Teresa Bernheimer

Published On


Page Range

pp. 172–190


  • English

Print Length

19 pages

Revisiting Lists in Early Islamic Historiography

Lists form a crucial part of early Islamic historiography: they provide the broad frameworks of organisation of the sources, and are ubiquitous in their content. Bernheimer’s contribution re-examines lists in early Islamic historiographical works as textual practice, that is, as a form of textual communication that is integral to scholarly writing and the creation of a historical narrative. Lists are not simply enumerations of people, events, or tax payments, but an important narrative strategy in the overall historiographic project of early Islam. Understanding lists as textual practice highlights their importance in the forging of a new cultural narrative and memory, and their function as a principal scholarly form. The chapter recapitulates how lists have thus far been understood in the scholarship, and offers some alternative perspectives, before two examples of lists in some of the main Arabic historiographical works of the ninth century ce are examined in more detail—lists of those who died in the battle of the Ḥarra, and the administrative lists for the reign of ʿAbd al-Malik.


Teresa Bernheimer


Teresa Bernheimer (D.Phil Oxford 2007) is postdoctoral fellow at LMU Munich on the project Beyond Conflict and Coexistence. The Entangled History of Jewish-Arab Relations funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). She is a historian of the Middle East with a particular interest in the formation of Islam in the context of late antiquity and beyond, on which she has published several books and articles. From 2019-2022 she was spokesperson of the CAS LMU research group Textual Practices in the Pre-Modern World: Texts and Ideas between Aksum, Constantinople, and Baghdad, together with Ronny Vollandt.