The Venture of Islam has been honored as a magisterial work of the mind since its publication in early 1975. In this three-volume study, illustrated with charts and maps, Hodgson traces and interprets the historical development of Islamic civilization from before the birth of Muhammad to the middle of the twentieth century. This work grew out of the famous course on Islamic civilization that Hodgson created and taught for many years at the University of Chicago.
In the second work of this three-volume set, Hodgson investigates the establishment of an international Islamic civilization through about 1500. This includes a theoretical discussion of cultural patterning in the Islamic world and the Occident.
“This is a nonpareil work, not only because of its command of its subject but also because it demonstrates how, ideally, history should be written.”—The New Yorker
The Venture of Islam, Volume 2: The Expansion of Islam in the Middle Periods
2 thoughts on “The Venture of Islam, Volume 2: The Expansion of Islam in the Middle Periods”
This book’s chapters are dense. Of the three volumes of The Venture of Islam, however, it is the one that has held up the best under modern scholarship.
Rating: 5 / 5
This review really applies to all three volumes. Hodgson’s work is not for those new to Islamic studies, and his writing style is complex. Few are the sentences that lack at least one subjunctive clause. But his adoption of key Arabic terms in his narrative; his broad geographic sweep, from Andalusia and the Sahel through Nile and Oxus to India and Indonesia; and his comprehensive consideration of political, social, religious, cultural, and economic aspects of civilization make for a series as broad and deep as this student of history could want. It took me several years to read the whole set, as only recently did I have enough interest in the artistic and philisophic (falsafah) traditions.
Rating: 5 / 5