The memory on the journey of Abraham is a collection of stories from a wide variety of scriptural and oral traditions, as well as scholarly sources. A thread of themes runs through them:
Abraham as father.
Abraham as friend of God.
Abraham as the patron of hospitality.
Abraham as righteous and faithful.
Abraham as rebel.
Abraham as negotiator.
Abraham as a man on a journey.
Follow an Ancient Path Across the Middle East
There is no evidence on the exact route of this journey. No scripture is detailed enough to recreate Abraham and his family’s specific path through the Middle East. More profoundly, there is no historic or archeological evidence that some 4,000 years ago, a man called Abraham existed. There is abundant evidence, however, that Abraham exists today in the memory and traditions of all people in the Middle East, and for billions of people outside the region. The path thus follows the anthropological Abraham, symbolically tracing the memory and wisdom of his journey across the Middle East.
The Abraham Path follows Abraham’s journey into the unknown, a journey instigated by faith, emboldened by trust and enriched along the way by encounters with people that were different from him. A rich and diverse cultural memory of Abraham and his family still pulses through the region today from Urfa to Harran, from Jerusalem to Mecca, from Hebron to the Negev. For some places, there is no established consensus on their geographic location. Other places can be found in multiple locations, depending on which tradition one follows. The path merely connects them on a journey; it assigns no higher veracity to one or the other.
Along this journey, travelers experience the physical landscape of the region. Both the topography and the ecosystems encountered along the path remind not only of the region’s biodiversity but also of the physical challenges that have always tempered the needs of travelers for hospitality, not at as a luxury, but as a necessity for life; not as a concept of commerce but in the tradition of Abraham: as a moral duty on the part of host and guest alike. In a place where the natural environment can be inhospitable, travelers today are still given the opportunity to discover the gift of hospitality to strangers from people who have learned to thrive in this seasonally harsh and beautiful region.
This life-giving hospitality is represented in the Abraham Path logo of an oak tree, which embraces the story of Abraham receiving guests under the Oaks of Mamre, near modern-day Hebron/Al-Khalil, known as the “Place of the Friend”. In this place Abraham received the promise of a son, and it is there where his journeys ended and he laid to rest at the end of his years.
Just as Abraham was compelled, challenged and transformed, travelers too are invited to go on a journey of their own.