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have accomplished the mighty mission which Mahomet wrought. But notwithstanding such blemishes, the work displays incredible research, and is a perfect treasure-house of materials for the study, not only of the lives of Mahomet and his contemporaries, but of the religious, social, and literary development of the early Moslem empire. 

It is not our intention, on the present occasion, to review this treatise as a whole, but simply the Essay prefixed to the third volume, in which the nature and value of the materials for the life of Mahomet, and specially of Tradition, are discussed. The work abounds throughout with prelections and digressions which, though valuable in themselves, often check and disturb the flow of the history. But the Preface we are now to consider forms a detached and independent piece, filling 180 closely-printed pages. And it appears to us to be perhaps the most valuable portion of the whole work.

We make no apology in presenting the subject to our readers. It may be dry to most, and (from our imperfect treatment) heavy. But the origin and development of the faith of so many millions around us, and the traditional basis and evidence of the things most surely believed among them, cannot be devoid of interest, and, though perhaps difficult to treat attractively, should not on that account be cast aside. 

The materials bearing on the rise of Islam are divided by Sprenger into five classes: the Coran; Biographies of the Prophet; the Sunna or Tradition proper; Commentaries on the Coran; Genealogies. There is a sixth, namely, Original documents copied by the Collectors of tradition; but these are known to us only by means of Tradition, and do not properly form a separate class. The genuineness of the CORAN, and its bearing on the life of Mahomet, have already been discussed at length in this Periodical, and need not therefore again be dwelt upon.1 But the other subjects, which are also of the deepest interest, we propose to bring under the notice of our Readers. 

The peculiar treatment of Sprenger may be illustrated by one

1 [The Articles here referred to, have to a great extent formed the basis of the preliminary chapters of my Life of Mabomet.—W.M. ]


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