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Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths

por Bruce Feiler

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1,604238,284 (3.57)26
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. At a moment when the world is asking, “Can the religions get along?” one figure stands out as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. One man holds the key to our deepest fears -- and our possible reconciliation. Abraham. Bruce Feiler set out on a personal quest to better understand our common patriarch. Traveling in war zones, climbing through caves and ancient shrines, and sitting down with the world's leading religious minds, Feiler uncovers fascinating, little-known details of the man who defines faith for half the world. Both immediate and timeless, Abraham is a powerful, universal story, the first-ever interfaith portrait of the man God chose to be his partner. Thoughtful and inspiring, it offers a rare vision of hope that will redefine what we think about our neighbors, our future, and ourselves.… (mais)
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In this book, Feiler explores who Abraham is from the perspective of the 3 religions that trace themselves back to him: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He does by connecting his travels in the Middle East to talk with various people about Abraham to his mental journey to try and define Abraham.
Except for the very end of the book, it does not feel like a religious text, but more of an exploration to understand these religions and the impact of how they choose to define Abraham and various points in history changed how they interacted with each other as time went on. Though, especially in the second to last chapter Feiler is clear that he doesn't feel any of these religions is above the other, he has conviction that God - at least in some form - exists.
While the book is written simply - but not in a dumbed down way, but more in a way to makes it accessible to non-experts - but at the same time, it feels to be aimed about readers who already have had exposure to these religions, whether because of practiced faith or because of previous study. Also, Feiler's American view does sometimes come through and at moments feel 'American-centric.' Though, it does feel like he is trying to write to be more inclusive. ( )
  Sara_Cat | Mar 7, 2021 |
Approach with caution! This book packed a whopper for me, nearly knocked me on my butt. I have been interested in learning more about the similarities of the three major faiths in the world and was looking forward to reading this book. The book begins with a quote from Genesis 12: 2-3 with God’s promise to Abraham. “I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” What I wasn’t prepared for was how ‘man’ uses Abraham to justify their faiths.
Bruce broke the chapters out by focusing on the Rock of Abraham (his home), the God of Abraham (his Birth and Call), the Children of Abraham (Ishmael and Issac), the People of Abraham (Jews, Christians and Muslims) and the Blood of Abraham (his legacy).

Bruce traveled to Jerusalem to write this book. He shared his experiences, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people. He has made the book an uncomplicated journey taking his readers with him. Uncomplicated in the sense that everything is understandable. Don’t let this fool you into thinking this is an easy book. I would not have been ready to read this book when it was published in 2002, I don’t think my faith was strong enough. I might have been disillusioned by human action. I might have closed the book after the first chapter and never finished it convinced that corporate religion is all man made and not something I want to embrace.

Jerusalem is a touchstone of faith, Bruce tells us. Adam was buried here, Solomon built here, Jesus prayed here and Muhammad ascended here. For me, learning about the ‘holy land’ was like trying to understand all the stars in the sky…. so vast, so deep, sooooo many! Being a Christian I couldn’t help but be looking for some confirmation of my faith but very quickly I learned to let go and let Bruce have control of this journey. He ended the first chapter with a quote from his guide. “The relationship between a person and another human being is what creates and allows for a relationship with God. If you’re not capable of living with each other and getting along with each other, then you’re not capable of having a relationship with God.” Then his guide finished with “So the question is not whether God can bring peace into the world. The question is: Can we?”

As I entered the next chapter on Abraham’s birth and his call I still felt I was on unstable ground. Abraham’s family worshiped many gods and he was called by God to leave his homeland and become the father of a great nation. He began monotheism. God said to Abraham “Because of you, Abraham, the knowledge of me is going to the entire world.” Abraham had the first call. I was impressed and hopeful that God would not limit himself to those in a certain part of the world. However, I had difficulty with Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac and abandon his son Ishmael. I suspect there is a lot more for me to understand here.

Learning about Abraham’s children was no less challenging. This is the beginning of different directions. Ishmael for the Muslims and Issac for Jews and Christians. Was this God’s plan? I am reminded of my son sharing his insights with me. He said “I would like to believe that heaven is a lot of different neighborhoods.” i agree with him.

As Bruce takes us through Christianity, Judaism and Muslim’s relationship with Abraham I am still reading with my jaw dropping. I struggled again with how humans use Abraham in such a way to prove to themselves that their faith is ‘THE’ faith. Tsk, tsk.

The last chapter on the Blood of Abraham did bring me to solid ground. I realized at the conclusion of this book that I just completed a journey of my own faith. I have an appreciation for other faiths, I do not believe there is only one faith or one way to God. What I do know is I am comfortable with my choice of Christianity. I choose Christ. I love Jesus’ lessons while he was among us, I desire to follow his teaching. I will also pray for those who follow the lessons from Judaism and Muslims and I will continue to pray for peace. I figure we have so far to go and we have so many challenges just within Christianity. Why must we go out of our way to criticize others faiths, Catholics, Baptists, Methodist, Lutherans, etc. I believe again the important message is that we all come to God in a different way and we choose that belief based on our gifts and our needs. Abraham’s message of monotheism is the foundation.

Bruce ends his book with this thought. This Abraham is not Jew, christian, or Muslim. He is not flawless; he’s not a saint. But he is himself, the best vessel we’ve got, the father of all. This Abraham won’t be the only Abraham. He won’t be the last Abraham. But he is an Abraham for today. I choose him.

I have to thank Bruce for taking me on this journey. I feel like a child that has just had a huge world opened up to me. Thankfully I can continue this journey with my strong and confident faith in God and Jesus and I can appreciate Abraham’s guidance in bringing me this far. ( )
  Jolene.M | Jul 30, 2020 |
Some quotes:
"The silent one [Abraham] finally speaks, and his first words to God are words of desperation, even doubt." (p. 63, about being still childless)

"Sarah 'afflicts' Hagar, the text says, using the same words later invoked to describe how the Israelites are treated by the pharaohs in Egypt, and Hagar responds the same way, by fleeing into the desert The place Hagar goes---the wilderness of Shur---is the exact same place the Israelites go immediately after crossing the Red Sea. Again the Bible is sending subtle message. All God's children are afflicted in some way. And when they are, God looks after them." (p. 65)

Hanan Eschel (spelled Eshel on Wikipedia) was an archeologist who did important work on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is among the many people Feiler interviewed for this book and he said, during a discussion: "If you ask me, it's a question of modesty. . . . Some people read the text and they suffer from a lack of modesty. They really believe they have all the answers. . . . If you're modest, you'll probably understand the text better, and there's much less chance that you'll do awful things in the name of God." Having just read Josephine Tey's The Singing Sands , I was struck by how similar this was to her character's theory that criminals suffer from "pathological vanity". ( )
  raizel | May 4, 2020 |
by author of New York Times Bestselling WALKING THE BIBLE
  LGUMClibrary | Mar 11, 2020 |
> Babelio : https://www.babelio.com/livres/Feiler-Abraham--Voyage-aux-sources-de-la-foi/1215...

> Abraham, le saint Patriarche de la Bible des Hébreux est aussi le père spirituel du Nouveau Testament et grand et saint pour le Coran. Abraham est l’ancêtre commun. Il est la cheville ouvrière du conflit arabo-israélien. Il est la pièce maîtresse de la bataille entre l’Occident et les extrémistes islamiques. Il est le père de douze millions de juifs, deux milliards de chrétiens et un milliard de musulmans dans le monde.
Il est le premier monothéiste de l’histoire et il est largement méconnu. L’auteur a voulu mieux comprendre cet ancêtre commun et ce que disaient de lui les religions abrahamiques. Pour ce faire, il ne s’est pas intéressé qu’aux textes mais aussi aux hommes, aux rituels, aux croyances, aux lieux et aux passions. Mélangeant l’érudition et l’humour, les notes de voyage et les incursions historiques, la psychologie des foules et le feu de la foi, l’auteur nous entraîne dans une fascinante exploration des multiples visages d’Abraham : de celui qui justifie le pacifisme à celui qui pousse au martyre. Feiler pose au passage des questions théologiques fascinantes. Son sens de la pédagogie appliquée et de l’observation aiguë font de ce livre une sorte de voyage d’agrément aux sources de la foi. Ce livre, encensé par la critique américaine, a été best-seller aux USA.
A signaler aussi : Les Racines juives du christianisme, toujours aux Presses de la Renaissance. Et, très bien fait comme d’habitude : La Bible pour les nuls, aux éditions First. --Clés n° 49
  Joop-le-philosophe | Feb 9, 2019 |
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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. At a moment when the world is asking, “Can the religions get along?” one figure stands out as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. One man holds the key to our deepest fears -- and our possible reconciliation. Abraham. Bruce Feiler set out on a personal quest to better understand our common patriarch. Traveling in war zones, climbing through caves and ancient shrines, and sitting down with the world's leading religious minds, Feiler uncovers fascinating, little-known details of the man who defines faith for half the world. Both immediate and timeless, Abraham is a powerful, universal story, the first-ever interfaith portrait of the man God chose to be his partner. Thoughtful and inspiring, it offers a rare vision of hope that will redefine what we think about our neighbors, our future, and ourselves.

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