Tynan Kelly

Teaching Fellow
PhD, University of Chicago, 2021

I am a scholar of Arabic literature and linguistics who studies how the reception and conception of this language influenced the emergence and development of Islam as a religion and civilization. My current book project, Prophetic Eloquence as Precedent, examines the role the Prophet Muhammad’s speech (i.e., ḥadīth) played in the formation of Islamic historical, dogmatic, and theological consciousness. It addresses the problems of what Arabic(s?) the Prophet Muhammad was reported to have spoken and what this meant for the historical authentication of his dicta; the interplay of ḥadīth’s narrative and linguistic features in legal and exegetical hermeneutics; and the purpose of its rhetorical agency in Muslim theological conceptions of humankind’s lingual relationship with the divine. The interdisciplinary nature of this research necessitates an interdisciplinary approach; thus, in my work I draw from theories of linguistic anthropology, aesthetics, and narratology.

Working Papers:

A Diglossic Qaṣīdah by a 19th Century Druze Woman (submitted)

A Sea-Change in Qurʾānic Hermeneutics: Ḥadīth Citation in al-Farrāʾ’s (d. 207/822) Maʿānī l-Qurʾān (in preparation)

Explicit Matn Criticism in Gharīb al-ḥadīth: Language and Sunnah According to Abū ʿUbayd and Ibn Qutaybah (in preparation)

The Qirāʾāt of the Prophet: Limits of Dialectal Malleability in 8th-10th century Qurʾānic Recitation (in preparation)