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Gabriel Said Reynolds
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)
God of Vengeance and Mercy: On the Qur'an's Theology in Relation to Jewish and Christian Tradition

A book-length study of the interplay between vengeance and mercy in the Qur'an and its roots in Judaism and Christianity.

The Qur'an describes its God as a "possessor of revenge" (dhu l-intiqam) and relates numerous accounts of God's vengeance against those who refuse to believe in God and God's messengers. At the same time the Qur'an insists that God is merciful, indeed that God's mercy "encompasses all things" (Q 7:156). In this book project I will discuss the way in which this interplay between vengeance and mercy in the Qur'an has roots in Jewish and Christian discussions of the "God of vengeance" (Psalm 94:1). In light of this discussion I will examine how later Muslim commentators understand the notion of God's right to avenge himself and in particular the question of when and why God forgoes that right in order to show mercy, even on unbelievers. I will emphasize in the conclusion how certain currents of Islamic theological thought see the mysteriousness of divine mercy as an argument against militant activism.

Project fields:
History of Religion

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2016 – 6/30/2017