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Abdelnour, Mohammed Gamal (2022) Prophet Abraham: A Figure of Exclusivism or Ecumenism? Singapore: Interreligious Relations: Occasional Papers of The Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme, no.28.

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Abstract

John D. Levenson (2012) and Aaron W. Hughes (2012), among others, have argued that proponents of the construct “Abrahamic religions” essentialized the “differences” between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and that those religions have different conceptions of Abraham that are out of synch with what is considered the politically correct labelling of those religions as “Abrahamic religions.” Although such critiques hold some validity, this article argues that the charge of “essentialism” can also be levelled against the opponents of the construct, i.e., if proponents took a reductionist approach about the “differences,” opponents equally took a reductionist approach about the “commonalities.” Approaching this question as a Muslim theologian, I contend that one of the ways to come out of this polarity is to look not only to “historical Abraham,” but also to “scriptural Abraham,” for it is the “scripture” that has often been considered the locus of “normativity” in those traditions. While Levenson views this move from a “historical Abraham” to a “normative Abraham” as a modern naïve attempt at syncretism, I argue that the pursuit of “normativity” has always been intrinsic to the Islamic tradition. In doing so, I appeal to Fazlur Rahman’s distinction between “historical Islam” and “normative Islam,” to argue that an ecumenical Abraham lies at the heart of “normative Islam.”

Item Type: Monographs and Working Papers (Occasional Paper)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
SOAS Doctoral School
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
ISSN: 2661345X
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2022 10:35
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/38203

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