Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE

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Arabs (anthropology)
(1,714 words)

Arab” (in anthropology) is a primarily ethnic term denoting a people defined by a common language and putative common descent. As with all such terms, the historical transformation of the meaning of the word ʿarab has been a continuous process, even as contemporary Arab nationalists, like their counterparts elsewhere, ascribe to the term a distant antiquity and an unchanging identity. Usage of the term ʿarab in late pre-Islamic (Ar. jāhilī) poetry suggests that it referred primarily to the tribes speaking Semitic languages of the Arabian Peninsula. Qurʾānic usag…

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Eickelman, Dale F., “Arabs (anthropology)”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Devin J. Stewart. Consulted online on 15 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_24947>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: 9789004252684, 2013, 2013-3

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