91. See the references in Henninger, Anthropos, 50 (1955), pp. 119-21; Chelhod, Sacri-fice, p. 169, writes: "He (i.e. the pre-Islamic priest) was the guardian of the temple as well as the sacrificer, as one may easily determine from the root sadana which gives stidin, priest, and sad[ne, grease, blood, wool." In this context he refers to my article in Ethnos, 13 (1948), p. 12 (see above, note 44), where I say quite clearly that the sadin was not a sacrificer. The etymological argument does not seem to prove the contrary. On Chelhod's linguistic method in general, see the references in Henninger, Anthropos, 53 (1958), p. 795, n. 339.

92. See Smith, Religion, p. 143; A. J. Wensinck, Some Semitic Rites of Mouming and Religion (Amsterdam, 1917), p. 74; Levi Della Vida, op. cit., p. 116, n. 39.

93. See E. 0. James, The Nature and Function of Priesthood (London, 1955; German

translation: Das Priestertum, Wesen und Funktion [Wiesbaden, 19511).

94. See Levi Della Vida, op. cit., pp. 87-89, 96, 116, n. 39; W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity (Baltimore, 1940), pp. 18-19 (according to Morgenstern, op. cit., p. 58, n. 82; German translation: Von der Steinzeit zum Christentum (Bern, 1949), p. 32; French translation: De I'dge de la pierre a la chrotiente [Paris 19511 p. 26).

95. Albright, op. cit. (English translation), p. 47; cf. the German translation pp. 32, 409, n. 34; cf. also Lagrange, op. cit., p. 218. Morgenstern, op. cit., p. 58, n. 82, would be disposed to concede the borrowing of this word, but on the other hand, he maintaiff-k that among all the Semites the soothsayer preceded the priest as we understand him today.

96. See Lammens, LArabie Occidentale, pp. 103-4, 106-10, 112-25, 132-41; Morgen-stern, op. cit., pp. 58-61, 64; Haldar, Associations of Cult Prophets, pp. 161-9F passim, especially pp. 190-93, 195-97; Henninger, Anthropos, 50 (1955), p. 121, n. 189.

97. See W. Schmidt, Der Ursprung der Gottesidee, XII (1955), pp. 615-759; M. Eliade, Le Chamanisme et les techniques archaiques de 1'extase (Paris, 1951) [translated into Englis~. under the title Shamanism (Bollingen Series LXXVI, New York, 1964)1; D. Schr6der. "Zur Struktur des Schamanismus," Anthropos, 50 (1955), pp. 948-81; H. Findeisen. Schamanentum (Zurich-Wien, 1957); J. P. Roux, "Le nom du chaman dans les texte, turco-mongols," Anthropos, 53 (1958), pp. 133-42; idem, "Ei6ments Chamanique! dans les textes prd-mongols," Anthropos, 53 (1958), pp. 441-56; idem, "Le Chamar gengiskhanide," Anthropos, 54 (1959), pp. 49-80, and the literature mentioned in thesc articles.

98. See A. Brelich, in Le Antiche divinita semitiche, pp. 135-40, especially pp. 136, 139 140.

99. On this process in general, see H. Ringgren, Word and Wisdom. Studies in the Hypos-talizadon of Divine Qualities and Functions in the Ancient Near East (Lund, 1947); cf. the recensions of 0. Eissfeldt, Theol. Literatur-Zeitung, 76 (1951), col. 154-55 and of J. Henninger, Anthropos, 46 (1951), pp. 646-47.

100. See Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, pp. 24-25, on "tribal humanism" (cf. also p. 23). Although the decadence of the archaic religion (ibid. 9 pp. 23-24) is an incontestable fact, this author (like others) perhaps goes too far in the separation of this ethic from religion; see Th. N61deke, " 'Gottesfurcht' bei den alten Arabern," Archiv )Wr Religi-onswiss., 1 (1898), pp. 361-63; Wellhausen, Reste, 2nd ed., p. 224; Brockelmann, Archiv far Religionswiss., 21 (1922), pp. 113-14; Lammens, LArabie Occidentale, p. 229; Buhl, op. cit., pp. 90-91; cf. also above, note 51.

(Studies on Islam, edited by Merlin L. Swartz, Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger, 1981, p 3-22)


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