Jews, Christians, and Muslims trace their roots to Abraham, but the course of that lineage is not the same for all three faiths. Judaism and Christianity view Isaac, the son of Sarah, as the offspring of Abraham through whom the family line is continued. Islam, on the other hand, sees Ishmael, son of Hagar, as the rightful heir who carries on the family name. The two sacred texts of these religions, the Bible and the Qur'an, have much in common, highlighting the close relationship that exists between the two lines of Abraham's family. This book examines some of the themes, figures, and episodes that are shared by the Bible and the Qur'an. It is an introduction to the Qur'an for the descendants of Isaac, who are invited to listen to and learn from the way Ishmael and his descendants retell the family stories.
Rarely have Western scholars considered the Qur'an worthy of the kind of close reading which the Bible customarily receives. In taking the Qur'an at least as seriously as the Christian scriptures and by allowing it to inform our reading of the Bible, Dr. Kaltner has opened up new possibilities for interreligious dialogue. Warmly recommended for Christian readers, Ishmael Instructs Isaac is accessible enough to be a text for college-level courses, but insightful enough to be read with interest even by specialists.Gregory W. Dawes, Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Otago