- Abraham hears God's voice and also sees Him.
- Abraham's God also communicates through dreams.
- Abraham builds altars at the places where he sees God. The Hebrew text uses the technical term maqom to refer to these sacred sites -- the word simply means "place," but Deuteronomy specifically forbids maqoms of sacrifice other than the Jerusalem temple.
- Abraham knows sacred trees (what is translated here as the "plains" of Mamre is really the "oaks" or "terebinths" of Mamre).
- Under one such sacred tree, Abraham receives three holy men as visitors, shares bread with them and washes their feet.
- Abraham makes covenants with God. As a result of these covenants, he receives a new name.
- For Abraham, astronomy has a sacred dimension. He sees the stars in a visionary context, and the stars are people (his priestly descendants).
- Abraham has a son by a "handmaid." We already noted interesting things about royal, tented, status-conferring Sarah and his relationship with her.
- Abraham knows the sacrifice of a son on a sacred mountain.
Friday, January 31, 2014
The Religion of Abraham
We'll get into Deuteronomy at some point, but as we're reading Moses / Genesis now, it's probably worth stopping a moment to summarize the religion of Abraham, as we see it here. Here's a non-exhaustive list of observations: