Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ishmael and Isaac

Here is more on Abraham, by Bruce Feiler. St. Peter's Helpers asked about the Islamic view of Abraham and it got me thinking about the dichotomy of Ishmael and Isaac.

Apparently, the Koran doesn't specifically name either Isaac or Ishmael as the "favored son" God asks Abraham to sacrifice, but many Muslims believe that it was not Isaac, but Ishmael who was bound and brought on the mountain.

The book does put forth the idea that Scripture has a balance between Isaac and Ishmael, and indeed, between many eldest/younger son pairs. Often, the eldest don't inherit as the custom or law assumes they will. The eldest are often banished or tricked out of their inheritance and the younger often inherits in the eldest's place.

Again, we seem to have the theme of upheaval and alien-ness with God's constant presence as an over riding theme. God does not seem to promise an easy life, but life is made meaningful through God, even in its apparent lack of logic.

3 comments:

Saint Peter's helpers said...

This is interesting cultural history. I didn't know that Muslims favor the youngest as the one who inherits. This differs from what we usually know as the eldest being the one to inherit(like Esau was rightful heir of Isaac, yet Jacob got his blessing instead).

Anyway, it still makes for a good arguement that we are all believers of the one true God.

4HisChurch said...

Well, I don't think the Muslim's per se, favor the youngest, but the author was pointing out a pattern in Scripture that God seems to balance out the youngest/oldest pairs that way.

Saint Peter's helpers said...

Ah, thank you for the clarification - quite insightful.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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