By Carol Bakhos
The time period "Abrahamic religions" has won enormous foreign money in either scholarly and ecumenical circles as a fashion of touching on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In The relations of Abraham, Carol Bakhos steps again from this conference to invite a regularly ignored query: What, actually, is Abrahamic approximately those 3 faiths? Exploring different tales and interpretations in terms of the portrayal of Abraham, she finds how he's commemorated in those various scriptural traditions and the way scriptural narratives were pressed into carrier for nonreligious purposes.
Grounding her learn in an in depth exam of historical Jewish textual practices, essentially midrash, in addition to medieval Muslim tales of the Prophets and the writings of the early Church Fathers, Bakhos demonstrates that old and early-medieval readers frequently decorated identical to Abraham and his family--Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac. Her research dismantles pernicious misrepresentations of Abraham's firstborn son, Ishmael, and provocatively demanding situations modern references to Judaism and Islam as sibling religions.
As Bakhos issues out, an uncritical adoption of the time period "Abrahamic religions" not just blinds us to the varied interpretations and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam but additionally artificially separates those faiths from their historic contexts. In correcting wrong assumptions concerning the narrative and theological value of Abraham, The kin of Abraham sheds new mild on key figures of 3 international religions.
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Additional info for The Family of Abraham: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Interpretations
68 Like his Alexandrian counterparts, he engaged in allegorical readings of Scripture. At the same time, he recognized the importance of the literal meaning: The discourse of the holy prophets is always obscure. It is [full of ] hidden ideas, and, with labor, it speaks to us in advance about the divine mysteries. For Christ is the end of the law and prophets, just as it is written. However, I say that those who wish to make clear the subtle and hidden breath of spiritual insights must hasten to consider thoroughly, with the eye of the mind, SCRIPTURES AND INTERPRETERS 41 on the one hand, the exact historical meaning .
In common parlance, midrash (Hebrew root drsh, “to investigate, seek, search out, examine”) refers to interpretation of any text, sacred or secular, ancient or contemporary. In its strictest sense, however, it is a process of scriptural exegesis that characterizes classical rabbinic interpretation. 35 The decline of Palestine as the center of intellectual activity in the mid-fourth century may have given rise to the need and interest in compiling such works. Christian claims to the biblical heritage also may have factored into the need to preserve rabbinic discourse in writing.
29 She offers insight into why themes in the Qur’an emerge and recur in light of historical exigencies. The move away from mining the Islamic textual tradition for Jewish and Christian sources is an important and necessary shift in understanding the role Muslim exegesis plays in its own tradition, for to regard the Qur’an and Islamic exegesis as derivative or as a reaction to what preceded it is to ignore the role that Scripture and scriptural interpretation played and continue to play in creating, and fostering, a group’s self-defi nition and self-understanding.