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The Blood of Abraham

Former president Jimmy Carter's The Blood of Abraham was written in the mid-1980s following the terrible slaughter of civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. Carter had been instrumental in achieving the famous Camp David Accords of 1978, which established a framework for peace in the Middle East. But he was troubled by the apparently unending violence there. In this book Carter sought to "understand the roots of the hatred and bloodshed that still shape the relationships among the people of the region" (4). Carter looked to the story of Abraham, "a common foundation for both Judaism and Islam," and related it to the struggle for land and resources that is still the basis of the fighting in the Middle East--as it was in the time of Abraham (7). Carter sought to determine why, despite the strong potential for resolution of all the Middle-Eastern conflicts, the various nations and their leaders felt unable to arrive at solutions. He concluded that the two religions and the various nations interpret the promises God made to Abraham in different, and opposing, fashions. Thus peace can only be achieved when all the countries and sects of the region agree that their interpretations of God's promises do not have to be mutually exclusive.

But this introductory material, which gave Carter his title, does not have a great deal to do with the chapters in the book. Each chapter addresses the problems of coexistence peculiar to an individual Middle-Eastern nation. But there is little mention of the underlying causes of the conflict that goes back much farther than the beginning of the twentieth century. This is probably sufficient grounding for the type of analysis in which Carter engages here. But his claim to investigate the underlying, centuries-old roots of the conflict is, it seems, merely display without much substance behind it. Unfortunately, this also means that his analyses do not go deep enough to be...

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The Blood of Abraham. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:38, December 06, 2021, from