Abrahamic Religions

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Symbols of the three most famous Abrahamic religions: Judaism (top), Christianity (left), Islam (right)

Abrahamic , Abrahamic or Abraham religions is in some Islamic Studies studies and interreligious dialogue , the name given to those monotheistic religions , referring to Abraham , the patriarch of the Israelites after the Torah ( Gen 12.1-3  EU ), or on the Ibrahim of the Qur'an and relate to his God.

Areas with predominantly Abrahamic (pink) or Dharmic (yellow) religions

The term serves as a “theological bracket” in the discussions between the religious communities. It wants to express the common origin and togetherness of Jews, Christians and Muslims. Abraham is a father figure for the three great world religions and an important starting point, albeit each in its own way:

  • The Judaism : All Jews are "children of Abraham", a descent unit.
  • The Christianity : For the New Testament has Jesus Christ to those who believe in him, fulfilled the promises of Abraham and in the child of God involved, they share that received the promises for the people of Israel. Abraham's faith and obedience is a great example.
  • The Islam : Ibrahim is considered the progenitor of the Ishmaelites who still before the heir Isaac get God on offspring and blessings in the Bible the promise. He is considered an important prophet who proclaimed the only true God to all people and at the same time is a model for faithfulness and justice.

The term appeared in Islamic studies around 1950. In the 1960s it was used in comparative religious studies by Christian Islamic scholars. It spread further in the last quarter of the 20th century and also became common in public discourse. It is criticized from various quarters as a construct, a deception or a form of syncretism .

Marks of Abrahamic religions

Conception of God

Abrahamic religions are monotheistic, recognizing only one God . It is a personal God who is thought of as beyond the world; see. also transcendence . He created the cosmos and can intervene in world events. He is seen as omniscient , omnipotent, and omnipresent . He has qualities that are commonly considered positive in human society , but in absolute form: infallible justice , all-embracing love and goodness .

It is traditionally addressed with styling for the male sex, such as with Mr .

Images of God are mostly forbidden ( ban on images ) because there is a risk that people will worship things that they have created themselves ( idolatry ). From this it follows that he projects his properties or even just some of them into the image of God and must then submit to this idol in order to regain his projected properties. So he is restricted in his freedom and can no longer live without the idol. According to Erich Fromm, monotheism is characterized by the fact that people do not worship their own work, but an invisible God.

People can connect with God in prayer .

Image of man

body and soul

In the Abrahamic religions, man consists of a physical body (the body ) and a spiritual soul (the spirit ). In Christianity, a distinction is sometimes made again between soul and spirit. The soul includes the will, the mind and the feelings.

Death and sin

The idea of ​​an immortal human soul comes from the Greek view of the world and did not find its way into the Jewish and Christian religions until the High Middle Ages . The question of how the one, good God was able to allow evil , sin and hell in his creation is mostly answered with human free will .

The individual has only one life that has a beginning and an end (no reincarnation ). This corresponds to a linear time concept. This teleological understanding of history differs from that of other religions with cyclical or static ideas .

Worldview and Revelation

In the classical conception, the world was created by the one and only God (cf. creatio ex nihilo and natural theology ); it ends on the day of judgment .

God revealed himself through mostly male prophets . That is why there are holy scriptures that are (or at least contain) the word of God and therefore have great importance.

  • In Judaism, the Tanakh is the essential Holy Scripture.
  • Christianity recognizes the Tanakh, which is traditionally called the Old Testament , and has the New Testament next to it . The Old and New Testaments together make up the canon of the Bible .
  • In Islam it is the Koran in which the teaching of God is finally and unadulterated. The scriptures of Jews and Christians are recognized as originally revealed by God. However, they are said to have been falsified by them over time (cf. Suras 2 : 75 + 79, 4 : 46, 5 : 23).

Minor Religions Related to Abraham

As the youngest independent religion that refers to the Abrahamic covenant, the Baha'itum is mentioned in the comparative religious studies , but so far it has only been listed as an Abrahamic religion. The Baha'i regard Abraham as a "messenger of God", as "chosen by God", as the progenitor of later founders of religions and as a "role model in the right faith". In Bahaitum, the writings of Bahāʾullāh are considered a revealed word. The Bible and the Koran, but also the writings of other religions (such as the Buddha's doctrinal conversations) are also venerated as holy scriptures and are recited in the Baha'i temples alongside the extensive writings of Bahāʾullāh .

In addition, Samaritanism , which is a genuinely Israelite religion, and Zoroastrianism are Abrahamic religions. The Druze , the Mandaeans and the Rastafari also refer to the Abrahamic tradition.

Criticism of the term

In 2006, the French philosopher Rémi Brague described terms such as “monotheism”, “ book religions ” or “Abrahamic religions” as “misleading and dangerous” (“  trompeuses et dangereuses  ”). They would be applied to the historical religions from outside: “The names are wrong if they do not do justice to the actual nature of the three religions, if one assumes that they can all be reduced to one common denominator. These terms are explosive because they promote an intellectual comfort that does not necessarily endeavor to deal with reality. "

The Judaist Edna Brocke rejects the term formed by Christians as a construct, because it pretends to have a commonality with Judaism that one could not claim, at least with regard to Christianity. For the theologian René Buchholz, Bonn, theorising of the concept of “Abrahamic” religions is fundamentally problematic: “A theology of the 'Abrahamic' religions is just another problematic model of an overarching theology of religions [...] with Abraham as a constructed figure of identification. “With this he agrees with the criticism of Harvard professor Jon Douglas Levenson of the concept or the construction of an Abraham behind the biblical texts.

The theologian Wolf Krötke , Berlin, points out that the appeal to Abraham is criticized in the New Testament, most sharply in the Gospel of John : “Only those who profess Christ are recognized as 'children of Abraham' ( Jn 8 : 37-45  EU ) “and in John 8,58 EU Christ is placed before Abraham.

Not least because of the criticism, in 2015 Henning Wrogemann called for a different approach in the context of a theology of interreligious relationships that emphasizes the importance of the physical and concrete compared to theoretical consensus fictions.

See also


  • Ulrike Bechmann : Opportunities and risks of calling on Abraham in the "Abrahamic religions". In: Leaves of Abraham . Contributions to interreligious dialogue. 4/2005, pp. 7-25.
  • Karl-Josef Kuschel : Dispute about Abraham. What separates Jews, Christians and Muslims - and what unites them. New edition. Patmos, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-491-69030-7 .
  • Karl-Josef Kuschel / Jürgen Micksch : Abrahamic ecumenism. Dialogue and cooperation. Frankfurt / M. 2011, ISBN 978-3874766326 .
  • Jonathan Magonet : Abraham - Jesus - Mohammed. Interreligious dialogue from a Jewish perspective (= Gütersloh pocket books. Volume 735). Gütersloher Verlag-Haus, Gütersloh 2000, ISBN 3-579-00735-1 .
  • Jürgen Micksch : Abrahamic and Interreligious Teams (= Intercultural Contributions. Volume 21). Otto Lembeck, Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 3-87476-421-4 .
  • Reinhard Möller, Hans Christoph Goßmann (Ed.): Interreligious Dialogue. Opportunities for Abrahamic initiatives (= interreligious encounters. Volume 2). Lit, Berlin [u. a.] 2006, ISBN 3-8258-8418-X .
  • Reiner Nieswandt: Abraham's contested legacy. A contextual study on the modern conflict between Jews, Christians and Muslims over Israel / Palestine (= Stuttgart Biblical Contributions. Volume 41). Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-460-00411-8 .
  • Martin Stöhr (Ed.): Abraham's children. Jews - Christians - Muslims (= Arnoldshainer texts. Volume 17). Haag + Herchen, Frankfurt 1999, ISBN 3-88129-683-2 .
  • Henning Wrogemann : Theology of interreligious relationships. Religious theological ways of thinking, cultural studies inquiries and a new methodological approach. Gütersloh 2015, ISBN 978-3-579-08143-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Adel Theodor Khoury : Abrahamitic Religions. In: RGG 4 . Volume 1. Tübingen 1998, p. 78, doi: 10.1163 / 2405-8262_rgg4_SIM_00084 (access with costs).
  2. For example from Rémi Brague : No more “three monotheisms”! In: IKZ Communio . 36 (2007). Paulinus Verlag, Trier 2007, pp. 98–113.
  3. ^ Samuel P. Huntington : The Clash of Cultures . The reshaping of world politics in the 21st century. Book Guild Gutenberg, Frankfurt am Main / Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-7632-4621-5 , p. 337.
  4. Matthias Schulz: God's forgotten children . In: Der Spiegel . No. 15 , 2012, p. 120-123 ( Online - Apr. 7, 2012 ).
  5. Angelika Tiefenbacher: General education - the ultimate knowledge. Munich 2009, p. 48.
  6. Rémi Brague: You Dieu des Chrétiens et d'un ou deux autres. Paris 2006, ISBN 978-2-0812-3255-6 , pp. 15-17.
  7. Rémi Brague: No more the “three monotheisms”! In: IKZ Communio . 36 (2007). Paulinus Verlag, Trier 2007, p. 98.
  8. Edna Brocke : From Abraham's bosom? - Or why there are no “Abrahamic religions” . In: Church and Israel . No. 2 , 2009, ISSN  0179-7239 ( compass-infodienst.de, Online-Extra, No. 124, August 19, 2010 ( memento of January 4, 2015 in the Internet Archive )).
  9. René Buchholz: (De-) Constructing Abraham. On Jon D. Levenson's criticism of the 'Abrahamic ecumenism'. P. 17, accessed on April 22, 2015 (PDF; download only after registration).
  10. Wolf Krötke: Abraham and the three religions. In: The Church . 17/2010 ( wolf-kroetke.de [January 2, 2014, accessed April 22, 2015]).
  11. ^ Henning Wrogemann : Theology of interreligious relationships. Religious theological ways of thinking, cultural studies inquiries and a new methodological approach. Gütersloh 2015, ISBN 978-3-579-08143-4 .
  12. From 2001 to 2013 a project of the Groeben Foundation as a discussion group at the Intercultural Council. Abrahamic Forum in Germany. Intercultural Council in Germany V. , archived from the original on May 7, 2016 ( PDF; 59 kB ( Memento from March 3, 2019 in the Internet Archive ); Flyer, February 2009).;