Title: Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths
Author: Bruce Feiler
Release Date: August 2, 2005
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Genre: Non-Fiction, Travel
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
Both immediate and timeless, Abraham tells the powerful story of one man’s search for the shared ancestor of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Traveling through war zones, braving violence at religious sites, and seeking out faith leaders, Bruce Feiler uncovers the defining yet divisive role that Abraham plays for half the world’s believers. Provocative and uplifting, Abraham offers a thoughtful and inspiring vision of unity that redefines what we think about our neighbors, our future, and ourselves.
Bruce Feiler is definitely my favorite non-fiction author. He writes about religion so beautifully, making his books universal so that they appeal to many people. His other two religion-based books Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses and Where God Was Born: A Daring Adventure Through the Bible’s Greatest Stories are travelogues of sorts; they’re about his journey to the places in the Bible in order to find the true message and discover some sort of peace and harmony in the world. Abraham is about the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a study of the man that all three faiths embrace.
Feiler examines how each religion has made Abraham their own, often to the exclusion of the other two faiths. Abraham itself is a small book, but Feiler takes on a very big task: to try and understand why Abraham is so important and what he represents. In doing so, the author hopes to open a dialogue between faiths to talk about their common ancestor, rather than focusing on their differences.
There are many viewpoints represented in this book – from the most closed-minded interviews which left the author with a sick feeling in his stomach, to inclusive messages of hope for the future. Feiler makes sure that each religion is treated fairly; though he is Jewish, that doesn’t seem to bias him. He makes it clear that is where he is coming from, but because he is admittedly not a devout Jew, his goal is much more scholarly than religious.
Abraham is an incredibly interesting study that I highly recommend. My religion doesn’t really come close to the faiths that Abraham fathered, but I still think this book is incredibly interesting and very timely. If you are interested in matters of Christianity and Judaism (Islam is only tackled in depth in Abraham), whether from a personal faith or, like me, a secular standpoint, I highly recommend Bruce Feiler’s books. They are incredibly interesting, well-written and researched, and they offer a message of hope: even if we can’t come together right now, it isn’t impossible in the future.