Re: the tradition that Abraham engaged in astronomical studies

From: Iain Strachan (
Date: Thu Jun 26 2003 - 02:24:58 EDT

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    George Murphy:
    > I realize that this is old Jewish legend, not something that Judah Halevi
    > up. But not only is it not based on scripture but scripture seems to
    argue against it.
    > Joshus 24:2-3 says "Your ancestors - Terah and his sons Abraham and
    Nahor - lived beyond
    > the Euphrates and served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham ..."
    > transitional business about Abraham's astronomy &c. He was a pagan and
    God called him.
    > Such an unmerited election is puzzling and offensive to people who would
    rather think
    > themselves capable of getting at least partway to a knowledge of God on
    their own, but
    > it's not the way the Bible speaks of it.

    I'd strongly agree with this position. The broad picture one gets from
    reading through Genesis (and not just Genesis!) is that people are corrupt;
    Abraham given to passing his wife off as his sister; Isaac the same; Jacob a
    deceiver and plotter; the sordid tale of Judah and Tamar etc. (I think there
    are three instances in Genesis of people having sex with the wrong person
    and not noticing!) What it clearly demonstrates (IMHO) is that none of these
    people deserved to get chosen & that therefore it's a picture of God's
    grace, i.e. unmerited favour. The touching story of the sun and the moon is
    seems to ascribe unjustified piety to Abraham because it is a human tendency
    to want their heroes to be wonderful, whereas the Bible seems to emphasise
    their fallibility.


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