Why do some people say that Abraham didn't exist?

Curious as to why different scholars and others suggest Abraham probably did not exist.

I understand that the Catholic Church does not require believe in literal, historical Genesis to chapter 12, between the time of our first parents and Abraham, but the Church is usually insistent that Abraham did exist.

Abraham approves us that the generation according to the Trinity’s supreme natural jurisprudence is possible.

You will find the answer to this question in the great encyclicals *Pascendi Dominici Gregis *and Humani Generis. In short: Modernism.

Until modern times, most human beings disappeared into the eternities without a trace. It is therefore easy to “revise” their history.

Which of course does **not ** make that revision true.


I absolutely agree.

Put another way: the historical-critical method claims to be an objective, scientific approach to understanding the text of the Bible. The problem, of course, is that scholars can agree on almost nothing regarding the “correct” exegesis of texts of Scripture based on this method. What is believed today is blown away tomorrow, and we are bogged down in hypotheses and conjecture and speculation and trend and fashion and, dare I say it, politics and pride.

All of this ultimately divorces Biblical interpretation from a hermeneutic of Faith.

See Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth for more information.

You might also be interested in Hahn and Wiker’s Politicizing the Bible.

Abraham was close friends with an Amorite, Mamre, and his brothers. The Amorites were somewhat Indianised in culture (as were several other peoples). Sarai’s name is related to that of the Sarasvati River which had been progressively drying up over the previous 1,000 years and had been as important as the Indus and the Ganges, which fact had no doubt helped motivate emigration from that region.

The campaign related in Gen 14 is typical of a “coalition” of the time which were trying to keep the caravan routes open. Not all the troops may have been led by a major king or emperor in person but by a general in their name. Some commentators have said that Ellasar is Larsa, but I rather like Father John McKenzie’s choice of Ilansura near Harran where a branch of Abraham’s family were - frictions with an old neighbour! (The ‘n’ dropping out is plausible linguistically.) (On the other hand Ari-aku is said to be the son of Durma-Ilani - Durma being related to “dharma”.)

Amraphel may be an alternative form of a common name of the king concerned: I can’t remember where I read it contained the name Sin (moon god) who was also worshipped in Harran (they used a moon-based calendar). Chedor Laomer (Laghumal) may be a colloquial variant on Chedor Nahhunte according to McKenzie and he was active some time after 1650 BC, as was one of the kings called Tudhalias (Tidal) of the Hittites. Though some people place Abraham a couple of hundred years further back.

It’s not enough to say he didn’t exist when we don’t have scrolls, tablets and such in glass cases with his signature or entry in a birth register. Even quite important people didn’t write in those days and in any case not many documents have survived from that period.

The period of uncertainty in his dates of living - a few hundred years - are nothing compared with the Indians Krishna, Rama and many others where the range is several thousands of years.

The simple answer is that lots of people don’t believe in Abraham because they don’t believe in the Bible.

Think of it this way: Jesus Christ believed in Abraham. He even taught that he is still alive (in a way which can be understood by studying the Gospels and their interpretation).

The Church most certainly does believe in the whole Bible but the Papal documents mentioned by another person who posted on this thread can help you to understand how the Church interprets these things in the context of modern discoveries.

If I recall correctly, those of Jewish ancestry (even myself with a tiny drop Jewish ancestry) most of us share a common ancestor. My own Jewish ancestry came from Russia, Germany, Spain, and Palestine. I know there is genetic variation in the Jewish population, but there seems to be a common thread there.

Because in the minds of the hyperskeptics, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” :rolleyes:

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