Happy new year to all of you and thanks for all the interesting references.
I have been so lucky to borrow from my library, Routledge Handbook on Early Islam, 2018. I recommend it very much. It has helped me a lot in understanding early Islam. There are articles here by Fred Donner, Nicolai Sinai, Herbert Berg, Stephen Shoemaker, David Cook, Markus Gross, Pavel Pavlovich and others.
The article by Pavlovich on the sira is on the internet and it is interesting. He writes this in his conclusion:
".... A stringent methodology of studying the literary sources such as isnad-cum-matn analysis
has brought us to the end of the l st century AH; attempts to cross this "magic threshold" have
so far produced ambiguous results. Study of numi_smatic and epigraphic evidence suggests,
quite objectively, that the figure of Mu]:iammad was infused with a new-found religious and
political significance in the 680s, but, unfortunately, the present state of our data and scholarly
rn.ethods of studying early Islam can barely establish a bridge to the 620s or earlier. "....
..... At the present stage of our knowledge, we may assert that the Arabian prophet was a historical figure, that he unleashed sweeping conquests, and that he led an eschatological community of a hybrid nature, comprising his followers alongside Jews and possibly Christians. But this is probably the farthest point
to which positivist inroads into the Prophet's lifetime can presently take us."
Do you have any comments on these quotes?
You can download the article here: https://www.academia.edu/34914728/The_Sira_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%B1%D8%A9_%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%A8%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%A9_