Wednesday 12 February 2014

Book Review: Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths by Bruce Feiler

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 United States. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Walking the Bible, Where God was born, the Council of Dads, Learning to Bow, Looking for Class, and Under the Big Top. In this book, Feiler, though Jewish, has retold the story of Abraham with the perspectives of all the three monotheistic faiths, and examines the similarities and differences among their interpretation. He traveled to war zones, climbed up through mountains, caves and ancient shrines, and sat with the world's leading religious minds, to uncover the fascinating, not-well-known details of the man who defines faith for half the world.
The basic story of Abraham is shared by each of the three faiths, but with remarkably different interpretation. The outcome of which is that, each faith claims Abraham as something more particular to them and attempts to exclude the meanings of the other faiths.  The author addressed what the Bible and Koran say about Abraham, his call to monotheism, and his sons Isaac and Ishmael.
Although, Feiler has provided good and neutral discussion of Abraham in Christianity and Islam, but his Jewish roots are apparent as more time and space is given to Jewish Interpretations and their Book Torah. To remain unbiased, the author talked with leaders of all three religions about their interpretation of Abraham’s story and how this means more to their religion as compared to others. An important point of these interviews is that somewhere in the middle the interpretations affect the interactions of each faith.
Feiler brings up a good number of fine fascinating points in his explanations and interpretation of the story of Abraham. These points were not widely considered before this. His subject research and experiences are interesting and captivating to read. The interviews the leaders of the religions effectively support the points he raised. These discussions not only provide the insight into other interpretation but also help highlight the differences and similarities among different faiths.
In the last chapter, Feiler brings the subject back to the original comprehension of Abraham and his story and advise the reader belonging to all the three religions to work together to find a new interpretation of Abraham for this time. This will bring back the original views of working together and Abraham being the shared father of all three faiths, thus uniting the three major faiths of world, rather than dividing, as they are at present. This book provides the reader, thought and inspiration, to offer a vision of hope that can redefine what people think about the neighbours, the future, and themselves.

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