Biography of Abraham (ca. 1850 a.C.)

Spiritual Patriarch of three religions, traditionally designated as the first follower and as the founder of monotheism. The legend, myth and history are mixed in the biography of the famous Biblical character to make impossible to distinguish how Abraham was a real character or, failing that, know the reason that you chose to incarnate the monotheistic tradition. For this reason, in the following lines the description of the forging of the myth and its role be held in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the three great religions that revere him as Patriarch.

The meeting of Abraham and MILTIADES (oil on wood, 1625). National Gallery of art (Washington, United States).

The biblical Abraham's biography

The main source for the knowledge of Abraham is found in the biblical Book of Genesis, which, at the moment, reveals the remarkable antiquity of the character and, therefore, not only its importance in the Foundation of religious beliefs based on the book, but also the difficulty of comparing the historiographical evidence with the legendary. Through this source, Abraham is known genealogy: Noah, the legendary Builder of the Ark which saved him from the universal flood, had a son named Sem, which would result in the branch of the Semitic family. One of the descendants of Shem, Terah, is the father of Abraham, as described in Genesis (11, 27-32):

Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Aram. Aram begat Lot and died in the presence of his father, Terah, in his native country, Ur. Abram and Nahor married. The wife of Abram was called Sarai and Nahor Melca, daughter of Aram, father of Melca and Jesca. Sarai was barren and had no children. And her daughter-in-law, wife of Abram, Terah took his son Abram, Sarai and his grandson Lot and brought them out of Ur to go to the country of Canaan, but arrived in Haran stayed there.

By soon, the first information to keep in mind is that Abraham was born in the mythical capital of the Chaldeans, the city of Ur (nowadays belonging to Iraq), perhaps the most important town of the early times of mankind. Located in a port area of the Euphrates River, in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf, Ur reached its peak towards the Government of the third dynasty, in the transit of the second millennium BC.

Between 20 and 30 of the 20th century, a British archaeologist, sir Leonard Woolley, conducted major excavations in Mesopotamia, including the famous Ziggurat of Ur; Wolley no is recató the most minimum announcing with fanfare that he/she had discovered, in Ur, birthplace of Abraham. Although the British prospector was rewarded with the title of sir by these discoveries, the truth is that no conclusive proof that the building designated by Woolley is the home of the Patriarch there is. Similarly, in the thousands of clay with cuneiform tables legacy by thriving Mesopotamian civilization nor is there any mention of Abraham, which certainly must not occupy a central role in the city. Perhaps, yes was favored by the cultural instruction at home of a priest or a potentate, but all of these scenarios have more ground than pure speculation.

Continuing with the story of Genesis, Abraham accompanied his father, Terah, his nephew, Lot, and his wife, Sarai, towards the land of Canaan. This displacement is meaningless religious, since the Genesis does not indicate, as if any instruction given to Abraham to leave the land of the Chaldeans will later. However, the prosperity of the born civilization at the mercy of the fertile Crescent caused that often were attacked by foreign forces. Coincidentally, the tablets with cuneiform reveal the existence of a brutal campaign of looting of the Elamites (from the current Iran) in the lands ruled by Ur around 2000 B.c. It is likely that it was this armed attack what inspirational that Abraham, as other many inhabitants of the Chaldean town, decided to emigrate to the West, in search of greater peace and tranquility.

Journey to Canaan

The transit towards Canaan was the usual manner, i.e. going towards Euphrates Valley to Harran, a small town located on the banks of the river Balikh (today part of Turkey), which was the gateway to the rich city of Urfa (currently Sanliurfa, Turkey). Abraham was established for some time in the Turkish city, becoming in addition the Manager of the family clan by the death of his father. The main occupation of Abraham was the keep the flocks, ensure the family support through the exchange of wool for food products and the construction of a place to live. The clan already must be sufficiently large and prosperous as to which Abraham keep a good social and economic position, which surely was increased in Harran as this city an important hub of communications. However, it was in Harran where, according to tradition, Abraham received divine revelation (Genesis, 12, 1-3):

Yahweh said to Abram: 'salt of your land, your kindred and your father's House, and go to the country that I will indicate to you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you and make your name, which will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. You will be blessed all the Nations of the Earth."

To obey unreservedly the message of God, the revelation of Harran is the culminating moment of the creation of the myth of Abraham. In this context, he/she returned to be important to remember the Chaldean origin of Abraham for the explanation of the transition between polytheism and monotheism. In all Mesopotamia (including Harran) is praising a richly divine Pantheon, with varying degrees of gods: in Ur, for example, the majority cult was that of Sin, the God-Moon; However, each individual possessed at the same time a personal protector God. He/She could perceive Abraham personal God was more important than the divine Pantheon? We will never know the answer, but the truth is that the solution of a monotheistic choice made consciously against the obligatory nature of Pantheism may explain that the step taken by Abraham, apparently without importance, become with the passing of the centuries the factor that galvanized his reputation as Patriarch of three religious faiths.

The procession of Abraham on way to Canaan must have been wide, crossing the valleys of Damascus, in the current Syria, until leaving Harran. Arrived as Canaanite domains, specifically to the place of Shechem (the current city of Nabulus, under the Government of the Palestinian national authority), returned to appear Dios Abraham, pronounced a key phrase: "To your seed I will give this land" (Gn, 12, 7). Consider the family of the Patriarch had met a continuous touring evolution, situation of nomadism, which, moreover, was the usual in the societies of the time. For this reason, the revelation of God in respect of a land in which sedentary living was, of course, an exciting proposal. After this appearance, Abraham built an altar in Shechem as a place of worship that only divine their monotheistic beliefs began to make famous among the Canaanites.

The new destination of Abraham, the country of Canaan, had a well-deserved reputation for wealth and prosperity due to trade (Canaanite meant 'merchant' in the ancient Semitic languages). Although it is probable that he/she remained some time in Shechem, Abraham established his residence at Bethel (present-day Palestinian city of Baytin), where he/she also built an altar; According to the itinerary of the Genesis, the Patriarch continued descending to the desert of the Negev; which in our times is a rich territory located between Beersheba and the Gulf of Aqaba, in the time of Abraham was little more than a dry and stony ground. In case outside little, a famine in the region contributed more if it is to impoverish the human settlements, so Abraham decided to start a new shift, this time to the rich Egyptian country.

Abraham in Egypt

While the Genesis is clear as to the new destination of Abraham, in the written and archaeological sources from the country of the Nile there is any trace of the Patriarch's stay in her womb. In the city of Avaris (to the South of Cairo), in the archaeological site of Tell-it gave, there is evidence of migratory contingents of people from the North-East of the Negev, but the dating of these tests not dates back beyond the domination of Egypt by the Hyksos, that is, towards the second half of the first millennium BC again as this is another archaeological contradictions in the story of Abraham (see(: History of Egypt).

Continuing with the story of Genesis, Abraham was in Egypt which for centuries became the nightmare of biblical apologists, unable to interpret in moral terms what had driven the Patriarch so far-fetched decision (Gn, 12, 10-16):

When I was entering Egypt, told Sarai, his wife: "look, I know you are a beautiful woman. Just the Egyptians see you will say: 'It's his wife' and I I will be killed and you leave the life. Di, therefore I beg you, you are my sister, so that I do well thanks to you and for your love, I save life." Indeed, when Abram came to Egypt obervaron Egyptians that the woman was very beautiful. Officials of Pharaoh who saw filled him praise before the Pharaoh, and call the woman, was taken to his palace. The Pharaoh, in grace, tried to Abram, who received sheep, oxen and donkeys, servants and maidservants, camels and donkeys.

The decision, although logical to see endangered his life, is somewhat surprising, since it is stated explicitly that Sarai formed part of the harem of the Pharaoh, i.e. who was forced to have sexual intercourse with the Egyptian ruler to change that Abraham managed a good social and economic situation. The apologists, Christians and Jews, agree to observe the drawing moral of this action of Abraham as a lack of confidence of the Patriarch in the promises made by God, since both the promised land and the long-awaited heir were made to wait too much. In this sense, the gesture of the divine to reveal that the word given to Abraham was not in vain was the send great plagues to Egypt, in which perished many subjects of Pharaoh. Somehow (not specified by the Genesis), the powerful Egyptian ruler knew the reason for these pests and decided to banish to Abraham and his family (Gn, 12, 18-20):

The Pharaoh commanded then called Abram and said to him: "what is what I've done? Why not have you said that it was your wife? What I've said: "it's my sister," giving rise to I take it for women? "Now, here is your wife, take it and go." And Pharaoh gave orders to his men, who drove him to the border, and with his wife and everything had.

In the context of the nomadic societies including Abraham developed his life, this gesture should not be unusual or little frequent, assuming that the Patriarch should ensure the livelihood of the entire clan and could not put at risk its leadership even at the expense of sacrificing a concept, the marital fidelity, whose application at this time is totally anachronisticfor not being still the marriage or sexual relations minimally regulated in terms of minimum social articulation mechanism. In fact, after the Egyptian experience, Abraham had saved life and, as he/she recalls the Bible, "had become very rich in cattle, silver and gold" (Gn, 13, 2).

Back to Canaan

Accompanied by his family, Abraham returned to the Negev to get back to Bethel, to the place where they had been and where he/she had also built an altar to God. In theory, the plagues sent by God to Egypt and return to the country that would be of the heirs of Abraham should be sufficient to ensure that the promise would be fulfilled, but the Patriarch and his wife a descendant was still lacking. For this reason, the first problem he/she had to face was to the fears that the excess of wealth in the clan woke up between the servants of the two heads of the same, the own Abraham and his nephew Lot, who says the Bible that "had very large farms to be able to live together" (Gn, 13, 6). Thus, Abraham offered a Lot the possibility of spreading of the clan until the small flare-up of clashes failure at a greater risk for both family: Lot chose the plain of the Jordan, the fertile valleys travels along the river bed to the southern coast of the dead sea. Walking time, Lot would have to confront the paganism and traditions of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities located precisely in the territory that he/she chose.

Shortly after occurred separation, Dios again appear before Abraham, repeating her message about the promised land and his prolific offspring. On this occasion, the divine mandate (Gn, 13, 14-18) urged Abraham to go all Canaan to, such as customary was at the time, to take possession of the territory. The Patriarch once again complied and established his residence at the Oaks of Mamre, or Mambré, in the vicinity of the modern town of Hebron (under control of the Palestinian national authority). From this moment on, become confusing sources for tracking the evolution of Abraham: the Bible leaves yahvista root texts to take the elohista road, with a Tween chronic (Chapter 14 of Genesis), believed it was a later addition with the sole purpose of dressing the figure of Abraham as a warrior. Indeed, chapter 14 narrates the wars between the armies of the Pentapolis (urban Empire around the dead sea: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adam, Seboim and Segor) and Kings of Elam and Salem. Melchizedek, King of Salem (possibly the future Jerusalem), as the priest blessed Abraham, thanking him that thanks to their faith enemies had wavered in their conqueror efforts.

After this interpolation, usually not too believed among biblical exegetes, the biography of Abraham again have a milestone interest, in the form of new appearance of God. This new presence is relevant because the already veteran Patriarch, to the renewal of the divine promises, returned to again doubt the revealed Word (Gn, 15, 1-5):

After these events he/she led Yahweh his word to Abram and said to him: "fear not, Abram, I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great". And Abram said: "Mr Yahvé, what will you give me? I am to die childless, and heir of my house is this Eleazar of Damasco. You have given me no offspring and one of my servants will be my heir". Then Yahweh went the word and said: "No, it won't be your heir, but one out of your bowels you will inherit". It then took him outside and told him: "Lifts your eyes to heaven and count, if you can, the stars", and added: "So your descendants will be".

In the next scene, Abraham, fearfully hesitant before some promises that were not fulfilled, enquired God proof that, in effect, the land of Canaan would be his descendants. God commanded it to sacrifice several animals in his praise and so did the Patriarch, but shortly after it was seized by resentment, surely by having doubted the word of God, who made this profetizase the four hundred years that the Jews would be subjugated by other peoples, Amorites, and Philistines among them, before arriving to have complete freedom in its own territory. Once a flame of fire rendered the animals that had been offered by Abraham on the altar, it doubted the Alliance carried out with him, but the event still would take an unexpected course.

The birth of Ishmael and the prophecy about Isaac

At this point in the biography, emerges the figure of Sarai, wife of Abraham, who decided to apply a well specified rules in the Chaldean law, through which the clan of the future Patriarch was still governed firmly. According to the law, if a wife was barren Mesopotamian, it was lawful for the parent to concibiese a child with a slave, but the fruit of this carnal union was considered for all purposes as a legitimate son of the couple. In this way, Sarai, is considered sterile, urged Abraham to yaciese with Agar, a beautiful Arab slave of the Entourage of the clan, in order to have the long-awaited heir. However, once intercourse, Sarai was jealous of Hagar, who walked her State of pregnancy by Hebron, according to the Bible, 'looking contemptuously her mistress' (Gn, 16, 4). In societies of the time, the matriarch of the clan had a good number of rights before him, so Sarai decided to enforce them and, after the consent of Abraham, made publicly offending the haughty Agar, who made the decision to flee. However, was intercepted by God when he/she stopped to drink water in a source, who spoke to him in the following manner (Gn, 16, 8-12):

"Hagar, servant of Sarai, where you come from and where are you going?". He/She replied: "Flee from the presence of Sarai, my lady". The Ángel of Yahweh said to him: "Go to your lady and humble yourself under your hand". And he/she added: "Both multiply your descendants that can not be counted because of the crowd." Then he/she added yet: "Behold, you are pregnant and parirás a son, and shall call him Ishmael, because Yahweh has heard your affliction. It will be a fierce and indomitable man, his hand will be against everyone and everyone against him. He/She shall dwell to the face of all his brethren."

Agar obeyed and returned to Hebron, where a few days gave birth to Ishmael, whose name in Hebrew means "Dios you heard" (hence the allusion of Genesis to the affliction of Agar heard by God). In theory, and according to what was said above regarding Mesopotamian law, Ismael became heir of Abraham and was the legal son of Sarai, not of the slave Agar. But God will again appear before the Patriarch to finalize its alliance with him and with the Hebrew people; First, ordered you to change the name of Abram (as shown so far in the biblical sources) by Abraham, which in ancient Hebrew means 'father of crowd'; in Exchange, part of the Alliance that should meet the Patriarch and all his offspring was the circumcision of all males establish eight days after his birth. God went beyond his promise, assuring her that Ismael was not the heir who so long had hoped, but the chosen would be directly designed by his wife, Sarai (which also by order of God mutated his name of Sara). The Bible, once again, shows the doubts of Abraham (Gn, 17, 15-17):

God also said to Abraham: "Sarai, your wife, do not call more Sarai; her name is Sara. I will bless her, and I will make you have a child it with my blessing will become mother of Nations, and even Kings of people will come out of it." Abraham fell face on Earth and began to laugh, saying to himself: "a hundred-year-old man a son may born you, and Sara ninety years be mother?"

Abraham returned to believing in the word of God and a few days, despite his advanced age, not only circumcised are they forced to do it to all the members of his clan, thus sealing the divine Covenant. Sara still had many doubts about this new announcement of divinity and even needed a new emergence of the camouflaged among three travellers to whom Abraham feted with the typical hospitality of the area; the scene was represented pictorially on a memorable canvas of Rembrandt, Abraham according to the angels. One of the guests, under the direct patronage of God, announced that he/she would return within a year and to then Sara would have conceived a child. The wife of Abraham, who was listening to the conversation to sneak behind the store, laughed saying "Should after the aged I know the pleasure, being also my old husband?", to which God answered "Anything difficult to Yahweh?" (Gn, 18, 12-13).

The episode is interrupted by the mediation of Abraham before God to treat hypothetical salvation of the righteous men of Sodom and Gomorrah, in which the Patriarch shows his ability to try to gradually reduce the amount of honest individuals who would accept the divinity to not destroy both cities. Another breaks from the biblical account is an interpolation of origin elohista that Abraham and Sarah live a similar episode to the already happened in Egypt: Abimelech, King of Guerar, wants to take Sarah as Abraham had told him that it was not his wife but his sister. The story of Genesis is clearly by inserting the same episode of Egypt but from other traditional source. In fact, as of this moment traditions are separated by full, then reaches the climax of the biography of the Patriarch. Before the arrival of the sacrifice, Abraham resided during a season in Beersheba, a city in which planted a tamarisk, symbol of the abundance, and which was immediately attached to the tradition of the character, becoming spiritual center both Jews and Muslims. Not in vain, in 1979 Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and his israeli counterpart, Menachem Begin, started in Beersheba talks for peace in their States, appealing to the spirit conciliator that tends to present the figure of Abraham among both peoples.

The sacrifice of Moriah

As repeatedly announced by Dios, Abraham's faith was rewarded the following year, when Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son of the Patriarch who, by order of God, the name of Isaac (which in Hebrew means 'he who laughs') was released. Abraham, fulfilling the Covenant with God, the small circumcised eight days after and later made a solemn party when he/she left nursing. Again the jealousy of Sara came into operation, since Ishmael, the son of Hagar and Abraham, was also raised in the family clan; the Bible says that Sara saw a day playing the two together children and Ismael, slightly higher than his brother then, made fun of it. He/She flew into a rage and went over to Abraham to rally you to lend to both Agar and Ismael clan. God appeared to the Patriarch that accepted the advice of Sara, which would be the first big test of Abraham's faith: get rid of your child. The father obeyed and drove out both of the family environment, leading them to the desert where Agar had abandoned his son when the water lacked to not see him die. A new divine appearance saved the mother and the son of the danger; with regard to Jewish and Hebrew sources, here comes the role of Ishmael, which only says that he/she married an Egyptian Princess and was a great goalkeeper (Gn, 21, 21).

Shortly later became the second big test: a new divine apparition said to Abraham that it honor God through the Holocaust, is to say, the sacrifice of Isaac on an altar in the region of Moriah. After all the preparations and accompanied by two servants, father and son went to the designated place where Abraham, getting rid of more company, had to confront the tender children's suspicions (NG, 22, 7-8):

"My father! [...] We have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham replied: "God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son".

Sacrifice of Isaac. Capital of San Pedro of the ship Campillo. Zamora.

When the immolation was going to produce, God must have considered that the probanza of Abraham's faith had come to an end and stopped him, apiadado the obedience of the Patriarch who had not even hesitated to sacrifice his son. Thus, God provided a RAM that was sacrificed instead of Isaac, after perpetuating the Alliance. So far, about sacrifice, what it can be observed in Jewish and Christian sources, but was certainly Isaac the son that Abraham went to sacrifice on Moriah?

The Mohammedans sources disagree radically with this vision and tend to interpret that Isaac was not that would be sacrificed on the altar of Moriah, but precisely Ismael. In principle, the Koran set a capital difference with Christian tradition, since Abraham makes the character who was born request a fair child, that hook to his clan and his descent from the sin of idolatry (zorah 37, 98). Mahoma interpreted the episode dream way, since Abraham was not a direct order from wing but the sacrifice came in the form of dream and was the own Ismael who complied with their destination (zorah 37, 101-113):

His father said to him: "my son, I've dreamed of you offered in sacrifice to Allah. Reflect a little, what do think of this?" "O, my father!, get what you order: if place to Allah, I'll support my luck with firmness". And when both were resigned to the will of Allah and Ibrahim had already face lying it on the ground, us shout you: "O, Ibrahim!, you have believed in your vision, and behold how reward the virtuous." It was indeed a decisive test. We rescued his son as a great victim and keep him in posterity this salutation: that peace be with Ibrahim! This is how we reward the virtuous: he/she is our faithful server, announcing a Prophet in the Fair Isaac. We take our blessing upon Ibrahim and Isaac. Among their descendants, one work good, the other is of a manifest iniquity to itself."

While the Quran is silent with respect to the name of the son who was going to be sacrificed on Moriah, the final mention consideration of Isaac as a prophet, as well as to the wickedness of their offspring, suggests that chosen, at least for the Muslim tradition, was not Isaac but Ismael. Here the religious and traditional explanation to the differences between Arabs (Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael) and Hebrews (Israelites, descendants of Jacob / Israel, son of Isaac), differences which have their first point of disagreement in this interpretation of who was who was to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah.

Mount Moriah, ultimately, is good example of these differences between Jews and Muslims that if they were purely conceptual and religious, would not be bad, but as always are carried by some and by others towards the more radical end, the consequences are dire. In the same Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, King Solomon built his famous Temple, according to tradition, following the measures that dictated to him by God himself. The fabulous Solomonic Temple, which today day is only the wall canvas known worldwide as "The wailing wall", was built on the spot where God spared Isaac of self-immolation that I was going to submit you Abraham as proof of their faith, which, also supports the tradition, judeo-Christian about which son was the sacrificial, since the place, sacred to Jews, was honored with the construction of the temple. However, the same Mount Moriah was also chosen by Muslims for the construction of the Qubat Al - Aqsa (badly named usually as Omar Mosque), the famous dome of the rock from which, according to sunni tradition, Mahoma rose to the heavens. In fact, the venue was by having hosted the altar where Abraham offered his son Ismael in sacrifice to Allah. The problem of the Holy City for the three religions of the book, Jerusalem, has on Mount Moriah one of the highlights of a confrontation that would have to be it, but it also can be extrapolated to other places equally devoted and, by extension, to any element of the everyday life of its inhabitants.

Last years of the Patriarch

Shortly after the attempted sacrifice of Isaac died his mother, Sarah, wife of Abraham, which was buried by a Canaanite cave located near Mamre, which was bought by the Patriarch to the descendant of Jet. The biblical account of the end times of Abraham shows, on the one hand, their full awareness of it was about to live his last days, and also, secondly, a high sense of responsibility as the leader of the clan. For this reason, he/she wanted his Manager, his old servant, jurase you for anything in the world he/she would marry Isaac with a Canaanite woman that this servant would go towards the land of their ancestors, to Ur, to get a Babylonian woman to marry their offspring. Rebecca, daughter of Batuel, which was brought from the land of the Chaldeans to Canaan was the chosen. Then, Abraham took another wife, Quetura, and despite the advanced age of the Patriarch he/she had conceived in his new wife another new offspring: Zamran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Jesboc and Sue. Shortly after celebrated the wedding of Rebecca and Isaac, Abraham died and was buried next to his first wife, Sara, mother of Isaac. However, the narrative of Genesis returns to feed the suspicion about the sacrifice of Moriah (Gn, 25, 8-9):

After expired Abraham. He/She died in a good old age, elderly, full of days, and was to meet with their ancestors. His sons Isaac and Ishmael, he/she was buried in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Efron, son of Lord the jeteo, opposite Mambré.

It seems awfully contradictory that Ishmael, who had been expelled from Canaan by Abraham in consideration to the jealousy of Sara, was present at the funeral of his father, except that after the death of Sara the Patriarch had reconsidered the previous position and had made to call her son. All the contradictions inherent in the sources, biblical or not, that they possess for this period feed the suspicions of ones and others about the true meaning of sacrifice of Moriah. In any case, there should be doubt that Abraham appears in the story as a prototype of the good believer, with an unshakable faith and charity details which broad eco would be made after the times.

Abraham in Judaism

The explanation of the Hebrew religion is clear and Crystal: the Jews had known the revelation of Yahweh through Jacob, son of Isaac and, therefore, grandson of Abraham and Sarah, by what the promise of Yahweh to Abraham was fulfilled and, indeed, the Jews became the people chosen by God, key factor in spiritual and sociological cohesion of Judaism as a religion. Similarly, religious circumcision ritual was configured as the first sign of profession of Jewish faith that every male member of the community should be done.

In addition to its presence in the Torah, Abraham has other connotations to the Hebrew in the rich literature of Aggadah town, where, despite its image of principled believer keeping intact, the legend increases with other stories, like the confrontation maintained against the King Nimrod, the legendary Builder of the Tower of Babel, or the priestly vocation of the Patriarch after the interview with Melchizedek. The ceremony of circumcision, as it could not be otherwise, is the highlight of the biography of Abraham bequeathed by the Midrash literature, which also includes how real the image of an Abraham Warrior, facing the peoples of the Pentapolis, although it is true that many of the rabbis agree interpreted this episode in allegorical keyi.e., as one of the tests that the Patriarch had to suffer by Yahweh before accessing the prized offspring.

For centuries, the figure of Abraham inspired a tradition of piety and veneration in the Jewish philosophical structure, from Judah Halevi to Moseh Maimónides, who encaramaron him to the first place of the human perfection as a believer. On the other hand, literary and iconographic representations of Abraham the Hebrew world (and also Christian) are innumerable and a brief review of them would make endless these lines. For this reason, suffice it to say that it is possible to recognize the great Patriarch of the Hebrew religion through any of the daily manifestations of Jewish believers.

Abraham in Christianity

As in so many other issues, Christianity is indebted to Judaism in much of its patristic evolution. Thus, since the earliest times of the formation of the network of beliefs, the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans (4, 1-25) tried to accommodate the figure of Abraham according to the creed of Jesus. To do this, chose the glorification of Patriarch not by their Jewish signs, but by believing God's promise: giving a son of Sara, whose genealogy was born the Messiah Redeemer. Thus, it is common in Christianity to identify Christians as followers of the faith of the Patriarch Abraham, since Paul left skillfully, seated with safety that the Act of faith by Abraham took place before his circumcision and until they come into effect the mosaic laws, i.e., the two main components which identified Abraham as a Jew: the Patriarch had believed in God and that was its spiritual essence. The so-called book of Jubilees, a text of recent discovery into popularly known as manuscripts of the dead sea corpus, affects that Abraham was the only member of his family who never worshipped the pagan Pantheon, confirming the popular impact of the Patriarch as a prime supporter of monotheism.

Subsequently, Christian exegesis made Abraham, specifically of the sacrifice of Isaac, one of the history of the passion of Jesus Christ. Both would have come to the end of sacrificing his life (that of his son Abraham) thanks to the faith in God. The episode of the sacrifice of Moriah was interpreted, step by step, as the antecedent of the Via Crucis of Jesus, thus contributing to promoting the image of Abraham as grand patriarch of the Christians. If on many occasions, especially in relation to the similarities between the Pentateuch and the old testament, it is impossible to distinguish between the Jewish and Christian traditions, Abraham is one of the points where the Hebrew heritage of Christianity it is clear.

Abraham in Islam

Throughout the reading of the Holy Book of the Muslims, the Quran, the precepts of Muhammad are Abraham (Ibrahim) as one of the most important prophets of the creed Mohammedan, considering it as one of the recipients of the revelations of Allah. In Islamic religious terms, Ibrahim is revered as hanif ('monotheistic'), to whom wing took as its khalil ('protected', 'friend') to have the sense of the true Word. Naturally, the point of disagreement between Islam and Judaism lies in the role that, for Muslims, Ismael has (Isma'il), the son of Abraham and his slave Agar, although the latter does not appear ever in Islamic sources. Image transmitting the Koran of Abraham just far from the one offered by the Bible and the Torah, except, obviously, the episode of the sacrifice and, in a sense, a character much more committed to the safeguarding of monotheism, which is the vital perspective more accused in the profile of Ibrahim of the Muslims (zorah 37, 81-97):

His sect was Ibrahim. It contributed to his Lord an intact heart. You said one day to his father and his people: "what you worship? Do you prefer the false gods to God? What do you think of the owner of the universe?" He/She gave a look to the stars: "I'm sick, I will not attend today to your ceremonies". They went and left him. HID to see their idols and exclaimed: "would eat? Why don't you speak?" And then gave them a blow with his right hand. His people came abruptly: "You worship what you yourselves talláis in rock?", Ibrahim said. "Allah is who has created you, to you and to the works of your hands!" They said to one another: "Do a pyre and throw him into the blazing fire!" They wanted to lend a tie but we afflicted them: "I retire," said Ibrahim, "beside my God; He/She will show me the right path".

Muhammad was considered descendant of Ishmael, and, therefore, having received the revelation of Allah, was fulfilled the prophecy made by Ala Ibrahim, consistent in that the seed of Abraham would be blessed. In fact, Mahoma would be the last great prophet of the revealed Word, after Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, characters all them with a leading role in Islam.

Myth and reality

The irresolvable contradiction between these two aspects is not to never see as a destruction of the myth by reality, but is, on the contrary, reality in historiographical terms which further contributes to reinforce the myth, though placing it in a different perspective.

The first matter of importance to be treated in terms of the reality of Abraham is established in its origin. It has been previously how the Bible, and in general all written sources related to the Patriarch, gave the name of Terah his father. In the already mentioned Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, Terah name appears with relative frequency, but not as its own name, but as a noun which tends more to be interpreted as the name of a lineage, a family, a clan or, even, a city or region. Due to this reason, the researchers agree that Terah was the name of tribal affiliation or parentelar of Abraham, that might well be descendant of Semitic Syria nomadic tribes or the South of Mesopotamia.

Another important point to accommodate the real existence of Abraham is formed by all the cluster of apparent contradictions between narrated in the Bible and what can be seen from the comparison with archaeological finds. Attempts to biblical periodization through remains of the past have served to date the evolution of Abraham in the five centuries elapsed between 2000 and 1500 BC, i.e. long before the establishment of a monarchical Government in the village of Israel around 1000 B.c. However, in the context of the biblical narrative, many elements that accompany the biography of Abraham belong to a later time, from towards the 7th century BC, such as the use of camels for transport or the settlement of Chaldea in Mesopotamia. Despite all the majority of scholars and researchers are agreed on that, even though the narrative of Genesis suffers from numerous additions and later interpolations, this fact does not invalidate the possibility that Abraham existed: there is historical evidence to say emphatically your existence, but no data is not known to be able to deny it emphatically.

Finally, we must draw a comparison with much impact between the biblical account of the life of Abraham and the evolution of the companies of the geographical space that could be termed as the fertile Crescent. In a sense, the promise made by God to the respect of a promised land is in direct relation with the passage of nomadism, usual lifestyle of these societies, the sedentary condition. Abraham accept God's commands, he/she was also paving way for the many disadvantages of the nomadic situation of a society is acomodasen to new needs, passing, obviously, by the process of sedentarisation.

Also, key sociological and historical, if the promise of a land where dwell means the transition from nomadic to sedentary, another extraordinary key of the development of ancient societies is in the episode experienced by Abraham on Mount Moriah, when God ordered him to stop the immolation of his son. In this regard, the divine cancellation of human sacrifices, often in all the spiritual rites of antiquity, makes it clear that in the time of Abraham could have already completed the process of cultural change that reveals the transition to sedentary lifestyle, characterized also by a religious stage more advanced than the previous that were no longer necessary human holocausts to placate the gods.

Sacrifice of Abraham.

The role of Abraham now

The three religions of the book agree to accept Abraham more as a spiritual idea, a shadowing of cultural philosophy which is distilled through the figure of a man in whom there is no conclusive evidence of its existence. As in many other cases, actually is not necessary this evidence, since your message has permeated deep into the multitude of believers-Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Pope Juan Paul II held on February 23, 2000 a tribute to Abraham, character that was particularly affect the Pontiff. Evocation was made, how it could be otherwise, by burning symbolic of some branches of incense at an altar which recreated the same place, Mount Moriah, where Abraham wanted to sacrifice his son (Isaac / Ishmael). The impact of the character in the universes religious Muslim and Hebrew are also spacious, but regrettable, yet many of the differences sonsacadas around different interpretations of the myth are insurmountable.

As it could not be otherwise, Abraham is the original reason for a long tradition of tourism festivals in all of those places that, according to the Bible, the Patriarch developed their vital route. The city of Sanliurfa, already cited, organizes one of the most important, since there is a legend that makes this Turkish villa and not Ur home Abraham. According to the same legend, Abraham, moved by its monotheistic belief, shattered idolaters images of pagan gods, what motivated the King Nimrod decided to assassinate him drowning him in a cave surrounded by lakes, but a miracle allowed him to stay alive. This salvation of Abraham / Ibrahim is that every year is represented in the caves located in the outskirts of Sanliurfa, which are yearly visited by many pilgrims mostly from Iran.

Much less fun is the location of the geography covered by the life of Abraham. To give just one example, the place where more time remained resident Patriarch, Hebron, was delivered by the Hebrew Government to the Palestinian national authority in 1997, within the terms of the peace agreements. The descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs, the descendants of Isaac, surround Jews, in such a way that the small Jewish quarter of Hebron must be controlled militarily to prevent clashes, at least sociologically, sink their apparent reasons in the offing of the times. For this reason, is still much more laudable initiative of the Abraham Fund, an organization that has recently recovered the name of universal Patriarch for a commendable cause: foster peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews in the area of Palestine-Israel. Excellent attempt to the end the confrontation fratricidal of those who want to or don't want to, leave from that core to which is often called by the name of Abraham, person and myth, belief and reality.

Links on the Internet; Official web site of the Abraham Fund (in English).