Talking Points: Patricia Crone on Arabia

Arabia seems to have been a much more developed place than most Islamicists (myself included) had ever suspected—not just in the north and south, but also in the middle. We are beginning to get a much more nuanced sense of the place, and again it is clear that we should think of it as more closely tied in with the rest of the Near East than we used to do. The inscriptional record is expanding, too. With every bit of certainty we gain on one problem, the range of possible interpretations in connection with others contracts, making for a better sense of where to look for solutions and better conjectures where no evidence exists.”Patricia Crone, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the School of Historical Studies, in “What do we actually know about Mohammed?