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Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Kindle Edition

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Length: 272 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this thought-provoking study, Bard College professor Chilton (Rabbi Jesus) asks how the Abrahamic faiths have understood Genesis 22, the story of the binding of Isaac. All three religions include a strand of interpretation that reads the binding of Isaac as valorizing the sacrifice of human life. Some rabbinic texts, for example, suggest that Abraham did in fact nick Isaac's neck, shedding the boy's blood, and that Isaac offers a model for the necessary readiness for martyrdom. Christianity has seen Isaac as prefiguring Jesus' crucifixion, and Christians, too, find in both these sacrificial stories an approval of martyrdom. In Islam, Chilton finds a range of interpretations, some of which gradually make Ibrahim more and more aggressive, to the point that Allah could only prevent the slaughter... by miraculous means. These interpretations appear to underwrite violence, but Chilton also finds within Jewish, Christian and Islamic sacred texts a corrective: a clear insistence that God does not want human beings to sacrifice ourselves or our children. Today's violent fundamentalists, Chilton claims, overlook those correctives and take their cues from readings of Genesis 22 that seem to favor human sacrifice. Chilton produces yet another creative and very relevant historical account. (Feb. 19)
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Review

Praise for Rabbi Jesus

“Bruce Chilton’s masterpiece of religious narrative marks a genuinely new and important step beyond the now-faltering historical Jesus movement.” —Jacob Neusner, Jerusalem Post

“Open this book and see Jesus as you’ve never seen him . . . This is one heck of a good read.” —National Catholic Reporter

“Engaging and lively . . . Chilton has done an admirable job of taking us into Jesus’ world and witnessing the life of one of history’s most important figures.” —Charlotte Observer

Rabbi Jesus is a scholarly pursuit that reads more like a novel. The biography flows with the fluidity of an adventure tale, rich in characters, texture, and detail.” —The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina)



Praise for Rabbi Paul
“A worthwhile exploration of a life that has richly touched all of ours.” —Dallas Morning News

“[Chilton’s] inviting prose, ability to recreate the cultural contexts of Paul’s life, and deep affection for the Apostle bring new life to a tale that has been told many times before.”
Publishers Weekly

“An eloquent biographical masterpiece.” —Jerusalem Post


Praise for Mary Magdalene:
“A compelling portrait of Mary . . . Graced by both power and wit, Chilton’s book aims to reshape and reorient the imagination of a new generation.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“Chilton is an eloquent, erudite, insightful, and pastorally sensitive biblical scholar. He has produced a profoundly affecting biography of Mary Magdalene.” —America

“An intriguing portrait of a woman strong enough to break through cultural misogyny . . . fascinating reading.” —Fort...

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Isaac M. Morris on July 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of how Abraham could, without question, pack up his son, firewood and a knife and march out to sacrifice Isaac has always bothered me. A test? This book examines the story from Genesis, and an analogous story from the Koran; and the fact that it prefigures the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (who, like Isaac, carried the wood himself). The impact of this story in our history, in which we continue to sacrifice our young on the altar of Democracy, is a work of scholarship that is well-written and easily understood even by non-scholars. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the primal urge to sacrifice, and how much of what we have taken from the story may have been a mis-interpretation: one that has cost millions their lives. Highly recommended.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Errol Icsel on December 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As much as I thought I knew about the abrahamics and their theologies, this book goes into great detail about the often overlooked significance of the Issac typology and the practice of blood sacrifice in the Near East. Whether you are religious or non-religious, this book is both an affirmation and a wake-up call.

I purchased the book here on Amazon. The Book encompasses all three abrahamic religion and its Gnostic offshoots. His analysis of Basilides vis-a-vis Issac is incredibly insightful.
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Format: Kindle Edition
To say that Bruce Chilton is an expert in his field would be an understatement. Here he masterfully explores the various contextual ramifications of a single pivotal sacrificial act common to Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The historical research is relentless, and his insights offer piercing criticism of modern warmongering and where it's roots might lie.
This is an intricate and carefully thought out work not for the feint hearted.
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By Nancy L Heinricy on January 6, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a thinker and/or reader....then you must read this book. Chilton did his homework
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