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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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(p.1) Introduction
Abrahamic Religions

Aaron W. Hughes

Oxford University Press

The Introduction shows the ambiguity surrounding the term “Abrahamic religions.” Although the category is usually believed to be based on inclusivity, the introduction suggests that it can just as easily function as one of division and exclusivity. For example, each “Abrahamic religion”—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—has used the mythic figure of Abraham to legitimate itself and, in the process, establish its authenticity by invoking the claim that its members are Abraham’s true, spiritual descendants. So rather than claim that the category “Abrahamic religions” names some historical phenomenon, this chapter argues that it functions as a form of wish fulfillment and ecumenicism.

Keywords:   religion of Abraham, ecumenicism, Judeo-Christian, history, myth, essentialism

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