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Abraham's Bind: & Other Bible Tales of Trickery, Folly, Mercy and Love

Overview

Ancient stories from the Bible offer lessons for today's world

"Little has changed over the millennia. Our existence remains suspended between the realm of the eternal and the elemental plane of the material world. This tension pulls at our hearts and minds as we attempt to find our true selves in relationship to each other and to God. This is the crucible of our lives: the true test of our powers of strength and conviction in the face of adversity, our wrestling with the range of human emotion, from jealousy and...

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Overview

Ancient stories from the Bible offer lessons for today's world

"Little has changed over the millennia. Our existence remains suspended between the realm of the eternal and the elemental plane of the material world. This tension pulls at our hearts and minds as we attempt to find our true selves in relationship to each other and to God. This is the crucible of our lives: the true test of our powers of strength and conviction in the face of adversity, our wrestling with the range of human emotion, from jealousy and rage to kindness, sacrifice, and generosity toward the ones we love."
—from the Introduction

With insight, thoughtfulness and wit, these provocative and entertaining re-imaginings of stories from the Bible highlight the ways God can work for and through us, even today:

Barren and despairing Sarah becomes pregnant—learning that nothing is impossible.

Jacob the trickster is, in turn, tricked into marrying the wrong wife—learning that what goes around comes around.

Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers, only to rise to wield power of life and death over them—learning that patience and integrity will win out in the end.

Through multifaceted characters, original stories and vivid natural imagery, Caduto brings this ancient world to life. He immerses you in a richly-textured experience of another time and place. Within these pages you will come to see these familiar tales through new eyes.

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Editorial Reviews

Albany Times-Union

The recent attacks and counterattacks are the latest manifestation of wars for land and sovereignty in the Middle East. For centuries, cycles of cultural and territorial strife have fed on a history of land claims, mistrust among neighboring peoples and a lust for revenge.

In truth, the dominant spiritual traditions of that region share a common root in the lives of the biblical patriarch and matriarch, Abraham and Sarah. Their way was one of compassion and peace. Faith and family were at the center of their lives. If these two great figures were alive to witness what is happening today, they would wail with pain and tear their clothes in the traditional expressions of grief.

Abraham is a central figure in the sacred texts of the Middle East's three major religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. In the story of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah are the progenitors of many of the Jewish and Christian leaders who follow through time. Nearly 2,000 years after Abraham and Sarah were wed, Jesus was raised by Mary and Joseph, who was himself a direct descendant of Abraham, 42 generations removed. More than 600 years after Christ was crucified, Mohammed wrote that he considered Abraham to be the most significant religious figure in the ancient history of Islam. Abraham appears in the Koran as a source of inspiration and shining example for living a life of faith. Our age possesses no monopoly over the passionate loyalties that peoples of the Middle East hold for their families, their homelands and their beliefs. Ancient faces of the same forces that we see today confronted the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs. Abraham's son Ishmael was not able to forgive his brother Isaac for an injustice in which he felt his brother was complicit and that robbed Ishmael of his inheritance. Their inability to reconcile was disastrous for them and their families.

Esau, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, was wronged by his brother, Jacob, the trickster, who robbed Esau of his birthright and his father's blessing and inheritance. Yet, 20 years later, Esau forgave Jacob and embraced him -- an example of the transforming power of reconciliation. One evening, Jacob crossed a river and encountered a powerful being he perceived as a threat to his family. After they wrestled through the night, Jacob realized he had struggled with the Almighty, who then gave him the name of Israel, "One who has been strong against God." Joseph, whose brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, went on to become a powerful vizier who is second in authority only to Pharaoh. Despite the anger Joseph felt toward his brothers for betraying him, Joseph discovered compassion in his heart at the moment he held their lives in his hands.

The histories of these three faiths converge in a way that is profound and elemental. There is a strong parallel between the miraculous birth of Abraham's son Isaac, and the coming of Christ. Yahweh asks Abraham to prove his faith by sacrificing his son, Isaac. When Yahweh spares young Isaac from the knife in Abraham's trembling hand, a lineage is saved that will eventually lead to the birth of Jesus's father, Joseph. The tears of anguish that were shed by Abraham watered the seeds of faith for all Jews and Christians to come. Abraham's and Sarah's lives, and those of their descendants, are the nexus of three great religions. Their example could be a source of common ground at a time when religious beliefs, geopolitics and economic injustice drive the world's regional and global conflicts. Christians, Muslims and Jews can look to the patriarchs and matriarchs as their shared history and build on their foundations that honor faith while teaching followers to walk a path of tolerance and of living justly with other peoples.

An enduring commitment must be made to help the leaders of Judaism, Islam and Christianity rediscover that they possess the power to unite, heal and transcend. Only when the fighting is seen for what it truly is -- a crisis of faith and a failure to embrace common spiritual roots -- will hostilities begin to subside and a peaceful coexistence emerge. Then forgiveness and healing can begin, and the tears of Abraham will not have been shed in vain. Michael J. Caduto is the author of Abraham's Bind: Bible Stories of Trickery, Folly, Mercy and Love, published by SkyLight Paths (http://www. skylightpaths.com). His Web site is http://www.p-e-a-c-e.net.

New Age Retailer Magazine

Abraham's Bind and Other Bible Tales of Trickery, Folly, Mercy, and Love Michael J. Caduto. New versions of familiar biblical stories explore relevant life lessons for today's world.

Rutland Herald

The recent round of attacks and counterattacks in the Middle East is the latest manifestation of wars that have long been fought for land and sovereignty in that region. For centuries the Middle East has been mired in waves of internecine fighting — heinous cycles of cultural and territorial strife that feed on a history of ancient land claims, mistrust among neighboring peoples and a lust for revenge.

It is tragically ironic that so many combatants now cite faith, and even religious duty, as justification for socalled "holy wars." In truth, all of the dominant spiritual traditions of that region share a common root in the lives of the biblical patriarch and matriarch, Abraham and Sarah. Their way was one of compassion and peace. Faith and family were at the center of their lives. If these two great figures were alive to witness what is happening today, they would wail with pain, tear their clothes and pull out their hair in the traditional expressions of grief.

Abraham is a central wisdom figure in the sacred texts of the Middle East's three major religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. In the story of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah are the progenitors of many of the Jewish and Christian leaders who follow through time. Nearly 2,000 years after Abraham and Sarah were wed, Jesus was raised by Mary and Joseph, who was himself a direct descendent of Abraham, 42 generations removed. More than 600 years after Christ was crucified, Muhammad wrote that he considered Abraham to be the most significant religious figure in the ancient history of Islam. Abraham appears in the Koran as a primary source of inspiration, as a shining example for living a life of faith.

Our age possesses no monopoly over the intensely passionate loyalties that peoples of the Middle East hold for their families, their homelands and their beliefs. Ancient faces of the same forces that we see today also confronted the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, both within their families and between peoples of neighboring regions. Abraham's son Ishmael was not able to forgive his brother Isaac for an injustice in which he felt his brother was complicit and that robbed Ishmael of his inheritance. Their inability to reconcile a longstanding rivalry had disastrous results for them both, and for their families.

Esau, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, was gravely wronged by his brother, Jacob, the trickster, who robbed Esau of his birthright and his father's blessing and inheritance. Yet 20 years later, Esau forgave Jacob and embraced him — a shining example of the transforming power of reconciliation. One evening, Jacob crossed a river and encountered a powerful being that he perceived as a threat to his family. After they wrestled through the night, Jacob realized he had struggled with the Almighty, who then gave him the name of Israel, "One who has been strong against God."

Even more familiar is the story of how Joseph ultimately forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph goes on to become a powerful vizier who is second in authority only to Pharaoh. Despite the anger that Joseph felt toward his brothers for betraying him, Joseph discovered compassion in his heart at the very moment that he held their lives in his hands.

Sometimes the histories of these three faiths converge in a way that is profound and elemental. There is a strong parallel between the miraculous birth of Abraham's son Isaac and the coming of Christ. In one of the renowned (OVER) bible stories, Yahweh asks Abraham to prove his faith by sacrificing his son, Isaac. When Yahweh spares the life of young Isaac from the knife in Abraham's trembling hand, a lineage is saved that will eventually lead to the birth of Jesus' father, Joseph. The tears of anguish that were shed by Abraham watered the seeds of faith for all Jews and Christians to come.

Abraham and Sarah's lives, and those of their descendants, are the nexus of three great religions. Their example could become a source of common ground today, a time when religious beliefs, geopolitics and economic injustice drive the world's regional and global conflicts. All Christians, Muslims and Jews can look to the patriarchs and matriarchs as their shared history; can begin to build on common roots that honor strong faith while teaching followers to walk a path of tolerance and of living justly with other peoples.

Politics and diplomacy have their limits in Abraham and Sarah's ancestral lands. An enduring commitment must be made to help the leaders of Judaism, Islam and Christianity rediscover that they possess the power to unite, heal and transcend. Only when the fighting is seen for what it truly is — a crisis of faith and a failure to embrace common spiritual roots — will hostilities begin to subside and a peaceful coexistence emerge. Then forgiveness and healing can begin, and the tears of Abraham will not have been shed in vain.

Michael J. Caduto, a resident of Chester, is the author of "Abraham's Bind: Bible Stories of Trickery, Folly, Mercy and Love," published by SkyLight Paths. ABRAHAM'S

Storytelling Magazine - Jo Radner

For storytellers who enjoy telling tales from the Bible, Micahel Caduto's retelling of the stories of Abraham through Joseph will suggest intriguing possibilities. This book reads like a novel, the characters more fully realized than in the Bible. Questions for discussion are provided at the end.

University of Michigan's Alumni Magazine

Michael Caduto, MS'81 Abraham's Bind and Other Bible Tales of Trickery, Folly, Mercy and Love, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2006.

The book: With insight, thoughtfulness and wit, these provocative and entertaining re-imaginings of stories from the Bible highlight the ways God can work for and through us, even today. Through multifaceted characters, original stories and vivid natural imagery, Caduto brings this ancient world to life.

The author: Michael J. Caduto is a renowned author, educator and storyteller who has written and coauthored fifteen books, including the "Keepers of the Earth" series, "In the Beginning: The Story of Genesis and Earth Activities for Children," "A Child of God," "Earth Tales from Around the World," and "The Crimson Elf." His awards include the Aesop Prize, NAPPA Gold and Silver Awards and a Storytelling World Award.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594731860
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Caduto is a renowned author, ecologist, educator and storyteller who has written and coauthored sixteen books, including Native American Gardening, the Keepers of the Earth series, In the Beginning: The Story of Genesis and Earth Activities for Children, and Abraham's Bind & Other Bible Tales of Trickery, Folly, Mercy and Love (SkyLight Paths). His articles have appeared in many magazines, including Organic Gardening, Sanctuary, Nature Study and Instructor. In 1984 he founded a service called P.E.A.C.E.—Programs for Environmental Awareness and Cultural Exchange—which promotes understanding, awareness, appreciation and stewardship as the foundation for building a harmonious, sustainable relationship between people and Earth, and among the cultures of the world. His website is www.p-e-a-c-e.net.

Michael J. Caduto is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Nurturing Herbs for Body, Mind and Spirit
  • Fiddleheads, Lamb's Quarters, Nettles and Nuts: Wild Edible, Medicinal and Poisonous Plants
  • Native American Gardening: Planting Seeds of the Future
  • Earth Gardens and the Seasons of Life
  • A Harvest of Tales: Native Stories, Song, Dance and Food

Click here to contact the author.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix
ABRAM AND SARAI 1
ISAAC AND REBEKAH 51
JACOB,RACHEL,AND LEAH 101
JOSEPH 157
Reader's Questions and Topics for Discussion 201
Acknowledgments 207
About the Author 208

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