The Prophetic Vocation in the Qur’an: Kerygmatic and Theonomic Visions of Prophetology

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation examines the Qur’an’s presentation of the function and authority of prophets; that is, its construction of definitions of prophethood, which I refer to as its prophetology. The dissertation’s core thesis is that the Qur’an does not have just one vision of prophetology—rather it evinces two primary paradigms of the prophetic vocation. I refer to these as the Qur’an’s “kerygmatic” and “theonomic” paradigms of prophethood. First I situate the Qur’an’s broader presentation of prophethood within the history of prophetic activity as a whole and demonstrate its connection to developments within the context of Late Antiquity. Second I outline the contours of these two paradigms. I argue that its sequential recollection of earlier prophetic figures (what I call “messenger-reports”)—the building blocks of much of the kerygmatic paradigm—suggest a typological reading of prophets as preachers of an eschatological message, but also demonstrate a certain adaptability in its understanding of prophethood. The kerygmatic paradigm itself is also constructed through a set of recurrent motifs that limit the role of prophets to proclaiming this eschatological message. The theonomic vision, however, emphasizes the authority of a prophet over his community, delineating communal and legal norms, directing his community in armed struggles, and emphasizing the centrality of his person and status.


Attribute NameValues
Author Andrew J. O'Connor
Contributor Gabriel Said Reynolds, Research Director
Contributor Abraham Winitzer, Committee Member
Contributor Mun'im Sirry, Committee Member
Contributor Nicolai Sinai, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Theology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Banner Code

Defense Date
  • 2019-03-27

Submission Date 2019-04-08
  • Prophethood

  • Islam

  • Prophecy

  • Qur'an

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record


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