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Title: From Abraham to the 'Abrahamic religions' : Louis Massignon and the invention of a religious category
Author: Mohd Nasir, Nazirudin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 8404
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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As a neologism for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the modern construct 'Abrahamic religions' is as ubiquitous as it is contested in the study of the monotheistic religions. Some have argued against the use of the concept on both historical and theological grounds. In particular, the concept is often interpreted as ecumenically motivated in the thought of Louis Massignon. This understanding arises from a parochial interpretation of its origins, in which Massignon's reflections on the subject over time, as well as its varied uses in recent times, have not been fully considered. This thesis calls for a more extensive historical analysis of its genealogy with the aim of discussing its intellectual and cultural backgrounds. In doing so, it seeks to shed light on how the interrelationships between the three religions had been historically examined prior to Massignon, and how the birth of the concept in his thought and its subsequent uses offer a richer understanding of the concept that goes beyond ecumenical significance. To this end, this thesis unpacks the concept by probing into its antecedents, examining its birth, and reflecting on its future. The first chapter aims to show the historical basis for considering a genus for the three religions, by surveying perspectives on Abraham in historia sacra, and thereafter, discussing works in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that explore the connections between the three religions. The second and third chapters introduce Massignon and discuss his Abrahamic thought from both its socio-religious and intellectual perspectives. The main text examined here is his Les trois prières d'Abraham. The fourth chapter traces the different trajectories of the concept after Massignon and highlights its nuanced meanings as derived from these variegated uses. The fifth and concluding chapters explore the ways in which the concept can profit the study of religion.
Supervisor: Stroumsa, Guy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theology and Religion ; Judaism ; Christianity and Christian spirituality ; Islam ; Religions of antiquity ; Abrahamic religions ; Louis Massignon ; comparative religion