Maxime Rodinson

French historian, sociologist and orientalist (1915–2004)

Maxime Rodinson (French pronunciation: [ʁɔdɛ̃sɔ̃]; 26 January 1915 – 23 May 2004) was a French historian and sociologist. Ideologically a Marxist, Rodinson was a prominent authority oriental studies. He was the son of a Russian-Polish clothing trader and his wife, who both were murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp. After studying oriental languages, he became a professor of Ge'ez at the École pratique des hautes études. He was the author of a body of work, including the book Muhammad, a biography of the prophet of Islam.

Maxime Rodinson (1970)


  • May any Muslims who happen to read these lines forgive my plain speaking. For them the Koran is the book of Allah and I respect their faith. But I do not share it and I do not wish to fall back, as many orientalists have done, on equivocal phrases to disguise my real meaning. This may perhaps be of assistance in remaining on good terms with individuals and governments professing Islam; but I have no wish to deceive anyone. Muslims have every right not to read the book or to acquaint themselves with the ideas of a non-Muslim, but if they do so, they must expect to find things put forward there which are blasphemous to them. It is evident that I do not believe that the Koran is the book of Allah.
    • Maxime Rodinson quoted in Why I Am Not a Muslim (1995), Ibn Warraq
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