Posted January 12, 2004
Book: Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths
Author: Bruce Feiler
Harper Collins Publishers, New York, pp. 224
Excerpt from Jacket:
In this timely, provocative, and uplifting journey, the bestselling author of Walking the Bible embarks on another one-of-a-kind adventure: searching for the man at the heart of the world’s three monotheistic religions — and today’s deadliest conflicts.
At a moment when the world is asking "Can the religions get along?" Abraham stands as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. He holds the key to our deepest fears — and our possible reconciliation.
Bruce Feiler set out on a personal quest to better understand our common patriarch. Traveling in war zones, climbing through caves and ancient shrines, and sitting down with the world’s leading religious minds, Feiler discovers the untold story of the man who defines faith for half the world.
Both immediate and timeless, Abraham is a powerful, universal story, the first ever interfaith portrait of the man God chose to be his partner. Thoughtful, perceptive, and inspiring in a way that has endeared Bruce Feiler to readers, Abraham offers a rare vision of hope that will redefine what we think about our neighbors, our future, and ourselves.
Excerpt from Book:
The great patriarch of the Hebrew Bible is also the spiritual forefather of the New Testament and the grand holy architect of the Koran. Abraham is the shared ancestor of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is the linchpin of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is the centerpiece of the battle between the West and Islamic extremists. He is the father — in many cases, the purported biological father — of 12 million Jews, 2 billion Christians, and 1 billion Muslims around the world. He is history’s first monotheist.
And he is largely unknown.
I want to know him. I want to understand his legacy — and his appeal. I wanted to discover how he managed to serve as the common origin for his myriad of descendants, even as they were busy shoving one another aside and claiming him as their own. I wanted to figure out whether he was a hopeless fount of war or a possible vessel of reconciliation.
But where could I find him? Abraham, if he existed at all, left no evidence — no buildings or rugs or love letters to his wife. Interviewing people who knew him was out of the question, obviously; yet half the people alive claim to be descended from him. The Hebrew Bible discusses his life, but so do the New Testament and the Koran — and they often disagree, even on basic matters. Going to places he visited, as fruitful as that has been for me and for others, also has its limitations, because Abraham’s itinerary changed from generation to generation, and from religion to religion.
I would have to design an unconventional journey. If my previous experience in the region involved a journey through place — three continents, five countries, four war zones – this would be a journey through place and time — three religions, four millennia, one never-ending war. I would read, travel, seek out scholars, talk to religious leaders, visit his natural domain, even go home to mine, because I quickly realized that to understand Abraham I had to understand his heirs.
And there are three billion of those . . . .
Table of Contents:
Rock of Abraham
God of Abraham
Children of Abraham
People of Abraham
Blood of Abraham