Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths

William Morrow

Bruce Feiler

Central Theme
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all flow from Abraham through whom all nations will be blessed and in Abraham the three can find common ground and workable dialogue.

A few years ago Bruce Feiler headed out on a journey to the Middle East and wrote what became a best seller, Walking the Bible. In the aftermath of 911, with a new awareness of religious tensions in the world, this new book serves as a provocative exploration of three religious traditions all sharing in common the ancient patriarch Abraham.

The search for the ¢â‚¬Ëœhistorical Abraham’ is a maddening one because there is no archaeological record and the Biblical account provides nothing of his childhood or background, He arrives on the scene at 70+ and is called by God into a special relationship. This covenant makes demands and offers promises to Abraham “through whom God will bless all nations.” In each of the three major religions Abraham’s response to God’s call is interpreted differently; Abraham starts a religious pilgrimage (Jewish), moves out in faith (Christian) and submits to God (Islam).

Moving from the call, Feiler looks at Ishmael and Isaac, the other pivotal issues in Abraham’s life and shows how Judaism, Christianity and Islam each have moved from an inclusivistic reading of Abraham to an exclusivistic one.

Despite the divisiveness of fundamentalism, the exclusivistic movements with all three major religions and the absolutely exclusivistic claims of Jesus, Feiler sees Abraham as the vast underground aquifer stretching under all three major religions.The Abraham Feiler advocates is a bridge between humanity and the divine; He is not Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

The nagging question for the Christian is why would the world want to unite around Abraham, who is dead, instead of Jesus, who is alive?

Beliefs num
–Three major monotheistic world religions share Abraham in common.
–This common ground is the basis for an ecumenical bridge building among the three faith traditions.
–Each tradition started with an inclusive Abraham and gravitated towards exclusivity.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–How important is Abraham in your own religious tradition?
–Can Abraham be the basis for a unifying effect among the three word religions?

Provocative Quotes byline
–To live in Jerusalem is to feel more alive, more yourself. It’s an honor, but it’s a burden too.
==Avner Goren.
–The defining spiritual fact of Jerusalem is this: Any panorama, any camera angle, any genuflection that encompasses one of these holy places will necessarily include at least on of the pothers.
–Control the rock and you control; Abraham. Control Abraham and you control the threshold of God.
–The question is not whether God can bring peace into the world. The question is: Can we?
==David Wilna.
–If you’re looking for history, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re looking for Abraham, you won’t be.
==Avrahim Biran.
–The message of Abraham is to be alone, to be quiet, and to listen. If you never hear the Call in the first place, you’ll never know which way to go.
==Father John Lyons.
–If you’re looking at the land, at buildings and stones, you might choose between this way and that. But if you’re looking at the realm of ideas…it doesn’t matter.
==Rami. Does Abraham’s lineage go to Isaac or Ishmael?
–If you ask me it’s because of a lack of modesty. Why do religious people act the way they do? It’s because of a lack of modesty,
==Hanan Eschel.
–Abraham is the father of one religion, and that religion is Islam.
==Sheikh Abu Sneina
–Abraham is a vast underground aquifer that stretches from Mesopotamia to the Nile, from Jerusalem to Mecca, from Kandahar to Kansas City, he’s an ever-present, ever-flowing stream that represents the basic desire of all people have to forma relationship with God.
–This Abraham is not a Jew, Christian, or Muslim. He is not flawless; he’s not a saint. But he is himself, the best vessel we’ve got, the father of all. This Abraham won’t be the only Abraham. He won’t be the last Abraham. But he is an Abraham for today. I choose him.
–Because Muslims, Christians and Jews all claim Abraham as their father, are Americans supposed to forget about Sept. 11?
==Bob Franz, letter to the editor, TIME magazine.

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