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Who was Abraham that religions get named after him?


Robittybob1
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@Strange: Does Christianity accept the idea that Mohammed was a descendent of Abraham? Are you suggesting that everyone else alive was a descendant of Abraham...if so, on what basis would you make such an extraordinary claim? Do you think that the Bible claims that everyone alive was a descendant of Abraham?

Edited by disarray
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....

@ Robittybob1: What is this 'basic story' of which you speak....in other words, what, in your opinion, are the basic facts common to all religions, for example, about the life of Abraham? Also, on what grounds do you think that simple stories are likely to be true...if that is the criteria, I think that we have to accept the veracity of many a fairy tale. I am wondering whether the video you posted produces any proof at all that they have found Abraham's house, much less "definitive" proof. I have no doubt that archeologists have unearthed remains of cities that correspond with places mentioned in the Bible, but the fact that the video claims without batting an eye that one 'house' belonged to Abraham suggests to me that some people are unscientifically willing to make extraordinary assumptions based upon sketchy background information.

 

I could give you the basic story as I see it, but whether it matches that of the other religions I'll have to consider later. I haven't put aside a basic story as yet for it is a long passage in Genesis, but it could be done over a couple of weeks, for I'm pretty busy ATM.

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@RobbityBob1: So you think that the basic story about Abraham is true, but you really haven't a clear idea as to what the basic story is??

 

Even if someone found conclusive evidence that there was a sheik/tribal leader named Abraham (meaning "father of many" in Hebrew) who had sons by the name of Ishmael and Isaac, it is a common fallacy that we can therefore then assume that everything in the Bible is unambiguous and true. But, alas, even religious scholars cannot agree as to just when Abraham might have lived when one tries to match scriptures with archeology, with different experts placing him anywhere from 600 to 2200 b.c.

 

One can only wonder what might happen were Christians, Jews, and Muslims focused more on the concept that their religions were all cut from the same cultural cloth and that they had many shared ancestors. Indeed, in 1994, Pope John Paul II planned to visit UR in honor of Abraham, because he felt that Jews,Christians, and Muslims all regard themselves as Abraham's spiritual offspring, and thus it would be a uniting and peaceful gesture to make a trip there.

 

@Strange: Similarly, one can only wonder what might happen if people from that region realized just how much intermarriage has occurred between Canaanite/Palestinian, and Israeli people over the centuries in the Middle East. Like many a war, the conflict is ironically, to a large extent, between people who are closely related.

 

Whether the Abrahamic genealogy is based much on historical fact or not, it seems that the various major religions have tweaked the 'legend' to support their own religious dogma, and thus their own claim that they have 'dibs' on land, moral truth, and the unique path to salvation.

 

Kudos to those who strive to find points of commonality rather than difference between the major monotheistic religions, e.g., Professor Muhammad Taqi Ja‘fari who stated the following at the conference on Islam and Christianity held in Switzerland on the November 27th, 1995:

 

The study of the unity of a universal religion of Abraham begins with the premise that our purpose in stressing this unity is not so that all believers renounce their own respective religions in order to participate in a universal Abrahamic religion. Not at all! Rather, our view is that each religious community has its own religion and considers it binding to be observant of its beliefs and duties. A Muslim is a Muslim, a Christian is a Christian, and a Jew is a Jew.

Our purpose in highlighting this universal religion is to unite all of us fellow followers of Abraham on the basis of common principles that are acceptable to all of us. These common principles are: Belief in God, His perfect attributes, resurrection and eternity, the angels, religious duties (worship and the like, according to a person’s religion), morality and ethics.

 

From the standpoint of comparative religion, when we look at the various scriptural narratives surrounding the Abrahamic legacy, we must acknowledge that we don't know exactly what "covenants" God made with Abraham, nor can we be sure what moral practices might seem extreme and irrelevant to modern people, nor can we be sure which groups, if any, were chosen or favored by God in some way. In the absence of any definitive way to validate one version over another, it does seem to make a certain amount of sense to try to find common ground and perhaps Holy Land on which to stand.

Edited by disarray
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Wow! I'm not saying everything in the Bible is true, but I could accept a basic story of Abraham maybe one of the first historic characters that could be pinned down. I would like to go through and isolate a basic story and compare this to the other religion's versions and see if it still fits.

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Yes, I would be interested in your 'basic story' though, again, I fail to see that finding a simple story that fits Christianity, Islam, and Judaism equally well provides evidence that the character of Abraham must have existed or that he must have actually done the things in contained in your basic story, much less provide evidence for any parts outside of the basic story:

 

In order to build a proper bridge between fact and fiction, one needs to make sure that each lily pad on the way over is close enough to the next to prevent one from falling into the river of delusion. In order to minimize great 'leaps of faith' on the way over the river, then, one must avoid jumping to conclusions such as the belief that because one part of a story is true, then (most or all of) the rest of it must be also be true.

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In any case, with all due respect, I don't see that saying that nuggets matter and details don't unless one is actually going to be more specific and spell out just what nuggets and details one is talking about.

 

 

 

Time strips the details whilst the truth remains, for instance, forgiveness matters because it stops the world going blind, who cares about the details?

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dimreepr:

 

well, I was hoping for a little bit more of a clarification than that. As it is, I can only guess what you are thinking here.

 

There are some parents who think that it is a good idea to tell little children that Santa exists because, after all, it encourages them to behave. If the criteria for saying that a story is true is that the story have a good moral tale in it, why then, there are any number of fairy tales that we might tell children and adults are the divinely inspired word of God so that they are more likely to behave better.

 

On the other hand, there are parents who do not tell their children that Santa exists because they do not think that it is a good idea to lie, or even fib, to their children. Some such parents feel that once a child is old enough to know that the parent made the story up to get them to behave, the child will become resentful and less trustful, either in the short or long term.

 

Similarly, a poll (n=2000) found that "a third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection," yet continue to preach, judging from personal statements, that the resurrection is a fact, because they think that the story encourages people to behave. Numerous philosophers and writers throughout history have similarly said that they don't take the Bible literally themselves, but think that it is a good idea for the masses to believe them literally because such beliefs make them behave better.

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/143/one-third-of-clergy-do-not-believe-in-the-resurrection

 

Indeed, if the majority of people in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic churches, ever did accept the idea that God did not literally make certain agreements with Abraham and his divine or divinely inspired descendant, Jesus or Muhammed, and instead came to believe that these people were just literary characters (based on various religious versions of shared stories) and never actually existed as real people, well then, how would Jewish people be able to still claim that certain Holy Lands rightfully belong to them because of a covenant that God made with them through Abraham, or how could over 2 billion Christians still claim that only through Jesus, as a fulfillment of Abrahamic prophecy, could one attain forgiveness and thus immortality, or how could Muslims still claim that Abraham almost sacrificed (not Isaac as Christians believe) Ishmael, ancestor of the divinely inspired Muhammed, who is the patriarch that can lead one to salvation? So which group of people has the right sacrificial son (Isaac or Ishmael) and inspired descendant (Jesus or Muhammad) who can provide one with eternal life hinges on whose explanation of the details of the Abrahamic narrative one believes.

 

Of course, it would probably reduce world wide bloodshed, as per my last post, if the major religions just agreed that to take what seem to be the best moral teachings from the Abrahamic tradition. But again, details, such as to whether Abraham promised Canaan to the Jews or not and whether one can only be saved through Jesus, would continue to be a problem.

 

Finally, as was mentioned elsewhere earlier, one can question whether all of the moral precepts found in the scriptures relating to the time of Abraham in particular, and of the OT in particular, are really all that desirable or compatible with, for example, laws found in our own society (e.g., 8th amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, especially with regards to the death penalty). Indeed, a parent who said they either killed or were on the verge of killing their child because they heard God telling them to do so would be considered mentally unstable, or, quite probably, clinically insane in today's court system, not viewed as a venerable saint of some sort.

 

But, as I think the moderator mentioned earlier, whether there is or is not a kernel or nugget of virtuous teaching in the Abrahamic tradition is not really relevant to the question as to whether he actually existed in the first place. And even if we could prove (with reasonable certainty) that there really was a person (Abraham and his prophesied descendant Jesus) who physically existed and walked around telling people to be good, that would be a far cry from proving that such a person was divine and therefore had the divine right to say who owns what land, who were the chosen people, who could be saved, and under what conditions they could be saved.

 

Whether it be the narrative of Abraham and his descendants in church, or a tale of evil ghosts around a summer campfire, saying that the story is really, really true is more likely to impact your audience mentally and emotionally than saying that it is just made up to entertain people and teach them a lesson about life. I don't think that you will get a very positive reaction if you tell someone that they will live forever if they just follow the example of characters in a short story you just made up, or that, even if it seems too far-fetched to be true, he will still live forever if he just has faith and believes that it is true anyway. In any case, it sounds as if this is exactly what you are suggesting.

 

(Unless someone has a new point to discuss and can state it with some clarity, I don't really have anything more to say on this topic)

 

 

Edited by disarray
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@disarray - was Jesus ever prophesied through Abraham? I know Jesus spoke of Abraham several times, in some very obscure ways. These words may help me to see the connection between the two.

There is a YT clip with a dramatised section of the Gospel of John titled: "Jesus Said To The Jews ''Before Abraham Was, I AM'' (John 8:31-59)" Boy, that speech by Jesus really seemed to stir trouble but from it it sounds like Abraham predicted Jesus. Well I'll need to see how that happened.

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RobbityRob1:

God's promise to Abraham that through his descendants would a savior be born that would bless the nations appears (directly or indirectly) throughout Hebrew scriptures, and in the Bible:

 

Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.

Genesis 22:17-18: "I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your seed greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore...In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."

 

This is why I brought Jesus into the discussion, as the question as to whether there really was a physical "historical Jesus" who was God and/or had a unique relationship with God is to a large extent contingent upon the the question as to whether there really was a physical "historical Abraham" with whom God had a unique relationship, and indeed, from whom (indirectly) a savior would be born .

 

Indeed, a typical Christian interpretation of God's 'gracious' gift of land, etc., to the Israelites through Abraham is that they accept Jesus as their savior:

 

"Today we have to have a better theological understanding of God’s workings so that we do not follow the shallow minded and popular approach of simply being pro-Israeli because God chose them. It is far more complicated than that; and all we have to do is look at how God dealt with unbelieving and unrighteous Israel to see the point. All people, both Jews and Arabs too, must turn to Christ by faith to have any share in the promises, i.e., salvation, eternal life, a share in the world to come." http://christianleadershipcenter.org/me2.htm

Notice that the Christian interpretation of the Abrahamic lineage is that the savior comes through his son Isaac's line via Jacob->Judah-->David, while the Muslims claim (incorrectly according to many Christians) that:

  1. All Arabs are the descendants of Abraham through Ishmael.
  2. Ishmael and his descendants were included in the covenant God made with Abraham.
  3. Since the Abrahamic convenant included the land of Israel, the Arabs have a legitimate claim to it.

http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-myths-arabs-descendants-of-ishmael.htm

Thus, many Christian argue that the Bible (OT and NT) is a unified whole, so that if one believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead to fulfill God's covenant through Abraham and to provide a means for sinners to be forgiven and saved, then one must also believe that Abraham was a real person who literally almost sacrificed his son, and that Adam and Eve were real (physical) people who sinned in the first place.

 

What really matters, in terms of who has rights over the Holy Land and whose savior provides salvation, and whose people are favored by God, are all determined by the details (e.g., whether Abraham attempted to sacrifice his favored son Isaac or Ishmael), and not by supposed nuggets of moral guidance such as (universal?) peacefulness or forgiveness that allegedly are found in a general/basic story of Abraham that everyone might agree upon.

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OK let me explain ‘disarray’, I’m an atheist (meist, indifferentist) and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all the prophets/sons-of-god/s were too, they just evoked a spiritual element to promote a contented populace; TBH if I thought for a second that would work for the majority I would, instantly, become a happy-clappy crystal loving spiritualist, because without the emotional comfort that brings, revenge is such an attractive concept.

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In a tomb of the Queen of UR they found a ram in the thicket statue, so whether this was a common image or some sort of meme for the people of Ur I'm looking reasons the same image comes up in the story regarding the sacrifice of Isaac? It would hardly be some reference to the Abraham legend.

Inside the same tomb there was some twenty odd servants sacrificed to be with the Queen in her afterlife. So the culture of human sacrifice definitely was common place. Described in

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@dimreapr: It seems that you are saying that the prophets of the various scriptures most likely were atheists and just claimed to speak with God etc., in order to pacify and spritualize the masses. That seems rather far-fetched to me, unless you are being flippant, which, either way, clarifies nothing.

 

For starters, we cannot assume that these prophets, etc. were actual people. I have been suggesting that the question as to whether or not they existed is not so important as the question as to whether they performed miracles (or heard the voice of a real God). Even if they existed, but did not perform miracles, then why di the various people who wrote about these prophets claim that they did (e.g., part the Red Sea, come out alive from a fire or a whale, bring a dead person back to life, etc.).

 

In any case, the important thing to remember is that even if Abraham actually existed and was not just a literary creation, we cannot assume that, therefore, it is true that God actually spoke to him or that he could actually perform miracles.

 

It seems unlikely that the people who actually wrote the Bible (e.g., Church Fathers) were atheists, and unlikely that they consciously made up the stories to discipline the masses, or to get them to obey the Church officials, or to justify taking over large areas of land from other people, or to get them to donate money to the church (e.g., via injunctions), etc., even if we assume that the the Church Fathers (monks, scribes, or whatever) knew that they were adding various miracles to stories that were in circulation at the time, e.g., they added the part about Abraham's dialogue with God to the story of an actual historical man named Abraham who almost sacrificed his son, but then decided against it.

 

Similarly, despite a certain percentage of phony TV evangelists, etc., it would appear that, even today, most lay and clergy alike tend to believe that some, if not all, of the characters and miracles recorded in scriptures are true. Of course, there are cynics who might say that most ministers know they are saying things that are not true in order to make money, just as cynics might say that most doctors prescribe medications that they know will harm patients in order to make money.

 

By the way, I thought you were suggesting that the details don't matter as long as someone takes away some, presumably moral, nugget of 'truth' from the stories, be it 'forgiveness' or righteous revenge. Now it seems as if you are sitting on the fence when it comes to the question as to whether, in a broader sense, religion has done more harm than good (e.g., when we weigh religious wars against all the charitable deeds that worshipers have done over the centuries). But again, whether Abraham's moral values, in particular, or those of Christianity/Islam/Judaism, in general, are good for individuals or good for the masses is not all that relevant. What is relevant, I gather, are such things as the following:

  • Whether someone called Abraham did, generally speaking, perform the deeds attributed to him in various scriptures (e.g., almost killing one of his sons because he heard God's voice)?
  • If so, was the voice Abraham heard the voice of God, or was it just a voice in his (perhaps own demented) head?
  • If the story is pure fiction and there was no Abraham who ever existed in history to whom an imaginary or real God promised land, then why did the authors of the scriptures make the stories up?
  • And finally (as something of an aside), what would happen if people around the world agreed that the stories were pure fiction?
Edited by disarray
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.... What is relevant, I gather, are such things as the following:

  • Whether someone called Abraham did, generally speaking, perform the deeds attributed to him in various scriptures (e.g., almost killing one of his sons because he heard God's voice)?
  • If so, was the voice Abraham heard the voice of God, or was it just a voice in his (perhaps own demented) head?
  • If the story is pure fiction and there was no Abraham who ever existed in history to whom an imaginary or real God promised land, then why did the authors of the scriptures make the stories up?
  • And finally (as something of an aside), what would happen if people around the world agreed that the stories were pure fiction?

 

I read the other day that it was the Lord who stayed Abraham's arm. Now what that would feel like I have no idea, but I don't think it is just like getting cold feet and changing your mind.

Someone pointed out Isaac never spoke to Abraham again after that experience. I don't blame him, yet today we are meant to forgive. Do we always forgive our parents?

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@dimreapr: It seems that you are saying that the prophets of the various scriptures most likely were atheists and just claimed to speak with God etc., in order to pacify and spritualize the masses. That seems rather far-fetched to me, unless you are being flippant, which, either way, clarifies nothing.

 

 

No, I said “I wouldn’t be at all surprised” if they were; if you could teach people how to be content/happy by telling them a lie, would you condemn them to misery by telling them the truth?

 

 

For starters, we cannot assume that these prophets, etc. were actual people. I have been suggesting that the question as to whether or not they existed is not so important as the question as to whether they performed miracles (or heard the voice of a real God). Even if they existed, but did not perform miracles, then why di the various people who wrote about these prophets claim that they did (e.g., part the Red Sea, come out alive from a fire or a whale, bring a dead person back to life, etc.).

 

 

My point is, it doesn’t matter about the nomenclature, someone did/said/wrote those things and it’s time that makes history ever more nebulous the deeper one probes and given that, you should maybe read miracles as exaggeration, misdirection or just plain dishonesty.

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Dimreepr:

On the one hand you seem to be saying that we have even more reason to think that "miracles" we read about are just examples of "exaggeration, misdirection or just plain dishonesty" as if you disapprove. Then, on the other hand, you seem to be irrelevantly suggesting that it is sometimes best to tell people things that aren't true in order to make them happier. Perhaps you could give me a few examples as to the value of the sort of "exaggeration, misdirection, or just plain dishonesty" that you claim makes people so happy. Are you referring to such claims as the following that various people have made and that directly or indirectly relate to the Abrahamic tradition:

  • People will go to hell and suffer everlasting pain or some other such discomfort if they don't believe in certain miraculous things
  • People don't deserve to live if they don't believe in the same miraculous things as another group and refuse to convert
  • Santa will miraculously bring you presents as he flies through the air in a sleigh drawn by reindeer if you behave
  • You should thrust a knife into your son if, by some miraculous twist of logic, your God miraculously tells you to
  • You should enter Canaan and slaughter people who have already settled there if your God miraculously says you are the chosen people to whom he gives this land
  • You should believe that you are born a sinner because your earliest ancestors ate from an apple that miraculously gave them knowledge of good and evil, etc.,

RobbityBob1:
Judging from your last post, you seem to be assuming that the account regarding Abraham and Isaac is fact. I am surprised that you ignore the fact that Muslims think that the account of the almost-completed sacrifice involved Abraham and Ishmael (their progenitor), not Isaac. Then you try to start an irrelevant dialogue about whether or not we should forgive our parents. Somehow you seem to think that scriptural history is so accurate as to be able to say whether the son actually stopped speaking to his father for whatever period of time. All in all, it seems as if you have crossed over into the twilight zone of religious proselytizing here. As I mentioned before, if you take away the assumption that a real God was involved in this story, then all you have left is a story of a bizarre culture in which human sacrifice is acceptable for whatever reasons and/or a story of a demented parent who hears voices telling him to "slaughter" his son with a knife. Funny how many people think that the Aztecs were cruel and barbarian to use a knife to cut out the hearts of children as a sacrifice to their god, while the story of Abraham's attempted sacrifice of his child is somehow seen as an good, instructive Sunday story lesson about how one should be obedient and forgiving. Indeed, the culmination of the Abrahamic narrative is that God sacrifices his own son, thereby further illustrating the sacrifice-mentality of the times.

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.....

RobbityBob1:

Judging from your last post, you seem to be assuming that the account regarding Abraham and Isaac is fact. I am surprised that you ignore the fact that Muslims think that the account of the almost-completed sacrifice involved Abraham and Ishmael (their progenitor), not Isaac. Then you try to start an irrelevant dialogue about whether or not we should forgive our parents. Somehow you seem to think that scriptural history is so accurate as to be able to say whether the son actually stopped speaking to his father for whatever period of time. All in all, it seems as if you have crossed over into the twilight zone of religious proselytizing here. As I mentioned before, if you take away the assumption that a real God was involved in this story, then all you have left is a story of a bizarre culture in which human sacrifice to a God is acceptable and/or a story of a demented parent who hears voices telling him to "slaughter" his son with a knife.

 

I was commenting on the bizarre concept of surviving a child sacrifice and what sort of effect that would have on that child. How would anyone know whether that child never spoke to his parent ever again, but one could easily imagine that happening.

 

I have not said whether I accept this incident as true or false, yet you have recorded me saying this! All I can see from my study is that human sacrifice was an accepted historical practice for people from Ur. So if it is reported in Genesis that Abraham sets out to commit child sacrifice it may not out be of the ordinary for that time.

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RobbityBob1:

I can only go by what seems to be the most logical interpretation of what you actually write: You said that you did not blame Isaac for not speaking again, as if, I suppose, you are trying to say that the story is likely to be true because even today, children often do not speak to their parents when they feel that their parents have offended them. You did not say that you would not blame Isaac for not speaking if that is what actually happened. I think it quite logical that I inferred that you took what someone said as probably being true...that you can easily imagine it actually happened. I don't have to "imagine" whether or not the Aztecs really sacrificed children...I take it as historical fact...but so what?....does that mean that the Sun really is a God who will make crops grow better if one sacrifices children?

 

Similarly, what significance do you attach to the fact that human sacrifice might be common to the times. Are you implying, for example, that the the idea that human sacrifice was common, again, somehow makes it more likely that the story of Abraham and Isaac (or Ishmael, depending upon your religious pov), is somehow true and actually happened. And, are you further suggesting that if the story of Abraham is likely to have happened (given that it is realistic to say that children stop speaking to offending parents and that it is realistic to say that a sacrifice might have been common practice back in that culture), then are you further suggesting that it is true that God actually spoke to Abraham?

 

In short, are you suggesting that the scriptural account is factual or not? On the one hand you say, "how would you know" if it happened, but then on the other hand, you say "one could easily imagine" that it happened. Yes, one can imagine all sorts of Biblical accounts happening....though some seem more believable than others..personally I find the depiction of Moses parting the Red seas as depicted by Cecil B DeMille a bit hard to imagine, but hey each to his own. So what is your point....are you suggesting that the Abrahamic sacrificial story is likely to be true or that every miraculous event in the Bible is likely to have happened (e.g., the similar sacrifice of Jesus) or just what?

 

It is difficult to know just what you are implying about the story of Abraham's sacrificial effort, though you seem to make various comments about the archeological and cultural events of the times as if to make some point. If you were more explicit about what you are trying to get at (that is, plainly state your contention), then I think there would be less room for misunderstandings, and less need for someone such as myself to make guesses as to what your point is.

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I was looking for the bits that would be evidence whether it was true or not.

 

Rams caught in a thicket was common.

Child sacrifice was common.

 

The burial places of Sarah and co seem to be well preserved even if they are out of bounds.

 

The laws written by Hammurabi seem to attribute lots of interaction between the leaders and their gods. So looking into the extent of Hammurabi's kingdom, I can see why Abraham would need to travel out of that area of influence if he felt he wanted to start his own area of influence. (Haram is up in what is currently Turkey)

 

The fact that the Muslim story of Abraham has variations does not carry weight in this investigation.

 

 

The Code of Hammurabi is a law code of ancient Babylon, set down by King Hammurabi around 1,750 BC. The code survives on several large stele and clay tablets, none of which are fully intact so there are occasional lacunae in the text.

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RobbityRob1:

It seems to me that you are looking for evidence that confirms that Biblical story, n'est-ce pas?

 

In any case, are you just looking for evidence that supports that Biblical account, or are you also open to other accounts such as the Quran?

 

You state that "The fact that the Muslim story of Abraham has variations does not carry weight in this investigation."

 

Again, is the Muslim story irrelevant because you are focusing on Judaism or Christianity? Do you not agree that the fact that various religions have different accounts of the Abrahamic narrative tends to detract from the "accuracy" of any one account, particularly since each religion claims that they are right (i.e., divinely inspired) and other accounts aren't?

 

I have no doubt that there may have been tribal people that did things that parallel some of the events of the Bible, though there are perhaps just as many things in the Bible that contradict archaeology and logic. Indeed, most myths in most cultures, I would suggest, have a grain of plausibility in them.

 

My plausibility on its own is not of much use....the cut comes when we think we have enough plausible evidence to make some sort of leap of faith that becomes a claim of knowledge with regards to the miracles in the Bible, such as people having dialogues with God.

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In other parts of the OT it goes on to say the firstborn (of a woman) had to be given to the Lord or redeemed. Ishmael we are not told if he was a first born son of his mother or not, but with Isaac we are told.

 

Is this part of the story recounted in the Quran? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael

 

At the age of 14, Ishmael was freed along with his mother. The Lord’s covenant made clear Ishmael was not to inherit Abraham’s house and that Isaac would be the seed of the covenant: "Take your son, your only son, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah." (Genesis 22:2-8) Abraham gave Ishmael and his mother a supply of bread and water and sent them away. Hagar entered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba where the two soon ran out of water and Hagar, not wanting to witness the death of her son, set the boy some distance away from herself, and wept. "And God heard the voice of the lad" and sent his angel to tell Hagar, "Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation." And God "opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water", from which she drew to save Ishmael's life and her own. "And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer." (Genesis 21:14–21)

It doesn't tend to lend itself to turning Ismael into a child sacrifice, but Abraham sure put the child's life in danger when he freed the mother (Hagar) and son.

Under the law of Hammurabi what was his responsibilities to her? Did he do wrong releasing her as he did?

 

PS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael#Ishmael_in_Muslim_literature The above is mentioned and nothing about Ishmael being sacrificed.

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RobbityBob1: Did it ever occur to you that it might be somewhat biased to just rely on the Bible (a Judeo-Christian source) to decide whether Isaac or Ishmael was the son that Abraham almost sacrificed. Indeed, here is an Islamic site that attempts to analyze this issue in depth: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/MusTrad/sacrifice.html

 

After a detailed scriptural analysis of the issue, this site concludes that “According to the Qur'ân, the sacrificed cannot be Isaac. According to authentic Islamic tradition, the sacrificed is Ishmael. The Muslim scholars have solved this case a long time ago..”

 

Similarly, you appear to be biased in that you seem to be selectively looking for archaeological and/or cultural evidence that supports the idea that Isaac was the sacrificial son. Of course, it is fine to be selective, to a certain degree, in an effort to construct a particular theory of viewpoint (though it is not reasonable to be selective and biased when trying to determine whether a theory or viewpoint is valid). In any case, it would be helpful to know whether or not you acknowledge that you might be taking a rather biased approach to this issue.

 

I, of course, am not suggesting that either Isaac or Ishmael was the sacrificial son. I have just pointed out that there are different versions of the story, and that those who write these versions typically claim that their version is divinely inspired and therefore undeniably true, while the other versions are false. The result of such disagreement is that it becomes more difficult to claim that anyone has the one, true, correct version of the story, or that the story is historically accurate, or, indeed, that the story happened at all.

 

With regards to archaeology, the most objective and most definitive source of information that I found was “The Bible Unearthed Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Finkelstein and Silberman, 2002.

 

The book attempts to objectively look at the pros and cons of the research done on the issue of whether or not the various stories found in the Bible were actual historical events. The introduction concludes that “Much of what is commonly taken for granted as accurate history — the stories of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, and even the saga of the glorious united monarchy of David and Solomon — are, rather, the creative expressions of a powerful religious reform movement that flourished in the kingdom of Judah in the Late Iron Age. Although these stories may have been based on certain historical kernels, they primarily reflect the ideology and the world-view of the writers…But suggesting that the most famous stories of the Bible did not happen as the Bible records them is far from implying that ancient Israel had no genuine history.”

 

In short, the book states that a thorough archaeological analysis of the OT leads to the conclusion that the central stories of the OT are not genuine.

https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/finkelstein-bible.html

 

Amazon’s own review of this book is that it “is a balanced, thoughtful, bold reconsideration of the historical period that produced the Hebrew Bible. The headline news in this book is easy to pick out: there is no evidence for the existence of Abraham, or any of the Patriarchs; ditto for Moses and the Exodus; and the same goes for the whole period of Judges and the united monarchy of David and Solomon.

https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Unearthed-Archaeologys-Vision-Ancient/dp/0684869136?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

Though I don’t often rely on Wiki, its review included relevant quotes:

“The Bible Unearthed was well received by biblical scholars and archaeologists…biblical scholar Jonathan Kirsch called it "a brutally honest assessment of what archeology can and cannot tell us about the historical accuracy of the Bible", which embraces the spirit of modern archaeology by approaching the Bible "as an artifact to be studied and evaluated rather than a work of divine inspiration that must be embraced as a matter of true belief."

 

So, if one takes an objective anthropological/archeological approach, it seems that one focuses on the motives that the writers had for writing stories such as the Abrahamic narrative in the first place. This approach does not really concern itself too much with whether there is a God or whether God spoke to humans, or made certain covenants with them, etc. Rather, one might see the OT as largely a collection of stories written largely in order to advance a particular agenda or ideology. In short, the OT can be seen as a form of spiritual education and/or propaganda. As to whether the writers actually believed the stories they wrote were true or not themselves is something of a side issue, much like the question as to whether or not people are justified in pretending that stories are true in order to make people behave or to make them happier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_Unearthed

Edited by disarray
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