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The Woman Who Named God: Abraham's Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths Hardcover – Jul 28 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (July 28 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031611474X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316114745
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 15.8 x 23.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Wyn TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 25 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely wonderfully researched historical study book. It is not a historical fiction story. It is written in a thesis/dissertation manner with careful references to how the 3 different religions have viewed the relationship between Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. I discovered many things that I didn't realize about them and by "humanizing" them, Ms Gordon has brought to mind many emotional points that makes one ponder. Like, how did Sarai really feel about being offered to the Pharaoh. Was Hagar a member of Pharaoh's family or an Egyptian serving girl? Did Sarah ever regret sending Hagar out of the camp? Did Abraham? How have the different religions treated the relevence of God's prophecy during the night of the animal sacrifice. She has studied the different books of the Bible, Torah, and Koran as well as the many articles that have become part of the religions over the centuries. I found it well written, thought provoking, and being a woman, I was also pleased that someone took the time to investigate their relationship from a woman's point of view. Although it is about Sarah and Hagar and their relationship with Abraham, there are also chapters devoted to only Abraham and how his actions and experiences helped or hindered his relationship with his family and followers. Because it left me wanting to go off and explore some of the points for myself, I give this 4 stars.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Excellent study book July 25 2009
By Wyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely wonderfully researched historical study book. It is not a historical fiction story. It is written in a thesis/dissertation manner with careful references to how the 3 different religions have viewed the relationship between Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. I discovered many things that I didn't realize about them and by "humanizing" them, Ms Gordon has brought to mind many emotional points that makes one ponder. Like, how did Sarai really feel about being offered to the Pharaoh. Was Hagar a member of Pharaoh's family or an Egyptian serving girl? Did Sarah ever regret sending Hagar out of the camp? Did Abraham? How have the different religions treated the relevence of God's prophecy during the night of the animal sacrifice. She has studied the different books of the Bible, Torah, and Koran as well as the many articles that have become part of the religions over the centuries. I found it well written, thought provoking, and being a woman, I was also pleased that someone took the time to investigate their relationship from a woman's point of view. Although it is about Sarah and Hagar and their relationship with Abraham, there are also chapters devoted to only Abraham and how his actions and experiences helped or hindered his relationship with his family and followers. Because it left me wanting to go off and explore some of the points for myself, I give this 4 stars.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A stunning, eye-opening examination of an ancient story July 28 2009
By Kamran Pasha - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Charlotte Gordon has performed a great service with this remarkable scholarly analysis of the tragic love story at the heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Her sensitivity to what the figures of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar mean to believers in these great faiths is matched with her fearless scholarship. Ms. Gordon makes the ancient scriptural tale of Hagar and Ishmael's exile into the desert gripping and real for modern readers. And her willingness to go back to original sources to challenge dogmatic views of this sacred story is refreshing and sorely needed at a time when faith is too often mixed with fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism. As a practicing Muslim, I was delighted by her fair and compassionate portrayal of Hagar, the ancestral matriarch of Islam, and was grateful to see how respectful she was of the example that Hagar provides for modern times, both as a strong woman and as a symbol of human freedom and dignity. And Ms. Gordon's analysis of the deeply complex personalities of Abraham and Sarah make these holy figures accessible and believable to modern readers. She takes away the "idolatry of perfection" that has often veiled these scriptural figures from believers and makes them flesh-and-blood human beings who share our passions, flaws, fears and hopes. Abraham and his wives and children become living examples for us today, rather than plastic saints with no relevance to our personal moral struggles in our daily lives. "The Woman Who Named God" provides a much-needed examination of an archetypal story which defines the identities of billions of human beings, and I hope the both believers and non-believers will read this book and learn why the story of Abraham and his family still matters today.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great read, fascinating story July 29 2009
By Audax - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you're interested by the history of religion and what's behind it, this is your book. What's amazing about this book is that it's made a lot of theological and historical scholarship really fascinating and compelling, a story that I couldn't stop reading. There's also a wonderful women's perspective on what's often been an all-male story. I'd recommend this book to anyone, and I already have. I feel like I know the situation of the present-day Middle East better because I read this.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Changed the way I read the Bible Dec 30 2009
By Alex Smythers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The beginning of the book alone is worth the price of admission!
I have been reading the Bible and teaching Sunday School for many years and found the research and interpretation to be excellent. This is a crucial time and set of stories in the history of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Oral and written traditions from all three faiths are carefully explained, then combined to render thoughtful and fascinating interpretations of individual words and stories that make up the similarities and subtle differences between the faiths. All this may sound very "heavy," but the stories and reflections are done so well that the book is very readable and enjoyable. I recommend it highly and hope it will make you think about religion and the Bible in new ways.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wonderfully Insightful Aug. 19 2009
By M. Galuski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a Christian and as a teacher who has taught about the semitic religions, I thought I knew the story of Hagar and her legacy in her son Ishmael, however, I realized after reading this book that my knowledge was only surface. This is a fantastic read for anyone interested in reading not just about women of the bible, but of women in history. The author has done a wonderful job gathering her information and telling the story of Hagar's life that will leave you wondering why this book hadn't been written before this.

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