The third edition builds on the strengths of the second by preserving its essential shape while adding several important new texts—including works by Augustine, Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Anselm, al-Fārābī, al-Ghazālī, Ibn Rushd, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and John Duns Scotus—and featuring new translations of many others. The volume has also been redesigned and its bibliographies updated with the needs of a new generation of students in mind.
"What sets this text apart from many others is its focus on the socioeconomic, political, and cultural milieu in which a new religious movement was born and has thrived; its discussion of the origins of Islamic law, spirituality and theology, mysticism, philosophy, and culture; and an appendix of individual page-length biographies of important figures. Also included is a helpful glossary of terms, a 'photo essay,' selections from primary sources, and an annotated bibliography. . . . Gordon's discussion of the sociocultural origins and authority of the Qur'an is very good. He also highlights an area of Islamic studies often ignored in general introduction, the role of urbanization in the development of Islamic civilization worldwide. . . . [T]his is a very useful and informative general introduction."