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Abrahamic ReligionsOn the Uses and Abuses of History$
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Aaron W. Hughes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199934645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199934645.001.0001

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What Are “Abrahamic Religions”?

What Are “Abrahamic Religions”?

Chapter:
(p.15) 1 What Are “Abrahamic Religions”?
Source:
Abrahamic Religions
Author(s):

Aaron W. Hughes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199934645.003.0002

Recent years have seen the rise of an ecumenical discourse that posits Abraham as the progenitor of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and thus as the role model for subsequent interfaith coexistence. This has not just been an interfaith category, however; the term has also become an intellectual category. The result is that “Abrahamic religions” is increasingly perceived both to name a historical reality and to perform real analytical work. This chapter uses “Abrahamic Religions” as an example of a larger issue in the academic study of religion: how and why do we use terms and categories? In so doing, it argues that we ought to consider abandoning the use of the term because it performs little, if any, intellectual work. There is, for example, very little historical evidence to suggest that these three religions ever shared a common understanding of scripture or anything else for that matter.

Keywords:   interfaith dialogue, academic study of religion, theology, Abraham, Bible

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