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Did Abraham the Historical Figure Truly Exist?

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Joanna Reilly


Global History CP

Ms. Kaiser

Did Abraham the historical figure truly exist?

In Tad Szulc's Abraham Journey of Faith, he explains that there is no definite historical or archaeological proof that Abraham, the man considered to be the patriarch of the three monotheistic religions, ever existed. Much controversy is found over the debate of whether or not an individual named Abraham did indeed live as described in numerous pieces of scripture including Genesis and the Koran. According to Genesis, Abraham was born in Ur, a major metropolis and center of trade in the third millennium. Over the span of his life, it is supposed that Abraham traveled from Ur to Haran to Canaan and then west to Egypt. On his return he traveled back to Canaan and eventually to Hebron, the place of his death. Many stories and legends of Abraham are told in remote places where he may have been in his life but it is impossible from these to separate fact from fiction. It was allegedly in Haran that Abraham received the first words from God and that his relationship with the deity began. In literature, it is when Abraham is talking with God that he is seen as a real human being instead of merely a nomadic figure devoted to his faith. God promises Abraham two main things in their conversations, one being a child and the other a homeland. God fulfills his promises and provides Abraham with Isaac and Ishmael and also the land from the river of Egypt to the river of Euphrates as his homeland. With all ideas in mind, it is not clear whether Abraham was simply a spiritual figure conjured up as an example of pure faith in one God or whether he was a man who lived and with his beliefs in one God, changed the world drastically. As said by the author, "Without clear proof, the only thing you can ever say about Abraham is: "In my opinion."



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