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The Descendants of Abraham: A Multicultural Interpretation of the Abrahamic Traditions

Han, Dong-Gu 1

1평택대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

The 21st century's world, which is sometimes referred as 'Neo- Hellenistic', is multicultural where a diversity of people shares a nation and a common ground of life. However, though the world has changed to multicultural society, the people yet seem to value nationalistic ideas considerably. I believe therefore it is needed for this era to have a biblical value of multicuturalism, which is specifically advocated in the Abrahamic traditions and studied in the present article tracing them back from the New Testament, intertestamental writings and to the Old Testament. The christian community in the New Testament opened the door for every believers to be a part of 'the descendants (= seed) of Abraham' (Gal 3: 7-14; Rom 4: 13-16). Christian missionary work has thus become worldwide, overcoming nationalism and reaching to the multicultural and multinational world. The intertestamental writings also attest the multicultural advocating Abrahamic traditions. For instance, Sirach 44: 19-21 say that Abraham could possibly become a father of many nations because he was blessed by God for his sincere observation of the Law; it in effect highlights the subsequent harmony between Israel and the foreign nations and their culture. In 1 Maccabees 12: 19-23 it is said that "the Spartans and the Jews are brothers and are of the family of Abraham". Psalm 47, in the Old Testament, insinuates that the range of the Israelite people covers every nations in the world since YHWH God's sovereignty is expanded to accept the leaders of nations in the world as the people of Abraham's God. In the Abrahamic traditions of Genesis, YHWH God acknowledges Israel and the gentiles all together as his people, advocating 'multicultural world-view and values'. First of all, all the world is recognized as a family that derives from one man by the bless of God. This idea clearly indicates that the variety of the nations in the world are the descendants of Abraham. The bless of that 'expansion' is an innovative interpretation for the identity of Israel is seriously associated with witnessing the bless of God to all the nations in the world. The very tradition advocating the multicultural world-view is found in Genesis 21: 8-21. Here the new world in which God carries out his will is envisaged, where the 'feeble belief' that attempted to run in the family by an adopted son (Gen 15: 2) or a concubine (Gen 16) is denounced, and the 'narrow-minded nationalism' that only admits a son of first wife as a true heir is got over. God broke down the wall of nationalistic separation between Israel and the gentile since he is a God over all the nations in the world.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.