Introduction In Yūsuf Zaydān’s bestseller, ‘Azāzīl, the main character quarrels with the demons of his conscience, stating, “Did God create man or vice versa? What do you mean? Each era mankind creates a god of his own predilection, and this god always comes to represent his unreachable hopes and dreams.”1 In the fifth century CE, Hībā was an Egyptian monk whose insecurity about Christian dogma, conscious support for Nestorius (d. 451 CE) before his excommunication, and an affair with a Syrian woman lead him to self-conflict and ultimately tormented him with demonic visions. His conflicted character and the tumultuous days in which he lived leading up to the Church schism in many ways paved the way for the emergence of Islam and the teachings of the Qur’ān. Zaydān, the director of the Manuscript Center at the Bibliotheca Alexandria who spent many years researching a 30-page Syriac manuscript excavated in Aleppo, was finally inspired to write a novel dramatizing the sectarian conflict, dogmatism, and political instability found within the manuscripts which-more importantly-characterized the Near East in the “late antique period” (180-632 CE; see Table 4).2 More specifically, by Near East is meant Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Persia, and Anatolia (see Figure 1.1).