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The Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, Islam

AUTHOR: F. E. Peters
ISBN: 0691120412

SHORT DESCRIPTION: Peters, a scholar without peer in the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, has thoroughly rewritten his classic book for a new generation of readers at a time when the understanding of these three religious traditions has taken...

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Comparative Religion
         Editorial Review

The Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, Islam
- Book Review,
by F. E. Peters


Review
Peters's book makes a positive contribution to the contextual and pluralistic approach of the study of the history of religion in general and of the three major monotheistic religious traditions in particular.


Book Description
F.E. Peters, a scholar without peer in the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, revisits his pioneering work after twenty-five years. Peters has rethought and thoroughly rewritten his classic The Children of Abraham for a new generation of readers-at a time when the understanding of these three religious traditions has taken on a new and critical urgency. He began writing about all three faiths in the 1970s, long before it was fashionable to treat Islam in the context of Judaism and Christianity, or to align all three for a family portrait. In this updated edition, he lays out the similarities and differences of the three religious siblings with great clarity and succinctness and with that same remarkable objectivity that is the hallmark of all the author's work. Peters traces the three faiths from the sixth century B.C., when the Jews returned to Palestine from exile in Babylonia, to the time in the Middle Ages when they approached their present form. He points out that all three faith groups, whom the Muslims themselves refer to as "People of the Book," share much common ground. Most notably, each embraces the practice of worshipping a God who intervenes in history on behalf of His people. The book's text is direct and accessible with thorough and nuanced discussions of each of the three religions. Updated footnotes provide the reader with expert guidance into the highly complex issues that lie between every line of this stunning and timely new edition of The Children of Abraham.


From the Inside Flap
"The Children of Abraham is a concise introduction to the work of a scholar who thinks about every aspect of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam 'in triplicate.' This new edition deserves a warm welcome."--Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography and Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God "For many years this book has occupied a treasured spot on my shelves and I have recommended it countless times. A new, substantially rewritten edition could not be more welcome. There is simply no other volume that presents such broad erudition in a compact, accessible, and beautifully written format."----Jane Dammen McAuliffe, general editor of the Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an "The Children of Abraham is one of the first synoptic presentations of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that compares the structures of the three religions without asserting the superiority of any one of them. Fully revised, this new edition reflects current scholarship in the field and contains new footnotes and chapter subheads that make it even more user friendly than before. The book will appeal to teachers of comparative religion as well as to historians looking for a concise narrative about Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. The general reader will find it engaging, too."--Mark Cohen, Princeton University


About the Author
F.E. Peters is Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, History, and Religion at New York University. John L. Esposito is University Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Founding Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.


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         Book Review

The Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, Islam
- Book Reviews,
by F. E. Peters

The Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, Islam

ANNOTATION

This book covers the similarities and differences inherent in the religion of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

"F.E. Peters, a scholar in the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, revisits his pioneering work after twenty-five years. Peters has rethought and thoroughly rewritten his classic The Children of Abraham for a new generation of readers - at a time when the understanding of these three religious traditions has taken on a new and critical urgency." Peters traces the three faiths from the sixth century B.C. when the Jews returned to Palestine from exile in Babylonia, to the time in the Middle Ages when they approached their present form. He points out that all three faith groups, whom the Muslims themselves refer to as "People of the Book," share much common ground. Most notably, each embraces the practice of worshipping a God who intervenes in history on behalf of His people.

FROM THE CRITICS

Library Journal

Responding to renewed interest in the common foundation of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Peters (Middle Eastern studies, history, & religion, NYU) has thoroughly updated his 1982 classic overview. He begins by examining the shared yet contested Abrahamic base of these religions, then compares their views on God, prophethood, revelation, community, law, scripture, tradition, theology, and worship. The fundamental difference, argues Peters, is that Jews and Muslims believe the Word to have been enshrined in sacred texts through essentially human prophets, while Christians believe that the Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. This difference "gave rise to consequences alien to the sensibilities" of Jews and Muslims, such as Trinitarian doctrine and eucharistic sacrifice. Peters overlooks how the Islamic mystics' approach to Jesus and some Shi'ites' veneration of Muhammad and his family as embodiments of divine grace may approach the Christian view of Jesus. Though this update would have been improved by including the fourth Abrahamic faith, the Baha'i religion, it is recommended for academic, religious, and public libraries of all sizes. William P. Collins, Library of Congress Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.


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