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Abraham (P.S.) [Kindle Edition]

Bruce Feiler
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.99
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Book Description

In this timely, provocative, and uplifting journey, the bestselling author of Walking the Bible searches 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?” one figure stands out as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. One man holds the key to our deepest fears -- and our possible reconciliation. Abraham.

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 uncovers fascinating, little-known details 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 and inspiring, it offers a rare vision of hope that will redefine what we think about our neighbors, our future, and ourselves.

Editorial Reviews Review

At a time when conflicts among three of the world's major religions--Islam, Judaism, and Christianity--are in the global spotlight, Bruce Feiler offers a stunning biography of the one man who unites all three religions: Abraham. "The most mesmerizing story of Abraham's life--his offering a son to God--plays a pivotal role in the holiest week of the Christian year, at Easter," writes Feiler. "The story is recited at the start of the holiest fortnight in Judaism, on Rosh Hashanah. The episode inspires the holiest day in Islam, 'Id al-Adha,' the Feast of the Sacrifice, at the climax of the Pilgrimage. And yet the religions can't even agree on which son he tried to kill." Herein lies the irony and perfection of Feiler's timing. As we struggle to find a path to peace among these three religions, all warring in Jerusalem, near the stone where Abraham brought his son for sacrifice, this captivating biography speaks to Abraham as the metaphor he is: the historically elusive man who embodies three religions, a character who has shape-shifted over the millennia to serve the clashing goals and dogma of each religion.

Anyone seeking to understand the roots of tension in the Middle East need look no further than the final half of this book, where Feiler interprets the meaning of Abraham as seen through the prism of each religion. Surprisingly, the book is as entertaining as it is thoughtful: Feiler is a masterful writer with a warm, humorous voice, a dazzling way with metaphors, and an underlying intelligence that comes through in every passage. Abraham deserves the highest of recommendations. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Feiler, who penned last year's bestseller Walking the Bible, once again offers a winning combination of history, travel and spiritual memoir. Arguing that Abraham, the purported "father" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, "holds the breadth of the past and perhaps the dimensions of the future in his life story," Feiler sets out to recover Abraham as he is portrayed in all three religions. The book's first half addresses what the Bible and Koran say about Abraham, his call to monotheism, and his sons Isaac and Ishmael. Particularly fascinating are Feiler's discussions of how the three religious traditions invented stories about Abraham to supplement the rather skeletal canonical version and even borrowed these stories from one another, as when Muslim traditions about Abraham and Ishmael began appearing in eighth-century Jewish commentaries. The second half very poignantly delves into each faith tradition and discusses how the Abraham narratives relate to contemporary religious and political conflicts. No one writes description quite like Feiler. His claim, for example, that "the Holy Sepulcher is to a church what Picasso is to a portrait a cubist vision of fractured beauty" is an arresting and perfectly imagined analogy, and he mellifluously depicts the Arabic language as "flowing, evolved, [and] sculpted, like a dune." More important than Feiler's masterful wordsmithing is his passionate engagement of the subject matter. Italics are everywhere, yet they don't feel overused; Feiler has a keen sense of what is at stake when these three religions claim Abraham as their father. This is a joy to read.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
244 of 256 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just another sequel.... January 28, 2003
After having enjoyed Bruce Feiler's previous book, "Walking the Bible," I was a bit skeptical when I heard about this one. He had already covered the journey of Abraham in the first book, so what more could he add with a sequel? It wasn't until I heard him talk about Abraham on National Public Radio that I realized this book is not another travelogue. It's a chronicle of Feiler's own inner journey to understand the connections among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam through their common father, Abraham.
As Feiler tells us in this book, the sedrah portion he studied for his own Bar Mitzvah was "Lech lecha," the section of the Torah which deals with God's call to Abraham to leave his home and go to a place that God would show him. It is said that one's Bar Mitzvah portion is forever connected with one's personal destiny. This is certainly true in Feiler's case. His lifelong fascination with Abraham has led him to write a very interesting and thought-provoking book.
Don't expect this to be a scholarly study. It's not. In fact, there are some glaring historical inaccuracies. For example, Feiler credits the "Essene" Qumran community with "starting" the tradition of midrash (Jewish hermeneutics). Apparently he's not up on recent Dead Sea Scroll scholarship, because it is now seriously questioned whether (A) the Qumran community was Essene and (B) whether the scrolls in question came from Qumran or a Jerusalem library that was hidden at the time of the Roman siege. At any rate, midrash did not begin at Qumran. (He also confuses midrash with the Mishnah at one point...)
I'm sure that Muslim and Christian readers will find similar errors -- but that's not the point of the book.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting quick read October 1, 2006
How do you write a 226-page book covering someone whom we have very little historical knowledge about? Put a lot of space between the lines, and fill in the gaps with long, superfluous descriptions of what the weather was like the day you were doing your research, and you can stretch it out to 226 pages. Yes, the content of this book is quite thin, stretched out to needless length. But fortunately, it's an easy read, so it goes fast even though you do have to wade through some of those verbose setting-the-mood descriptions.

I ended up reading this book through a book group discussion. I work at a Fortune 500 company that has a diversity committee, like most big corporations, but usually such groups tend to focus only on race, gender, and sexual orientation issues. At my company, they also include other types of diversity, such as generational differences and religion. This book was a perfect choice for such an environment because Abraham is an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, so people of all three of these major world religions could find something in the book for them.

I found it quite interesting how the three religions have developed views of Abraham that are quite divergent, even though they all have the same historical writing about just a few incidents in his life. The most surprising view to me was the Jewish interpretation of Abraham in the Middle Ages, which according to this author, had become similar to Christ: "Abraham had become a savior, a celestial figure who embodies divinity on earth, represents humans in the afterlife, and contains, in the deeds of his life, the scripture of God's intention.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Faiths Collide February 8, 2003
With the current political climate continuing to build up heat and tension, religion is playing a significant role in the politics of the world today. In an ironic twist, that some would say proves the existence of a God with a sense of irony, three of the world's major religions (and the 3 most involved in the middle east tensions of today) all claim some fountainhead with one man - Abraham. The interesting part of the story is how three worlds could work with the same man and his family, and mold that into the image that would best suit each religion's needs and agenda. This is what I found most interesting about the book - how a sketchy story in the distant past could be used and interpreted to certain ends in order to help religion develop. Some other reviewers have quibbled with Feiler's interpretations of interpretations, but overall he does a credible job in exploring the stories and the major faiths involved. He approaches each of the faith with a skeptical eye, looking to understand how and why such interpretations worked out. He even turns the questioning eye to his own Jewish faith and the development of Abraham into the father figure he is. Like in his "Walking the Bible," Feiler starts off in Israel, looking to find the pieces of the Bible that he can see, and touch. But quickly he realizes that instead of physical locations and objects, for the most part the story of Abraham resides not in the land but in the stories, and the hearts of the faithful. He is engaging in less of a journey through history as he is a journey through the hearts and minds of those who came before. Hardly the last word on the topic of Abraham, but a good introduction and exploration of the issues involved. An interesting and very accessible book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Interfaith Reading!
This is a well written narrative on the importance of Abraham to the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. I read the whole book in one day, could not put it down. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Stuart Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Carrie Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply marvelous book
This is a wonderful exploration of the Story of Abraham utilizing Jewish, Muslim and Christian sources and scholars. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter D. Springberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Faith Journey
Enlightening read about Abraham.
Published 2 months ago by Laura Swaft
1.0 out of 5 stars Its a great book but I really needed the P
I ordered the paper back edition but ended up getting the hardcover. I needed the paper back because it had questioned I needed for school. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and timely
Fascinating conversations with different individuals of all three faiths highlighting how a a tradition of inclusiveness can transform to one of violent exclusion. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ignitor
4.0 out of 5 stars Fielder presents another thought provoking book.
This book is a well rounded presentation about Abraham, the father of many nations. he examines that idea from the individual perspective. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marilee Steele
4.0 out of 5 stars Opinions vary
This is an interesting book to read and find out how the different Religions think of Abraham. Most enlarge greatly on the myth in the Old Testament, not always siting fact but... Read more
Published 2 months ago by artist
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
well written and really explains a lot
Published 3 months ago by nikki lorel
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It will definitely enhance understanding...
Published 4 months ago by James M. Gillespie
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More About the Author

BRUCE FEILER is one of America's most popular voices on family, faith, and survival. He writes the "This Life" column about contemporary families for the Sunday New York Times and is the author of five consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including WALKING THE BIBLE and THE COUNCIL OF DADS. He is the writer/presenter of the PBS series "Walking the Bible" and the forthcoming "Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler." His latest book, THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES, is a bold playbook for families today. It collects best practices for modern-day parents from some of the country's most creative minds, including tops designers in Silicon Valley, elite peace negotiators, the creators of Modern Family and the Green Berets.

His most recent bestseller, THE COUNCIL OF DADS, is the international sensation that describes how faced with one of life's greatest challenges, he asked six friends to form a support group for his young daughters. The book was profiled in PEOPLE Magazine, USA Today, Time, and the Washington Post, and was the subject of a one-hour documentary on CNN hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Bruce was named "Father of the Year" by the National Fatherhood Initiative.

Since 2001, Bruce has been one of the country's preeminent thinkers, writers, and speakers about the role of religion in contemporary life. WALKING THE BIBLE describes his perilous, 10,000-mile journey retracing the Five Books of Moses through the desert. The book was hailed as an "instant classic" by the Washington Post and "thoughtful, informed, and perceptive" by The New York Times. It spent more than a year and a half on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into fifteen languages, and is the subject of a children's book, a photography book, and a miniseries on PBS.

ABRAHAM recounts his personal search for the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. "Exquisitely written," wrote the Boston Globe, "100 percent engaging." The book was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine, debuted in the top 5 of the New York Times bestseller list, and inspired thousands of grassroots interfaith discussions around the world.

WHERE GOD WAS BORN describes his year-long trek visiting biblical sites through the front lines of Israel, Iraq, and Iran. "Bruce Feiler is a real-life Indiana Jones," wrote the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. AMERICA'S PROPHET is the groundbreaking story of the influence of Moses on American history. Both were Top 10 bestsellers.

Bruce Feiler has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Gourmet, where he won three James Beard Awards. He is also a frequent contributor to NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News. A former circus clown, he has been the subject of Jay Leno joke and a JEOPARDY! question, and his face appears on a postage stamp in the Grenadines.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Bruce lives in Brooklyn with wife, Linda Rottenberg, and their identical twin daughters.

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