Gabriel Said REYNOLDS

Theology, University of Notre-Dame, United-States

Fellowship : October 2016 to June 2017

Discipline(s) : Theology

Pays : United States

Project research : "God of Vengeance and Mercy: On the Qurʾan’s Theology in Relation to Jewish and Christian Tradition"

Much has been made of the rhetoric of the Qurʾan on divine retribution. In a number of different chapters (“Suras”), including especially 7, 11, and 26, the Qurʾan relates a series of accounts which involve God’s destruction of a people who refuse to listen to the prophets sent to them. The Qurʾan in places emphasizes the vengeful nature of God, calling him “the possessor of retribution” (dhū al-intiqām) and “quick to judge” (sarīʿ al-ḥisāb). At the same time the Qurʾan also insists that God is merciful and compassionate (al-raḥmān al-raḥīm) and reports that his "mercy encompasses all things" (7:156). In this project, Gabriel Said Reynolds will investigate the juxtaposition of mercy and vengefulness in the Qurʾan in the light of pre-Qurʾanic Jewish and (especially) Christian literature. He will illustrate how this juxtaposition is not unique to the Qurʾan; indeed in Exodus (34:6-7) God is “slow to anger” and yet lets “nothing go unchecked.” Similarly, the Syriac fathers emphasize the mercy of God manifested in the sacrificial act of the crucifixion even as they insist that God will punish those who reject Christ. In his project he will examine the Biblical subtext of the Qurʾan which might allow academic scholars today to see the juxtaposition of mercy and vengeance as part of a longer debate which joins together different religious traditions.


Gabriel Said REYNOLDS researches the Qur’ān and Muslim/Christian relations and is Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame, USA. At Notre Dame he teaches courses on theology, Christian-Muslim Relations, and Islamic Origins. He is the author of The Qur’ān and Its Biblical Subtext (Routledge 2010) and The Emergence of Islam (Fortress, 2012), the translator of ʿAbd al-Jabbar’s Critique of Christian Origins (BYU 2008), and editor of The Qur’ān in Its Historical Context (Routledge 2008) and New Perspectives on the Qur’ān: The Qur’ān in Its Historical Context 2 (Routledge 2011). In 2012-13 Prof. Reynolds directed, along with Mehdi Azaiez, “The Qurʾān Seminar,” a year-long collaborative project dedicated to encouraging dialogue among scholars of the Qurʾān. He is currently Chair of the Executive Board of the International Qurʾanic Studies Association (IQSA) and completing a book (Yale Univ. Press) on the Qurʾan in the light of Biblical tradition.

Major publications

REYNOLDS, Gabriel Said. The Qurʾan in Conversation with the Bible: Revised Qurʾan Translation of Ali Quli Qaraʾi annotated with Biblical Texts and Commentary by Gabriel Said Reynolds. Under contract with Yale University Press (publication expected 2017).

REYNOLDS, Gabriel Said.The Qurʾan Seminar Commentary (editor and contributor). Berlin: De Gruyter, forthcoming.

REYNOLDS, Gabriel Said.The Emergence of Islam. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012. 226 pages. Arabic translation: Nashūʾ al-Islam. Trans. Saʿd Saʿdī and ʿAbd al-Masīḥ Saʿdī. Beirut: Dar al-Machreq, forthcoming.

REYNOLDS, Gabriel Said. New Perspectives on the Qurʾān: The Qurʾān in Its Historical Context 2.Introduced and Edited. London: Routledge, 2011. 536 pages.

REYNOLDS, Gabriel Said.The Qurʾān and Its Biblical Subtext. London: Routledge, 2010.304 pages.