I am interested in finding out more about the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Not from the point of view of their followers, but from good scholarly sources which discuss independent sources for the history of the early periods of these religions as well as the history of the Bible and the Quran (based on analysis of their text as well as the history of their compilation etc.) I would like to know what events in the Bible we can confirm independently, for example. I understand that we cannot independently say anything one way or the other about quite a few of the events in the Bible as well as early Muslim history.
A couple of articles related to the Quran were in the NY Times and the Atlantic some time ago. However, one of the biggest problems I have found when searching for material on this topic is that of the author’s bias. There are usually two kinds of people writing in this area: those whose aim is to refute the religion (for example, here), and those who want to defend it (an example is here). Usually, both these groups make outrageous claims. As someone who believes in one’s religion but is not overly religious, I find both approaches highly problematic and not intellectually honest.
I suppose doing research and writing on Islam in this context has also become very difficult in recent years due to the profileration of fatwas for blasphemy that got started with Salman Rushdie. It probably is much easier to write about the history of Judaism and Christianity.
If anyone (Bill Allison, are you reading?) has any reading recommendations, please let me know.