Abraham in Ancient Texts


Although many people today think of Genesis as our primary (or only) source of “information” about Abraham, this is not the case.  On the contrary, a range of ancient authors wrote about Abraham from a range of perspectives.  Indeed, a few ancient authors even wrote as if they were Abraham.  This course will examine a range of these ancient Abrahams by reading excerpts a number of texts from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions (including: Genesis, The Book of Jubilees, The Testament of Abraham, Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus, essays by Philo of Alexandria, Romans, Galatians, the Koran, and Tales of the Prophets) in order to better appreciate both “the many faces of Abraham” and the various uses to which Abraham has been put.  No prior knowledge or experience of any kind is required.

  • Hebrew Bible
  • Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
  • The Book of Jubilees
  • Philo, “On Abraham”
  • Philo, “On the Migration of Abraham”
  • Philo, “Questions & Answers on Genesis, III”
  • The Testament of Abraham
  • The Apocalypse of Abraham
  • The Book of Legends
  • New Testament
  • Qur’an
  • al-Kisai, Tales of the Prophets