This accessible study is the first critical investigation of the cult of saints among Muslims and Jews in medieval Syria and the Near East. Through case studies of saints and their devotees, discussion of the architecture of monuments, examination of devotional objects, and analysis of ideas of 'holiness', Meri depicts the practices of living religion and explores the common heritage of all three monotheistic faiths. Critical readings of a wide range of contemporary sources - travel writing, geographical works, pilgrimage guides, legal writings, historical sources, hagiography, and biography - reveal a vibrant religious culture in which the veneration of saints and pilgrimage to tombs and shrines were fundamental.
Josef Meri holds the doctorate from the University of Oxford (Wolfson College) and is a specialist in the social and cultural history of the medieval Islamic world and interfaith relations and is an historian of ideas. He is presently at work on a book entitled Sacred Landscapes of the Medieval Islamic World and is serving as General Editor of the forthcoming Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia.