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The Qur’An’S Communal Ideology: Rhetoric And Representation In Scripture And Early Historiography
This study of the Qurʾān is grounded in both linguistic and literary approaches, adapted to account for the text's particularities. The crucial underlying assumption of this thesis is that the Qurʾān constitutes a closed text-one with a distinct pre-classical context, a unique literary logic, and an evolving, albeit coherent, internal ideology. In this study, the synchronic investigation of Qurʾānic data, without recourse to its early Muslim mediations, attempts to elucidate how the Qurʾān's polemical program is contingent on various late ancient Near Eastern discourses on communal election and soteriological legitimacy. A secondary part of this work addresses diachronic questions about the development of a Muslim communal consciousness as represented in early historiography. These early parenthetical literatures mediate the Qurʾān's multivalent concept of the salvific community (ummah) into novel statements of communal boundary-making. The textual focus of this thesis is a complex cluster of verses at the heart of the second sura, the Ummah Pericope: Q2:104[-]152. This pericope, which forms a distinct thematic and formal unit within the sura, is the Qurʾān's most explicit expression of communalism, as expressed through the original category ummah. The pericope is comprised of a series of polemical engagements with interlocutors along three broad and overlapping modalities of communal consciousness and boundary-making. It presents the ummah as a juridical entity: individuals or groups constitute an ummah when they adhere to the dīn-an ahistorical category with permeable boundaries; as a prophetological entity: individuals or groups constitute an ummah when they are direct or vicarious recipients of nubuwwa-a semi-historical category with somewhat permeable boundaries and as a genealogical entity: individuals or groups constitute an ummah when they share patrimony-a historical category with impermeable boundaries. This thesis' study of the Ummah Pericope, and more broadly the second sura, shows that the Qurʾān's polemical negotiations of various late ancient communal theologies cannot be reduced to any single supersessionary statement. Rather, the Qurʾān's polemical program is made up of a heterogeneous set of codes that subvert, contest, co-opt and re-appropriate aspects of late ancient Jewish and Christian sectarian discourses into an emergent ideological agenda, anticipating the formation of a distinct salvific community-an ummah.
Quran; Early Islam; Late Antiquity
Powers, David Stephan
Brann, Ross; Toorawa, Shawkat M.; Reynolds, Gabriel Said
Near Eastern Studies
Ph.D. of Near Eastern Studies
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis