Item description for Arabs in the Shadow of Israel: The Unfolding of God's Prophetic Plan for Ishmael's Line by Tony Maalouf...
Overview A thoughtful and well-documented call to rethink the role of Arabs in the plan of God. Western Christianity's long-standing support of Israel has, perhaps unintentionally, nurtured a prejudice against Arab people--the descendants of Abraham's first son, Ishmael. Author Tony Maalouf contends that this bias differs dramatically from the biblical portrayal of Ishmael and the nations that have sprung from him. With meticulous research and theological astuteness, Maalouf surfaces the positive portrayal of the Arab people in ancient and prophetic history, clearly showing that the Israeli-Arab conflict is a recent development in history. By bringing to light the nature of relationships that have prevailed among the Jews and Arabs throughout history, Maalouf strives to change the thinking of Bible believers to a more accurate understanding of this crucial contemporary issue. He traces the Abrahamic heritage of the Arab people and majors on the positive Arab-Israeli relationships in biblical history. The descendants of Ishmael have an important role in the sovereign plan of God--rright up to the final moments of history.
A thoughtful and well-documented call to rethink the role of Arabs in the plan of God. Western Christianity's long-standing support of Israel has, perhaps unintentionally, nurtured a prejudice against Arab people--the descendants of Abraham's first son, Ishmael. Author Tony Maalouf contends that this bias differs dramatically from the biblical portrayal of Ishmael and the nations that have sprung from him.
With meticulous research and theological astuteness, Maalouf surfaces the positive portrayal of the Arab people in ancient and prophetic history, clearly showing that the Israeli-Arab conflict is a recent development in history. By bringing to light the nature of relationships that have prevailed among the Jews and Arabs throughout history, Maalouf strives to change the thinking of Bible believers to a more accurate understanding of this crucial contemporary issue. He traces the Abrahamic heritage of the Arab people and majors on the positive Arab-Israeli relationships in biblical history. The descendants of Ishmael have an important role in the sovereign plan of God--right up to the final moments of history. Provides a challenge to Christianity's interpretation of current events Outlines a thoroughly biblical view of the Arab people Meticulously researched and accessibly written Author is a Christian Arab with substantial theological training
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Studio: Kregel Academic & Professional
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.48" Width: 5.54" Height: 0.84" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2003
Publisher Kregel Academic & Professional
ISBN 0825431840 ISBN13 9780825431845
Availability 1 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 26, 2017 01:39.
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More About Tony Maalouf
Tony Maalouf (Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) has served as assistant academic dean and professor of biblical studies at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary in Amman, Jordan, and as an adjunct professor at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon. He teaches and speaks throughout the Middle East and works on developing theological literature for Christians in the Arab World.
Reviews - What do customers think about Arabs in the Shadow of Israel: The Unfolding of God's Prophetic Plan for Ishmael's Line?
Reviewing an outstanding book Mar 8, 2005
En route to commenting on the book I should fly my colors, so one may factor in my possible biases. I am a Jew; I belong to the Messiah of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth; I am in the camp of Reformed theologians.
A book such as this, dealing with volatile contemporary issues, is bound to attract negative responses, as one may see. No doubt it will be attacked and maligned by those with hidden agendas (and who do NOT fly their true colors), but this is par for the course as concerns the truth in such an age as this.
The first thing I want to say about Dr. Maalouf's "Arabs In The Shadow Of Israel" concerns its astonishing even-handedness, and that in a number of areas. Theologically (within the broad Christian camp) he does not promote his views but very minimally; politically he walks a balanced line and does not pursue an agenda; historically his scholarship is careful and conservative. And it is because of this unusual even-handedness that the primary thrust of his vision is allowed to manifest with clarity and force, and without drawing forth the usual defensive responses from those in differing camps, such as myself. This "vision" arises primarily from a careful and fresh exegesis of chapters 16 and 21 of the Book of Genesis, as well as the section of Galatians 4:21-31, where Paul uses Hagar and Ishmael in an allegory of the fleshly seed and the seed of promise, contrasting the unbelieving Jews and those Jews and Gentiles who trust Messiah Jesus.
I first read this material in the form of Dr. Maalouf's doctoral dissertation (titled, "Ishmael In Biblical History"), and while marveling at the wealth of attestation and historical references, when made aware it was going to be published in book form, I thought that very few publishers would care to include the copious and extremely valuable documentation that supported much of his scholarly labor. To my delight I find that Kregel did include it, and so the book is substantially the same, save around 30 pages of added historical survey at the beginning to bring the exegetical and historical material into focus for readers looking at this material in the context of the current world situation.
From my earlier years as an evangelical Christian in America, and involved with Messianic Jewish thought and theology, I had the usual Western biases regarding Arabs, and in particular, the standard Western exegesis of the Hagar-Ishmael narratives in Genesis. Maalouf's painstaking examination of the Biblical text, however, opened my eyes to a more careful reading. Nor is this some flaky interpretation, but sound, and worthy of serious consideration. (Even among Christians there is an anti-Arab bias, in large measure because we tend to superimpose the Biblical Israel of old, and its status as the people of God, upon the modern Jewish state, thus justifying its political and military agendas, and assuming at least a partial approval of God. Anyone who is against this Jewish state, we reason, must be against God. And thus we see the Arabs in a dim light.)
I should mention that I am serving as the minister (as an elder in a mission church in the Middle East) of an evangelical Arabic congregation, preaching and teaching the riches of Christ as contained in His Gospel. This assembly of God's people loved hearing the fruits of Dr. Maalouf's textual labors as shown in my teaching that the Scripture depicted Hagar and her son in dignity and honor, blessed by the LORD even though not of the covenant line of Messianic promise. Ishmael did partake of the blessing of God through Abraham as one of his circumcised sons, and thus a partaker of the covenant the Lord made with Abraham, even though, I repeat, not of the Messianic line.
It is balanced and insightful Biblical exposition such as "Arabs In The Shadow Of Israel" affords that will make the glorious gospel of God in Christ far more appealing to the Arab world, where there are many who are disgusted at the violence of militant Islam (which violence is at the heart of the Koran), and a God who showed marvelous love and saving deliverance to Hagar and Ishmael will arrest their attention. With the erroneous Western prejudices (of which I was a holder myself!) removed, so is a cause of warranted offence done away with. Ishmael had been hijacked by Islam (as Maalouf shows), but the Word of God rightly divided brings him back into the fold of those under the caring and almighty hand of the Father of Jesus the Messiah.
I have touched upon only a few of the wonderful insights to be found in this valuable work, where Maalouf demonstrates that the blessing of God upon Ishmael and his seed found fruition, not only in our Scriptures (such as in the Book of Job), but in history, in friendship and support of the seed of his brother Isaac, all too forgotten in this present age of warfare, of Zionist and Islamic violence both! It is worthy of note that in earlier centuries Diaspora Jews fared better under Islamic governments and civilizations than under so-called Christian ones! As emissaries of Christ we need unbiased views of history, and of various ethnic peoples, that we may not carry baggage laden with poisonous stuff on our pilgrimage / missionary journey. We must keep His name hallowed.
I recommend this book as the work of a scholarly and godly Biblical exegete; of a Christian peacemaker whose instruments are historical and theological truth (no matter the deprecations of those with hidden axes to grind!). For those of you who know the groundbreaking works, Elias Chacour's "Blood Brothers", and Colin Chapman's "Whose Promised Land?", this is a book easily of their caliber.
I love books that clear my mind of falsity and dis-illusion me. Thank you, Tony Maalouf, for being Christ's instrument in doing this. And His people thank you with me.
Arabs in The Shadow of Israel: An Unbiased Look Aug 28, 2004
Arabs in The Shadow of Israel: A Book Review
After slogging through Arabs in the Shadow of Israel by Tony Maalouf one must first ask, what was his point and what was his purpose in writing? The answer is quick, concise, and simple. His point is that he believes that Arabs and Jews ought to get along and will be able to do so only by mutual application of the gospel. If that is his opinion, he should have so stated and left it at that.
Analysis of his writing also shows that his overshadowing purpose is to elevate the position of "Arabs" in the minds of his readers. No one would deny that Mr. Maalouf ought to have pride in his ancestry. However, one would deny that it ought to be embellished to the point of superiority. This is a temptation to which many ethnic groups have succumbed, and it may help individuals feel good about themselves and thereby give them inspiration to strive to be successful.
Mr. Maalouf also treads on and off of the turf of Islam in his writing. He realizes that in the world at large the religion of Islam and Moslems has become synonymous with Arabs. This is not correct, of course, but the end result, and this may well have been Mr. Maalouf's primary intention, is that he indirectly ends up giving an apology for Islam.
How is this possible, one may legitimately ask. First, you need a gifted and intelligent writer. Indeed Mr. Maalouf is both. However, his application of intelligence is such that it makes one feel that his stated purpose is not his real one and that he does indeed intend to play upon the misunderstanding now extant in the world that all Arabs and Moslems are one and the same and that therefore the good things he has to say about Arabs apply to all Moslems. Again, this is a very surreptitious, intelligent, and ingenious way of making a positive apology on behalf of all of Islam, whether radical, traditional, or moderate.
Mr. Maalouf approaches this task with one primary method. That is that he takes one well-attested fact, interprets it as he wishes, and then ties it in with four or five specious sources to come out with a conclusion that suits his purposes. This is pretty tricky. He first must violate all of the laws of logic along the way. Second, he must take the most rigorously authenticated documents available to us today, namely the New and Old Testament documents, and put them on a par with documents and writings that have little or no credence or attestation. He does this masterfully.
Mr. Maalouf is concerned that instead of being anti-Semitic that the world is becoming anti-Arab (read that anti-Islam in his purview). Has he not read the statistics regarding Islam being the fastest growing religious system in the "civilized" world, be it right or wrong? Of course he has, he is simply subtly revealing his prejudice and overall hidden agenda.
To make a successful case Mr. Maalouf must also take references in the biblical text and interpret them as no other credible theologian has. He then must, of course, assume that everyone else is in error. The reader, unless he or she has the ability to check the original languages, must then choose whether or not to believe the somewhat attractive arguments put forth by Mr. Maalouf. And, many readers will be conned into doing just this if they are either untutored in theology themselves or are unable to check his linguistic scholarship.
It is unfortunate, indeed, that our society has hit such a low ebb in scholarship and intellectualism that Mr. Maalouf can get away with such a book. One can only hope that he will inspire his readers to investigate on their own and that they will thereby come away with a much more informed and balanced view of history. Alas, in our society, that is probably a pipe dream.
While one might take the time to develop a point-by-point answer to Mr. Maalouf another question is again raised. That is, "who cares?" Why should one spend time refuting the points made by a book that certainly did not beg to be written in the first place? However, this would prove to be good fodder for a doctoral candidate in theology. Such an answer would require some research, but would be easy to accomplish. I will, however, leave that up to someone else since I have no need to write such a thesis.
Some Important Points of Deviation.
Mr. Maalouf thinks Moslems have always been and still are monotheists in the same way as Jews and Christians. This is incorrect.
Mr. Maalouf does not understand or chooses to misrepresent the development of the Palestinian problem.
Mr. Maalouf feels that Abraham, Isaac and indeed Israel are all technically Arabs.
Mr. Maalouf either purposefully or with the application of exceedingly poor scholarship incorrectly characterizes the original Hebrew as it describes the situation between Isaac and Ishmael.
Mr. Maalouf wishes to identify the Magi as Arab kings, because of poorly researched tradition, not because of historicity.
Mr. Maalouf characterizes the refuge sought eschatologically by the Jews in Petra as the Jews running to Arabia for help in their time of need.
If it were not for the subtle point Mr. Maalouf is trying to make, his attempt to convince readers, whom he hopes will be uneducated, would be laughable in it's false reasoning and ludicrous thought processes.
Overcoming Evangelical Prejudice Toward Arabs May 20, 2004
How can American evangelicalism wholeheartedly discard its antipathy toward the Arab world? Simple-read Dr. Tony Maalouf's book. He starts his discussion by noting that before the modern era, Jews and Arabs lived side by side in harmony for centuries. In reality, conflict between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael has been the exception rather than the rule. It has only been since the rise of Western imperialism effectuated through the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations that tensions have risen to the point we observe today. Yet he is quick to bring us to the biblical text to uncover some of the long-standing misconceptions that have clouded the thinking of Western Christians regarding Arab people. The central passage he tackles is Genesis 16:12, "He will be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone, and everyone's hand will be against him; and he will live to the east of all his brothers." Contrary to popular opinion, this prophecy by the God of Abraham was actually a blessing rather than a curse. Although Hagar was enslaved, her son, Ishmael, will be free as a donkey to roam the desert in pursuit of his own destiny. Unlike his subjected and powerless mother, he will be independent and strong, able to hold his own in the fierce Bedouin culture of the day. And he will dwell "before the face of his brothers" the Jews (p. 73). As such, Ishmael and his descendants are granted the unrivaled position of inhabiting a region of the world where they could be observers and recipients of the unfolding revelation of God to the nation of Israel throughout redemptive history. Hence, this prophecy would have been nothing but beautiful music to Hagar's ears. But did not Ishmael mock (Gen. 21:9) and even persecute Isaac (Gal. 4:29), causing him and his mother to be driven from the house of Abraham at Sarah's initiative? Yes, but look closer. As Dr. Maalouf insightfully explains, "[f]rom God's perspective, his plan for Isaac is incompatible with his purposes for Ishmael. No matter how severe Sarah's demand was, and no matter how serious Abraham's concern for his firstborn, God saw it better for Hagar and her son Ishmael to be dismissed to the wilderness and live under his care than to be kept in Abraham's house and live in rivalry with Sarah and her son Isaac. The patriarch had a limited inheritance, and it was ordained to go to the promised seed. . . . This is the primary reason for his summoning of Abraham to listen to Sarah's voice, and not because of any cursing of Ishmael" (p. 92). The New Testament shows, however, that in an act of divine reversal the Magi (tribal chiefs of Arab descent as Dr. Maalouf convincingly argues) are accorded the privilege of returning to witness and worship the true seed of Abraham, namely, the Messiah (Mt. 2:1ff.). Moreover, Arabs were present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and no doubt were counted among the 3,000 baptized (At. 2:11, 41). Surprisingly, they were even given priority in the missionary program of the Apostle Paul (Gal. 1:15-17). And in the future, at the pilgrimage of the Gentile nations to Israel in the Messianic Age, Arabs are first in line to offer their homage (Isa. 60:5-7). All this confirms Dr. Maalouf's belief that "the religious fate of biblical Israel as a nation and that of the Arabs" are divinely and inextricably linked (p. 223). Accordingly, "this should create among Christians [in the West] a desperate burden to refrain from political agendas and invest in the spiritual awakening predicted among both the Arabs and Jews" (p. 223). Indeed, by "[r]emoving unwarranted biases against Arabs, which neither the Bible nor history sustains, [we can] play a healing role in the Middle East conflict" (p. 223). May it be so!
What the Bible Says about the Arabs Apr 28, 2004
Where did the Arabs originate? What does the Bible say about the Arabs and their future? Do God's promises to Israel mean that there are no blessings for Arabs? Were the Magi from Persia or Arabia? These and related questions are answered in a scholarly and readable way by Tony Maalouf, an Arab Christian scholar from Lebanon. This book presents insightful information on the place of Ishmael and his descendants, which is often overlooked by Bible students. Anyone interested in the Midde East and the Arab world will benefit from this excellent study.