Klinghoffer, author of The Lord Will Gather Me In and formerly the literary editor of the National Review, gathers abundant material from the oral traditions surrounding Abraham to weave a rich and colorful history of Israel's first patriarch. In order to draw a complete picture of Abraham's life, Klinghoffer relies on the Talmudic stories as well as the ...
Klinghoffer, author of The Lord Will Gather Me In and formerly the literary editor of the National Review, gathers abundant material from the oral traditions surrounding Abraham to weave a rich and colorful history of Israel's first patriarch. In order to draw a complete picture of Abraham's life, Klinghoffer relies on the Talmudic stories as well as the tales of the medieval rabbis, like Maimonides, to trace Abraham's life from his birth in Mesopotamia to his burial in Machpelah. Born into a time of spiritual revolution, Abraham gradually recognized his calling as a prophet of God who would challenge the polytheistic religions of Mesopotamia and try to convert followers to the monotheism he had discovered. Using the biblical story (Genesis 12-25) to structure his book, Klinghoffer narrates the major events in Abraham's life-the births of Ishmael and Isaac, the near-sacrifice of Isaac, the betrayal of Lot, the births of Jacob and Esau-to provide insights into the ways that Abraham maintained his monotheistic faith even when God seemed to make unreasonable commands. Klinghoffer maintains that we cannot do without Abraham as a historical figure because Abraham tells us so much about the God he discovers. A master storyteller, Klinghoffer provides a fast-paced and engrossing account of the life of the man who fathered the three major Western religions.
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A convert to Orthodox Judaism, Klinghoffer finds the key to his acquired faith in the story of its ancient founder, the patriarch Abraham. Skeptical of the skeptics who treat Abraham's story as a pious myth, Klinghoffer recognizes in Abraham a real historical figure who effected a revolution in the world's religious beliefs. To make his case, Klinghoffer supplements the scriptural account of Abraham's life with centuries of Talmudic commentary. Readers who know Abraham only from the Bible will find many surprises in these ancient commentaries, including the fact that Abram received the new name of Abraham to annul the divine punishment apportioned to a sinner. Because he writes as a well-versed amateur, Klinghoffer well anticipates the interests of general readers, although he avoids a simple-minded literalism that would deny the ambiguities surrounding Abraham's life--ambiguities that have long alienated Christian from Jew, Jew from Muslim, despite their shared allegiance to Abraham as the Father of the Faithful. Hope that the adherents of the three Abrahamic faiths will ever resolve their differences grows stronger with a book like this--lucid, profound, reflective. Bryce Christensen