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The Woman Who Named God: Abraham's Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths

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  • Posted January 15, 2010


    This book was very good. It was enjoyable to read and gave Islamic and Christian perspectives equal attention. This novel actually left me feeling inspired. Although, some of the things that inspired me offended another reviewer. That person thought that the assumption that God and Abraham did not have further discussion about leaving his father's city, slighted God. To me, it was an inspiration that this man had faith to continue on even though there wasn't more direction. How many times have people of faith felt that God was not directing them... this shows that even the 'father' of monotheistic religions probably experienced some of that feeling of hesitation and abandonment... Did Jesus slight God when he cried out, "My God, My God, why hath thou forsaken me?" No, he was a man expressing his feelings, not relinquishing his faith. These are stories of encouragement for those of us that don't always find God's path easy. In the context of history, it is simply amazing how Abraham did things different than what was accepted during that time period. This is a testament to him as a man and the power of God. I think open minded readers of all religions will enjoy it. Also, people that enjoy history will like the historical information dispersed in this fictional novel.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very Informative

    This book is full of facinating information on Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. It is full of insights into their relationships, their day to day lives, and their impact on history. I thought I knew a lot about them from reading the Bible, but there is information in this book that I didn't know. There is a Note, Dictionary and Bibliography section at the back of the book that is very informative. It is a book that anyone, of any faith can read and enjoy.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Don't be fooled, this is not a Christian book.

    I am struggling to figure out how anyone can consider this a Christian book. The introduction started out interestingly enough - it almost read like a novel. Which was what I thought this book was. I read three chapters and it chaffed the whole way through.

    Certainly this book deals with figures/heroes of our Christian faith, but I would not characterize it as a Christian book. In fact there are statements and assumptions that I find illogical and irreverent.
    (For examples please see my review at

    In the introduction it's clear that the book is not an endorsement of a particular religion or religious text and I can handle that, but I will not tolerate the not-so-subtle jabs at the Book I hold most dear.

    I felt that in the description of this book we were lead to believe that this was a novel, a historical and fictional account of the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. The description on the back of the book "A brilliant and timely retelling of the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar" even leads one to believe this is the case. Though, admittedly, in never uses the word novel. When I realized the error, I was still intrigued and read further because I am interested in the history and customs of Biblical times.

    This could be called a retelling, in the loosest of terms. It is a gathering of information - a compilation, if you will - of beliefs and oral legends of many different books from many different religions culminating in what the author believes happened in the lives of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar.

    But, again, it was difficult to dig through the criticisms toward God and jumps in logic just so I could get a feel for the history of Biblical times.

    Also, just as much - and sometimes more - credence is given to the Koran and non-canonical religious books as the Bible itself. That may be laudable from a secular standpoint, but not mine. I prefer a Christian world view. And I filter everything through that.

    My point is that I cannot give a positive review in terms of a Christian book. Because it is not. Even though there were interesting statements about culture and heritage.

    I would be remiss if I did not mention that the author has an extensive knowledge of various historical and religious writings. And a great deal of work went into this book. And from a secular historical standpoint it's impressive.

    But since I cannot trust the way the Bible and the God of the universe is handled in this book, who is to say that there aren't the same assumptions and mistakes in the researching of other parts of The Woman Who Named God?

    I am not willing to take that chance. Are you?

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent study book

    This is an absolutely wonderfully researched historical study book. It is not a historical fiction story. It is written in a thesis/dissertation manner with careful references to how the 3 different religions have viewed the relationship between Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. I discovered many things that I didn't realize about them and by "humanizing" them, Ms Gordon has brought to mind many emotional points that makes one ponder. Like, how did Sarai really feel about being offered to the Pharaoh. Was Hagar a member of Pharaoh's family or an Egyptian serving girl? Did Sarah ever regret sending Hagar out of the camp? Did Abraham? How have the different religions treated the relevence of God's prophecy during the night of the animal sacrifice. She has studied the different books of the Bible, Torah, and Koran as well as the many articles that have become part of the religions over the centuries. I found it well written, thought provoking, and being a woman, I was also pleased that someone took the time to investigate their relationship from a woman's point of view. Although it is about Sarah and Hagar and their relationship with Abraham, there are also chapters devoted to only Abraham and how his actions and experiences helped or hindered his relationship with his family and followers. Because it left me wanting to go off and explore some of the points for myself, I give this 4 stars.

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    Posted January 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

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