Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths
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Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,806 ratings  ·  228 reviews

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

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Audio CD, Unabridged, 6 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by HarperAudio
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Jolene
Approach with caution! This book packed a whopper for me, nearly knocked me on my butt. I have been interested in learning more about the similarities of the three major faiths in the world and was looking forward to reading this book. The book begins with a quote from Genesis 12: 2-3 with God’s promise to Abraham. “I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by...more
Paul
While it was an interesting piece looking at the shared aspects of the three major faiths, i found it to be a little bit more of a follow-up book than a stand-alone piece of art.

With that being said, this guy's life is completely awesome. ... So i've graduated from the Ivy League, what to do now? ... Couple years teaching English in Japan? Yep. Grad school at Oxford? That too. Year in the circus? Roger that. Explaining the Bible in a way that anyone can understand it without a particular bent to...more
Lee Harmon
“So, Professor, what do we know about Abraham?” I asked.

“All we know about Abraham is in the Bible,” he says. “In the ground, there is nothing.”

This book is Bruce Feiler’s best. With no archaeological evidence whatsoever to explore, he embarks on his journey to learn about Abraham by interviewing members of various faiths, and finds himself enmeshed in a bewildering array of legends and claims. Abraham begins life as a polytheist in Ur, but is called by a foreign god, Yahweh, to journey to a new...more
Ron
The story of Abraham marks the emergence in human history of monotheism, and idea that represents a major shift in human consciousness. For believers in a single deity, it's an idea whose simplicity gives it an integrity that is self-evident. Three thousand years later, the complexity of not one but myriad Abrahams confounds understanding of the one God he believed in.

Feiler's informative book gives us in broad brushstrokes an account of how that transformation took place. His search for common...more
Julie Browne
I am almost ashamed to admit that I have never read the bible, and I know very few of the stories. It seems that I was far more interested in Greek and Pagan mythology growing up that I was in the stories of the bible. This book provided me with an eye opening look at the shared foundation of the three predominant monotheistic religions of the world(Christianity, Judaism and Islam),and how each began with pure intentions of worshiping a single god, with respect and humility.
Unfortunately, as th...more
Georgia Herod
Because I have been a student and teacher of the Bible, I read with great interest Feiler's book, particularly because I knew I was limited in my understanding of the perceptions of Abraham by adherents of Judaism and Islam. Feiler goes in search of the real Abraham, history's first monotheist and the father of twelve million Jews, two billion Christians, and one billion Muslims. Feiler allows the reader to participate in his quest as he seeks out the documents related to the many legends about...more
Ruth
This book attempts to find reconciliation of some sort between Muslims, Christians and Jews, who all claim Abraham as their own. I was really impressed; Feiler was doing a great job, but disappointed by the very end where he was quite overly-generous to Israel concerning their treatment of Palestine, quoting a random person who entered the Mosque of Abraham, "The Muslims are very aggressive, like Ishmael, and they have swords raised against everyone. And the Jews are very passive, like Isaac, wh...more
Mike
One of my favorite passages from this fascinating bibliographic adventure (i.e. Bruce Feiler's Abraham) highlights the virtue and value of modesty or humility as far as our personal faith is concerned.

In this conversation, Feiler discusses the archetypal tale as related in the (3) major monotheistic scriptures with Hanan Eschel, one of the leading archaeologists of the first millenium B.C.E. (This excerpt appears on p. 135.)

Hanan explains to the author: "What I'm trying to do, especially in this...more
Karen Mcintyre
This book was the first of the Feiler books I read. I read it in response to wanting a better understanding of the relationship among the three peoples of the Book. I had Muslim children in school for whom I worried after 9/ll.

I found hope in this book written by a Jew that good could come from such monumental evil. As a result I attended a salon locally where a Rabbi, an Imam and a Christian Minister shared their experiences with the Abrahamic stories in the "old testament" -- there that shows...more
Scott
The author explores the influence of the Patriarch on the 3 major, monotheistic faiths. While listening to this book, I learned several things that I didn't know previoulsy, but a couple insights stood out to me.

I was aware that Abraham was raised in the land of the Chaldeans, but what I didn't realize was that these people were big-time astronomers. Philo wrote, “The Chaldeans exercised themselves most especially with astronomy, and attributed all things to the movement of the stars, believing...more
Ron Tenney
I listened to this book on Audible a while back. I found the narrative to be a fascinating tour through the Genesis account and very eye-opening in helping me to understand the claim the three great world religions have on this patriarch.

This is an easy read. It is not designed as a scholarly book with extensive footnotes. It is more conversational. There is a short bibliography at the back that provides sources for further reading for those so inclined.

Mormon doctrine has a very different int...more
Karen Powell
The world's three major religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - have many major differences that cause conflict all over the world. But the three are united in their devotion to Abraham, the folk hero of 4000 years ago who predates all the modern religions, but is claimed by each as their "father." [return][return]Feiler travels to the volatile Middle East to the land where Abraham once walked to get a better understanding of the influential figure. Along the way, he talks to followers of...more
Jamie
This book is interesting from an cultural perspective, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone seriously interested in learning more about the historical figure Abraham. Although Feiler interviews several authorities from different faiths, the book is in no way a scholarly approach to the belief systems of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Rather, it is the journey of one man (who is rather unsure of his own beliefs) asking questions of other people about their belief systems, how they r...more
Sarah
I read somewhere that the Koran has more references to the Mother Mary than our own Bible, and since that time I have been very curious about the similarities between the monotheistic faiths -- Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In this book Bruce Feiler traces how each of these religions ties itself back to Abraham, to the exclusivity of the other religions. The details of Abraham's stories may be different between the faiths (In Christianity Abraham is asked to sacrifice his favorite son, Isaac,...more
LeeAnn
Fascinating book, studying the role of divergent roles and interpretations of Abraham in the three major religions of the world. I came away with a new appreciation of my own religion and an understanding of why there is so much misunderstanding between peoples in our world. When fundamental beliefs are so different, they must be respected or there will be more and more bloodshed.

One of our core beliefs, stated in the Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is: "We...more
Jenn
ince this is not my usual genera it was hard for me to get into it. However, once there I did find it pretty interesting. The author comes from a Jewish background and his perspective in and of itself made it both more difficult to follow and more fascinating as I was exposed to a non-christian view point on the life of Abraham and the stories in the Torah, Bible and Koran. I was also really interested in his interviews with religious leaders and academics across all three faiths in relation to...more
Judy
Abraham has been claimed as the patriarch of three faiths and Bruce Feiler looks at both the way Abraham has been portrayed by each faith--how his story has been expressed and interpreted--and also how each faith has attempted to claim him exclusively. It was fascinating to see how Abraham has been presented throughout history. His reputation and the portions of his story that were historically highlighted and debated said as much about the period in which they were written as it did about evolv...more
Rick Ludwig
I enjoyed Feiler's book about the common origins of the three great monotheistic religions. He does his best to confirm that there is hope in finding common cause among the three, often violently conflicting religions. The extremists in each camp are doing everything they can to prevent this, but I believe it is possible and that it will occur. As with all people, these three groups have so much more in common than they have in conflict. If these three can move forward together in peace it sets...more
Yinnie
Oct 03, 2011 Yinnie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in religions of the book
Recommended to Yinnie by: Ben Tapper
Published right after Sept 11, it looks at inter-faith interactions as well as the author's research journey through that prism. Feiler does a good job of looking at Abraham from the Jewish angle, the Christian angle and the Muslim angle separately before intertwining all the different views. With a sense of humor and willingness to explore uncertainties, it was a quick read. With the author's background, the Jewish sections are more fleshed out than the Christian and Muslim sections especially...more
Meg
Unity is at the heart of the Ishmael/Israel split because God promised to bless Ishmael and his sons even though he was banished to the desert. In the Koran, the story of Abraham and his son doesn't name the son. Muslims say it's Ishmael. Understanding the legacy of interpretation is the only way to have hope for the end of the conflict. It's the world's oldest family feud.
Abraham invented monotheism. He was mourned by both sons Gen. 22:7.
Resistance is Futile
In this short work, Feiler reviews the Biblical story of Abraham and then describes how the myth of Abraham has changed over time and between the Abrahamic religions. It is well-written and interesting, and its length is well-suited for the amount of information Feiler wishes to convey. (There were no lengthy speculations in order to add bulk!) I enjoyed it and learned a little bit, too!
Prajakta
I started reading this book because it was one of the New York Best Seller. Not much of a religion based book reader, i was not expecting i would finish this book. But I did finish it. This book is interesting enough to keep you going and finish it. What I loved is the message the book conveys....That whichever religion you follow....whichever God you believe... one can find a way to co-exist.
Rod Hyatt
This helped me have a new view on the old testament. It adds to my understanding for the book of Isac found in the Dead sea scroll and has me looking for other insight. Add that to the Books of Moses and Abraham found in the Perl of Great price. Those books are of more virgin origins and contain more and better truth. Those older books passed down through time have had so much outside influence of men messing with them.

I've talked with both Jews and Muslim. I understand a little more about their...more
Amanda Coussoule
Feiler does an excellent job of using his tone to bring you with him to the Middle East, where he shares conversations with people who live in the land of Abraham. The historical context is compelling, but his weaving together of the emotional aspect of the three major monotheistic religions' claim on Abraham is what brought this to life for me. While I enjoyed the book, I longed for a little bit more scholarly insight into how the religions shaped Abraham for their own purposes, and more non-re...more
Sheila
This was an interesting read. There is not much historical information about the life of Abraham and yet there are well known stories and holidays celebrated in all three monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) that revolve around this binding figure.

Though Feiler sought to understand Abraham from a historical and academic perspective, I appreciated his apparent discomfort with the Jewish midrash around Abraham's story. I felt similarly as I read the Islam chapter and in that way...more
Danyal Effendi
Abraham; Journey to the Hearts of three faiths is a book based on Abraham or Ibrahim, the central character of all the three Semitic religions, i.e. Jewish, Christianity and Islam. He is considered as the father of the faith by all the religions. Although, being a vital role, in the religious history, the story of him is interpreted in many different ways throughout the centuries.
The author Bruce Feiler is not new in this subject. He is a popular voice of family, faith, and survival in the Unite...more
Dan
An easy, entertaining collection of anecdotes and ponderings related to Abraham's various and ever-changing roles in the three Monotheistic religions as well as the author's suppositions as to Abraham's role in the modern world.

Feiler carefully avoids much discussion of other Hebrew characters who play large roles in the three religions like David or Elijah or even other characters in the Pentateuch like Moses who are universally important. To me, this came off as a bit disingenuous, as if he w...more
Kevin
This book has the ability to be really good, but, as I read, it felt as though I was re-reading the same ideas/stories over and over. Feiler truly attempts to present the connections all three Abrahamic religions have, but there are a few points that become somewhat skewed.

From the title and initial pages, I thought the journey was going to be toward finding the common ground among the religions, yet, as the story continued, I came to find it was more of Feiler trying to identify his own unders...more
David
This book is rather popular, and is a quick read, but I found it rather blah. Feiler makes some interesting insights and speaks to intriguing people all in an effort to seek out the real Abraham in the hope that by looking to Abraham there can be some sort of religious peace between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. One major flaw was a lack of footnotes, which may be normal for popular level books, but is still a serious flaw. Feiler says the apostle Paul wrote the biblical book of Hebrews, a co...more
Brian Whited
The best part of Feiler's book is his representation of the many different strands of monotheistic faith, from Jew to Muslim to Christian. There is much to be gleaned about people and their cultures when one stops to listens to one another. Feiler's conclusion, however, I find flawed. He concludes that no one has a monopoly on truth and in fact everyone reaches God in their own way. He is further along than most because he is more tolerant to listen to others, instead of believing in a dogmatic...more
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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 six 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...more
More about Bruce Feiler...
Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story

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“At Abraham's burial, his two most prominent sons, rivals since before they were born, estranged since childhood, scions of rival nations, come together for the first time since they were rent apart nearly three-quarters of a century earlier. The text reports their union nearly without comment. "His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, in the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites."

But the meaning of this moment cannot be diminished. Abraham achieves in death what he could never achieve in life: a moment of reconciliation between his two sons, a peaceful, communal, side-by-side flicker of possibility in which they are not rivals, scions, warriors, adversaries, children, Jews, Christians, or Muslims. They are brothers. They are mourners.

In a sense they are us, forever weeping for the loss of our common father, shuffling through our bitter memories, reclaiming our childlike expectations, laughing, sobbing, furious and full of dreams, wondering about our orphaned future, and demanding the answers we all crave to hear: What did you want from me, Father? What did you leave me with, Father?

And what do I do now?”
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“But humans disappoint. Adam, in tasting the fruit, indicates that he prefers Eve to God, so God banishes them.


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