Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Library of Jewish Ideas) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2014/10/26
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Jews, Christians, and Muslims supposedly share a common religious heritage in the patriarch Abraham, and the idea that he should serve only as a source of unity among the three traditions has become widespread in both scholarly and popular circles. But in Inheriting Abraham, Jon Levenson reveals how the increasingly conventional notion of the three equally "Abrahamic" religions derives from a dangerous misunderstanding of key biblical and Qur'anic texts, fails to do full justice to any of the traditions, and is often biased against Judaism in subtle and pernicious ways.
Best Nonfiction Jewish Book of 2012, Jewish Ideas Daily.com
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013
[T]he figure of Abraham has more often been a battleground than a meeting place. This is the brilliantly elaborated theme of Levenson's book, which retells the Abraham story while examining the use made of Abraham in later Jewish, Christian, and (to a lesser extent) Muslim thought.---Adam Kirsch, New York Review of Books
[A] learned, lucid and luminous examination of the distinctive character of Abraham.---Glenn C. Altschuler, Jerusalem Post
Written very well, argued delightfully, with deep insights, . . . Inheriting Abraham makes a superb contribution to our understanding and perception, opinion and insight, of the figure of Prophet Abraham.---Tauseef Ahmad Parray, Islam and Muslim Societies
Levenson's literary skill and encyclopedic grasp of the exegetical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam makes this volume a valuable exercise in comparison. But the book also makes a strong and controversial argument about what that comparison actually reveals about the role of Abraham in the relationship between the three 'Abrahamic' religions. . . . [Levenson's] study encourages us to look unflinchingly at the limits of difference and commonality within and across religious traditions.---Martin S. Jaffee, Jewish Review of Books
The best Jewish book in each category this past year? Inheriting Abraham is the most impressive work of Jewish scholarship published during 2012. For more than three decades, Jon Levenson has been quietly developing a biblical theology that would revolutionize Jewish understanding and worship, if only more Jews were to learn of it. Inheriting Abraham is his most accessible book yet--a model of how exacting scholarship can be written for the well-educated layman.---D.G. Myers, Jewish Ideas Daily
[E]xcellent. . . . Inheriting Abraham is informed throughout by Levenson's characteristically great learning. . . . [G]raceful and clear.---Hillel Fradkin, Commentary
Jon Levenson's superb book demonstrates that despite some simplistic and ill-conceived attempts to harmonize the three Abrahamic faiths, and some lingering supersessionist antagonisms, we live in a period remarkable for serious and thoughtful dialogue among these cousin religions. It is a dialogue grounded in responsible awareness of the complexity, beauty, and defining commitments of each one. Working from this awareness is our best hope of developing the vital mutual respect and harmony our divided world requires.---Donald Senior, Commonweal
[E]asily accessible to a wide readership. . . . [Levenson's] book is a masterful corrective to the ever more popular, pat and misleading myths that have emerged under the 'Abrahamic' banner.---Allan Nadler, Moment Magazine
Levenson asks penetrating questions about the religious psychodrama of Abraham's attempted sacrifice of Isaac, and while offering many intriguing explanations he is modest in not pretending to give final answers. His careful deconstruction of the misunderstandings about the concept of "chosen people" is illuminating for those who mistakenly believe that this idea implies some kind of superiority. Scattered here and there are nice touches of humor like "implanted like a microchip in his kidney" about the origin of Abraham's recognition of God.
It is instructive to learn about Paul's use of pre-Mosaic Abraham to argue for the irrelevance of Jewish law, a fundamental divergence of Christianity from Judaism. And for Christians, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his beloved son prefigures the central Christian drama of the Divine sacrifice of Christ.
Islam's claim to Abraham as a Muslim, many centuries after the appearance of Abraham in the Biblical account, and its view of both Christianity and Judaism as perversions of the real Abraham, are helpful in understanding the basic gulf between the religions. While not ignoring some common ground, Levenson emphasizes the fundamental differences which make the idea of an umbrella Abrahamic faith unacceptable. He makes the strong point that describing Christianity or Islam as Abrahamic is to accept the Christian or Islamic theologic position.
Traditional Jews may not be happy with Levenson's notion that the figure of Abraham in the later rabbinic texts is a development related to, but separate from, the Abraham of the Bible. The classic Jewish tradition holds that an oral legacy parallels the written word of the Bible, and this oral dimension of Judaism was eventually written down in the centuries beginning around the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. How Levenson sees the relationship of Sinaitic revelation to rabbinic or Second Temple Judaism is not clear in this book. Did midrash and Mishnah evolve much later or did they exist, like an oral genetic code, from the beginning only to become manifest later?
In sum, Inheriting Abraham is a fascinating and timely book. As we see Islam in conflict with other faiths in Europe, Africa and Asia, Levenson's superb study illumines at a radical level why peaceful co-existence will need to find a more solid foundation than a common understanding of the meaning of Abraham.