Beacon Press: The Tent of Abraham
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The Tent of Abraham

Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims

Authors: Joan Chittister OSB, Saadi Shakur Chishti, Rabbi Arthur Waskow   Foreword by: Karen Armstrong

Three key religious thinkers write about the story of Abraham as a way to deepen Muslim/Christian/Jewish understanding

The Tent of Abraham is the first book to tell the entire story of Abraham and to reenergize it as a basis for peace. Written by three leaders belonging to different faiths, the book explores in accessible language the mythic quality and the teachings of reconciliation that are embedded in the Torah, the Qur’an, and the Bible.
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“The Palestinian/Israeli conflict has elicited many books exhorting political and religious peace in the Middle East, but none has appealed to individual minds and hearts quite like this one.” —LibraryJournal, starred review

“The stories of our common ancestors told in this book with such creative imagination inspire all of us to build community across the walls that normally divide us.” —Bob Edgar, general secretary, National Council of Churches

“This book will open your eyes to the possibilities for collaborative work between our traditions and is a must-read for those doing interfaith peacework.” —Tikkun


Review by: Rabbi Dr. Michael Hilton, Manna: The Forum for Progressive Judaism - January 1, 2007
“If you are going to buy only one interfaith book, this has to be the one.”
Review by: David Crumm, Detroit Free Press - January 1, 2007
“Want an antidote to tragic headlines about religious conflict in the Middle East? Try this remarkable new book. A celebration of religious diversity that is likely to leave readers more optimistic about the potential for peace.”

Questions for Discussion

Read pp. 3-27, 191-196, and pp.207-218.

  1. Compare the two versions of the story of the families of Abraham. What are your reactions to each? Do you feel drawn to asserting that one version must be true and the other false?
  2. Is it possible that each story shows partial truths, each adding perspective to the other and to the nature of human relationships overall? Can a single coherent story be created using details from each?
  3. After reading the final essay in the book "Why Hagar Left," which introduces a different stance entirely, what do you consider to be the truth?
  4. Try reading the stories with people of a different religion. How do your reactions differ? How are they the same?
  5. Now read the stories with people from your same religion. Do you still find a variety of perspectives or do you all feel the same?

For the essays on pp. 29-78.

  1. What issues are raised for you by this essay? Are your ideas about sibling rivalry and cooperation, the effects of death on family relationships, the nature of owning land, the meaning of sacrificing what we hold most dear, or other life-questions, affected by reading this essay?
  2. Do these ancient stories apply to conflicts in the modern world, such as that between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or are they irrelevant?

For the essays on pp. 79-124.

  1. What do you think of the reports of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian women? Can an analogy be drawn between the stories of war-fighting and peacemaking in the Bible's Abrahamic saga and those processes today?
  2. Imagine yourself in conversation with people from a society that is in deep conflict with your own. Who would set it up? What would you want to say? What goals would you have for the first meeting? The tenth?

For the essays from pp. 80-124.

  1. Did you find these essay's efforts to take public and interpersonal events and translate them into inner spiritual and emotional processes effective?
  2. Can you imagine new ceremonies, celebrations, or forms of prayer and meditation being created from these stories?
  3. Would it make sense to draw from these psycho-spiritual lessons to make new patterns in our national and political lives?

For the essay on pp. 183-190.

  1. Would you be interested on organizing a "Tent of Peace" as it is described in the essay? What changes would you make? Do you know people who would join in an Abrahamic invitation?
  2. Are there public actions - e.g. a statement or action on war and peace, an interreligious action on the global climate crisis, a program for shared observance of sacred seasons or for shared interreligious study of these or other sacred texts or shared prayer services or shared community-service projects - that you feel drawn to do after reading the book?

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The Tent of Abraham

ISBN: 978-080707729-0
Publication Date: 6/1/2007
Pages: 240
Size:5.5 x 8.5 Inches (US)
Price:  $20.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.