‘Perf 558’ – The Earliest Surviving Text from the Islamic Era

The cover story in the Review section of Saturday’s Guardian was entitled ‘The fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Islam’. The article talked about a fascinating papyrus ‘Perf 558’ which I had not heard of previously – it is apparently the oldest known surviving text from the Islamic era. It was discovered in Egypt and is a tax receipt dated to the year 22 of the Islamic era (642 C.E). The text is in both Greek and in Arabic and begins with the Islamic formula ‘In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.’

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