Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 21 16:25:22 UTC 2009

At 10:30 PM -0500 12/20/09, Baker, John wrote:
>Why is it paradoxical to refer to the three major monotheist
>traditions as Abrahamic?
>John Baker

It certainly works better than, say, "Isaacic".


>From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Victor Steinbok
>Sent: Sat 12/19/2009 10:17 PM
>Subject: Re: atheist
>There is so much debate on this point--and AFAIK has been over the
>years--that making a clear-cut definition may be difficult. There is, of
>course, the question of the usage among different groups including 1)
>those who self-identify as atheists, 2) those who identify atheists as a
>rival class, 3) general undifferentiated usage.
>If you ask an average American on the street, whether in the heathen
>haven like NYC or in the Bible Belt, what s/he thinks makes an atheist,
>the response, most likely, will be that it is one who does not believe
>in God. This is a deeply unsatisfying and vague "definition". In
>particular, it presents a problem with polytheists and animists--and,
>basically, anyone who does not share the faith of the three major
>monotheist traditions that occasionally are (paradoxically, in my view)
>referred to as "Abrahamic"...

The American Dialect Society -

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