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.
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