Robert Hoyland is a scholar and historian, specializing in the medieval history of the Middle East . He is a former student of historian Patricia Crone and was a Leverhulme Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford . He is currently Professor of Islamic History at the Oriental Institute at the University of Oxford , having previously been a Professor at the University of St. Andrews.
His research interests include: relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the pre-modern Middle East; the links between identity, religion and ethnicity (in particular, the forging of an Arab identity) in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic period; the transmission of knowledge from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the reforging of that knowledge by Muslim scholars; the change in material culture from the Ancient world to the Islamic world and the emergence of an Islamic style of art and architecture; and the use of Arabic inscriptions for understanding Islamic history and culture.
Hoyland's best-known work Seeing Islam As Others Saw It is a contribution to early Islamic historiography, being a survey of non-Muslim eye witness accounts of that period.
Seeing Islam as Others Saw it. A survey and analysis of the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian writings on Islam (Darwin; Princeton, 1997).
Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam (Routledge; London, 2001).
Muslims and Others in early Islamic society (Ashgate; Aldershot, 2004).
ed. with Dr. Philip Kennedy, Islamic Reflections and Arabic Musings (Oxbow; Oxford, 2004).
with Brian Gilmour: Swords and Swordmakers in Medieval Islam (Oxbow; Oxford, 2004).
with Simon Swain et al., Seeing the face, seeing the soul. The art of physiognomy in the Classical and Islamic Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2007).
Selected chapters and articles
‘The content and context of early Arabic inscriptions', Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 21 (1997).
'The earliest christian writings on Muhammad: an appraisal' in H. Motzki ed., The Biography of Muhammad (Leiden, 2000).
'Epigraphy', 10,000-word entry in Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an (Leiden, 2002).
‘Language and Identity: the twin histories of Arabic and Aramaic', Scripta Israelica Classica 23 (2003).
"History, Fiction and Authorship in the first centuries of Islam"; Writing and Representation in Medieval Islam; Julia Bray (ed); Routledge; 16-46 (2006)
"New Documentary Texts and the Early Islamic State"; Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies; 69(3):395-416 (2006)
“The Byzantine and Early Islamic Settlement of Khirbat Shuwayka”, http: www. webjournal.unior.it 11 (2006) – co-author with Marwan Abu Khalaf, Ibrahim Abu A‘mar and S. al-Houdaliyeh.
Epigraphy and the Linguistic Background to the Qur’an” in G.S. Reynolds ed., Towards a New Interpretation of the Qur’an 1 (London, Routledge, 2007).
“Writing the Biography of the Prophet: Problems and Solutions”, History Compass 5 (2007).
“Arab kings, Arab tribes and the beginnings of Arab historical memory in Late Roman Epigraphy” in H. Cotton, R. Hoyland, J. Price and D. Wasserstein eds, From Hellenism to Islam: Cultural and Linguistic Change in the Roman Near East (Cambridge, 2009).
“Late Roman Provincia Arabia, Monophysite Monks and Arab tribes: a problem of centre and periphery”, Semitica et Classica 2 (2009).