Why not just sort of cast aside the midrash and go back to the original stories? I could think of nothing to say. Islam also main-tains that the Koran was dictated by God. This biographical detail becameso widely believed that it actually made it into scripture. It takes elements of history, mixes them with elements of myth, and begins to mold them into a theme. The hero of a midlife quest has a different challenge. And to some degree Jews and Christians, though still divided on doctrine, have achieved a modus vivendi, with Jews living comfortably in America, the most Christian nation on Earth, and with Christians being some of Israel's strongest supports. Most heroic stories begin with a birth, a hopeful coming.
He is worthy of God. And, as you know, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is to a church what a Picasso is to a portrait. Many have him teaching arithmetic andother sciences to Egyptians, who pass them on to the Greeks. God reacts immediately, dramatically escalating the prom-ise he has been making for years. The real story is worse. And, what was so startling to me about that whole conversation was how direct it was.
Like his hugely popular Walking the Bible 2000 , Feiler keeps our interest by mixing theological meditation with adventurous travelogue and sly wit. And so, I said well wait a minute, are you saying to me that as a descendant of Isaac that I don't worship God correctly and he said yes and you're going to be punished. The potential problem with this universality should alsonot be overlooked. I was dressed in a brand-new navy pin-striped suit, a whiteshirt, and a large-knotted tie with diagonal red, blue, andwhite stripes. I wanted to understand his legacy and his appeal. In my conversation with Rami, I asked him why hethought the story of Abraham was so concerned with children.
I would read, travel, seek out scholars, talk to religious leaders, visit his natural domain, even go home to mine, because I quickly realized that to understand Abraham I had to understand his heirs. As we've heard today, I was wrong on all three counts. Abraham must have been dif-ferent from his relatives because he alone was taken frombeyond the Euphrates. They were illuminated in man-made light now, theirbrilliance a little too sharp. God pours these qualities into two symmetrical cones,then adjoins them at their tips, so that the abyss of pain meetsthe body of knowledge. Still, he ends on an upbeat note. 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.
But whenthey pass through the gates and lift up their eyes, suddenlythey are in an illuminated place, a familial place. That's a completely accepted custom. What we also see here though are the beginnings of the divide between the monotheisms, as Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away, and they become the people from whom the Arab Muslims hold themselves to be descended. And that is what sort of -- the thing about your question is that when I started, I said it was not going to be a spiritual experience. This is precisely what makes Abraham so appealing to God. Still, thiswas the only way to see Abraham.
These and other variants, Aramu and Arabu, were common terms for seminomad, until they were replaced with the catchall Arab. In the end the divergences from Abraham simply seem more powerful in the Middle East today than do the shared origins of the three great monotheisms in his remarkable life story. The Bedouin in the area still call that substance manna, and if you look into Exodus, the early chapters of Exodus, you can read about a white, sweet, sticky substance that forms into globules and falls to the ground. For Genesis, a narrative consumedwith men, lineage, and power, the diminishing effect of thisdebility on Abraham is staggering. Then the city holds its breath.
My wavy blond hair was brushed twice over myears. I wanted to know him. I spent a number of months doing research into Abraham and I got myself into this knot. So his wife, Sarah, takes her maid, Hagar, gives her to Abraham. But one of the fascinating things about the story is that we don't know anything about his childhood. There's no Internet where you can go to check the facts.
I haven't told my family that I went there. As easy as it is to forget today—whenChristianity is the dominant religion in half the world—earlyChristians felt a powerful sense of being alien. Last time I was there, there were 10,000 Jews dancing joyously in the streets. This slighter follow-up focuses on the patriarch of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, whose story lies at the heart of the ongoing strife that began in the Middle East. He was an eight-year-old boy living up in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee, and he took the ram's horn and he cleaned it out with the pumice and it was a great story. Muhammad identified Abraham as a precursor of himself, someone strongly associated with Arabia, yet ready to break with his polytheist forebears.