In a previous post I provided a translation of a Latin dissertation/essay by the Swedish orientalist Matthias Norberg on the Druze sect. This post provides a translation of another Latin-language dissertation/essay by Norberg, in which he assesses the character of the Prophet Muhammad. Norberg begins by arguing that portraits of Muhammad have been tainted either by uncritical adulation of Muslims or fanatical hostility of Christians. Thus the author purports to offer a more nuanced take.
Norberg shows admiration for Muhammad's prudence and astuteness- qualities without which he could not have achieved his accomplishments. Yet the portrait is also decisively negative: in essence, Muhammad is portrayed as a Machiavellian figure, who devised the religion after careful study of the people around him, and put on a display of being persecuted and exiled in order to bolster his own prestige and standing among his followers. Once he was in Medina, the author argues, his restraints were loosened, and thus his worst deeds became apparent in the pursuit of power and fulfilment of lust.
I would like to dedicate this translation and overview to my friend @MosulEye, a fellow historian from Mosul now teaching in Europe.
Note, as before, that in translating Norberg's footnotes, I have translated his Latin translations rather than the original Arabic text when supplied.
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