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Patricia Crone

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Title: Patricia Crone  
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Subject: History of the Quran, Criticism of Islam, Islam: The Untold Story, Historiography of early Islam, Islamic studies by author (non-Muslim or academic)
Collection: 1945 Births, 2015 Deaths, Alumni of Soas, University of London, American Academics, American Orientalists, American People of Danish Descent, Cancer Deaths in New Jersey, Danish Academics, Danish Expatriates in England, Danish Expatriates in the United States, Fellows of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Fellows of Jesus College, Oxford, Historians of Islam, Institute for Advanced Study Faculty, Living People, Non-Muslim Islamic Scholars, People from Lejre Municipality
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Patricia Crone

Patricia Crone
Born (1945-03-28)March 28, 1945
Kyndeløse Sydmark, Rye Parish, Lejre Municipality, Denmark
Died July 11, 2015(2015-07-11) (aged 70)
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
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 (March 28, 1945 – July 11, 2015) was a Danish-American author, scholar, orientalist, and historian, specializing in early Islamic history.[1]

She worked from 1997 until her retirement in 2014 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.[2]


  • Career 1
  • Bibliography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Crone was born in Kyndeløse, Roskilde, Denmark, on March 28, 1945.[3] After taking the forprøve, or preliminary exam, at Copenhagen University, she went to Paris to learn French, and then to London where she determined to get into a university to become fluent in English. In 1974 she earned her PhD at the University of London, where she was a Senior Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute until 1977. She was accepted as an occasional student at Kings College London and followed a course in medieval European history, especially church-state relations. 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 and held several positions at Cambridge.[4] She served as University Lecturer in Islamic studies from 1992 to 1994, and as Reader in Islamic history from 1994-97. In 1997, she was appointed to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she was named as Andrew W. Mellon Professor. From 2002 until her death in 2015, she was a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Social Evolution & History.[5]

In their book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (1977), Crone and her associate Michael Cook, working at The School of Oriental Studies, London 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.[6]

In her book Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam (1987), Crone argued that the importance of the pre-Islamic Meccan trade has been grossly exaggerated. She also suggested 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.[6]

Beginning as a scholar of early military and economic history of the Middle East, Crone's later career focused mainly on "the Qur’an and the cultural and religious traditions of Iraq, Iran, and the formerly Iranian part of Central Asia".[7]

She died on July 11, 2015, aged 70, from cancer.[8]


Sole author

  • Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity (1980); ISBN 0-521-52940-9
  • Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam (1987); ISBN 1-59333-102-9
  • Roman, Provincial and Islamic Law : The Origins of the Islamic Patronate (1987, Paperback: 2002); ISBN 0-521-52949-2
  • Pre-Industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Pre-Modern World (2003); ISBN 1-85168-311-9
  • God's Rule: Government and Islam - Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought (2004). Columbia University Press; ISBN 0-231-13290-5/ISBN 0-231-13291-3.
  • Medieval Islamic Political Thought (2005). Edinburgh University Press; ISBN 0-7486-2194-6
  • From Arabian Tribes to Islamic Empire : Army, State and Society in the Near East c. 600–850 (2008); ISBN 978-0-7546-5925-9
  • The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism (2012). Cambridge University Press; ISBN 978-1107018792


  • with M.A. Cook, Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (1977); ISBN 0-521-29754-0
  • with Martin Hinds, God's Caliph: Religious Authority in the First Centuries of Islam (2003; orig. 1986); ISBN 0-521-54111-5
  • with Shmuel Moreh, The Book of Strangers: Medieval Arabic Graffiti on the Theme of Nostalgia (1999) Princeton Series on the Middle-East; ISBN 978-1558762152


  • Patricia Crone, "What do we actually know about Mohammed?", Open Democracy, June 10, 2008.
  • Patricia Crone, "'Jihad': idea and history", Open Democracy, April 30, 2007.


  1. ^ "Library of Congress Authorities".  
  2. ^ "Institute for Advanced Study: Faculty and Emeriti".  
  3. ^ Obituary,; accessed July 23, 2015.
  4. ^ 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".
  5. ^ websiteSocial Evolution & History; accessed July 17, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Sean Gannon (December 4, 2008). "The gospel truth?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved December 9, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Patricia Crone", Institute for Advanced Study
  8. ^ Profile,; accessed July 17, 2015.

External links

  • Institute for Advanced Study: Faculty and Emeriti: Crone
  • God's RuleReview: , Columbia University Press
  • Patricia Crone, "The Rise of Islam", Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, section beginning at page 231, dealing with rise of Islam as reaction to Byzantine and Persian influence in Arabia, hosted at Fordham University.
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