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Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,995 ratings  ·  343 reviews
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.

In this timely, provocative, and uplifting journey, the bestselling author of Walking the Bib
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 2nd 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published September 1st 2002)
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Clif Hostetler
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
This book portrays the role of Abraham in the history, theology and contemporary thought in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All three faiths claim Abraham as their own, and they all assert to be the correct modern day representative of the Abrahamic religious tradition.

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
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 12, 2008 added it
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
Lee Harmon
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“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
Steven Colborne
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Abraham is a hugely important figure in the three major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Indeed, these three religions are often referred to as the ‘Abrahamic’ religions, which shows the great importance attributed to this figure who lived around the year 2000 BCE.

In Bruce Feiler’s enthralling book, we are taken into the heart of the Holy Land where the author talks to many learned figures from these three religions and explores shrines, tombs, and important places of w
Georgia Herod
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Syed Waqar  Bukhari
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was my first read on comparative religions and I really enjoyed it. A beautifully written book for everyone, whether you are a simple reader or an academic.
Ron Tenney
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Kathryn Bashaar
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I thought I would love this book, but I was disappointed. The author's premise is his search for the truth of the Biblical Abraham. He investigates how each of the three great People of the Book - Jews, Christians & Moslems - view Abraham. I thought his analysis was thin and disorganized. He lets each faith stand on its own instead of comparing and contrasting. And he's all over the place with stories from his childhood and character studies of people he interviews and his own analysis, and limi ...more
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beginning with the hints and allusions of the oldest stories, Feiler explores how this one man, Abraham, becomes the father of all of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims worshipping today. There are few details in these bits and snippets, nothing about Abraham's early life before he receives the Call to leave his home and venture elsewhere. We then learn of the older wife, the child, the newer wife, another child, the binding.

Over the millennia, all of these stories have been told by many voices.
Samuel Neff
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. The first half really dove into the history of Abraham and the role that he played in being such an important figure in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The second half of the book seemed to be more about the author's own personal religious journey, which I was not as interested in. If the entire book was focused on the historical aspects of Abraham, I would of enjoyed much 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
Charlie Kim
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly informative book; Bruce Feiler does a great job at explaining Abraham's relevance to each big monotheistic religion and writes about each belief system in a style that a person of any faith can understand.

Feiler takes on a positive outlook regarding religious/political affairs - and explains not only how differing beliefs about Abraham play into these issues, but also how Abraham can serve as a unifying figure to help generate peace between feuding religions.
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: matters-of-faith
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
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Karen Mcintyre
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
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
Dec 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
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
Julie Browne
Feb 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: textbook
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
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Rick Ludwig
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jean Gobel
Finally finished Abraham. I enjoyed the author's trip, searching for the many locations where the patriarch traveled and lived, searching for the who and the what of Abraham. I was amazed at his bravery in areas that were quite dangerous. He interviewed leaders from the world's three major religions: the Christian community, the Jewish and the Muslin faiths, learning how they all have evolved through the centuries, finding all claim Abraham as their father. I'm not quite sure what he was trying ...more
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 17, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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!
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.
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BRUCE FEILER is one of America’s most popular voices on contemporary life. He is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers; the presenter of two prime-time series on PBS; and the inspiration for the drama COUNCIL OF DADS on NBC. Bruce’s two TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times. Employing a firsthand approach to his work, Bruce is known for living the experiences he ...more

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

More quotes…