Portal:Christianity/Selected article/October 2007

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 035.jpg
An angel prevents the sacrifice of Isaac.
Abraham and Isaac, Rembrandt, 1634

Abraham is a figure in the Torah, Bible, and Quran whom Jewish, Christian and Muslim believers regard as the founding patriarch of the Israelites, Arabs and Edomite peoples. In what is thus called Abrahamic religious tradition, Abraham is the forefather of these peoples.

According to the Torah, Abraham was brought by God from Mesopotamia to the land of Canaan, around 2000 BCE. There, he entered into a covenant: in exchange for sole recognition of Yahweh as supreme universal deity and authority, Abraham will be blessed with innumerable progeny. His life as narrated in the Book of Genesis (chapters 11–25) may reflect various traditions.

His original name was Abram (Hebrew: אַבְרָם‎‎, Standard  Avram Tiberian ʾAḇrām) meaning either "exalted father" or "[my] father is exalted" (compare Abiram). For the latter part of his life, he was called Abraham (see retroactive nomenclature), often glossed as av hamon (goyim) "father of many (nations)" per Genesis 17:5, although it does not have any literal meaning in Hebrew.

Abraham was the third son of Terah and the grandson of Nahor. Abraham's older brothers were named Nahor and Haran. (The city of Ḥaran was not named after this brother and is spelled differently in Hebrew.)

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are sometimes referred to as the "Abrahamic religions", because of the role Abraham plays in their holy books. In the Jewish tradition, he is called Avraham Avinu or "Abraham, our Father". God promised Abraham that through his offspring, all the nations of the world will come to be blessed (Genesis 12:3), interpreted in Christian tradition as a reference to Christ. Jews, Christians, and Muslims consider him father of the people of Israel through his son Isaac (cf. Exodus 6:3, Exodus 32:13). For Muslims, he is a prophet of Islam and the ancestor of Muhammad through his other son Ishmael. By his concubine , Keturah, (HE) Abraham is also a progenitor of the Semitic tribes of the Negev who trace their descent from their common ancestor Sheba (Genesis 10:28).

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