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Wikipedia says that the story of Abraham is fictional, an ex-post construction:

The Abraham story cannot be definitively related to any specific time, and it is widely agreed that the patriarchal age, along with the exodus and the period of the judges, is a late literary construct that does not relate to any period in actual history. A common hypothesis among scholars is that it was composed in the early Persian period (late 6th century BCE) as a result of tensions between Jewish landowners who had stayed in Judah during the Babylonian captivity and traced their right to the land through their "father Abraham"

but I recently read that Abraham time is about 1980 B.C.

Does anyone happen to know how this speculation was derived and what currency it has?

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    I'd be willing to bet a milkshake the Jews don't think Abraham is a "late literary construct that does not relate to any period in actual history." Their entire identity as the chosen people is derived from Abraham. Methinks the wiki article be a hair biased and not as neutral as the wiki powers-that-be prefer. – JBH Sep 25 '18 at 11:21
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A common theory about the Old Testament is that the writers reinterpreted legendary accounts of Abraham so that he was the father of other patriarchs. These other patriarch were themselves also legendary accounts of real people. Thus, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, were probably men who never met each other, but legends developed about them throughout different areas of the Levant. The purpose for the writers positing Abraham as the "father of the fathers" was to unify the various tribes of the Levant. This view is forwarded in books like The Bible Unearthed. Some secular scholars hold to this view, but I unfortunately am not an expert on this subject. I cannot tell you if it's the majority view.

It's important to note that a large minority of Christians hold to non-literal views of the Old Testament. However, it is the case that the vast majority of Christians (especially occidental) hold to a strict non-allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament, and thus historical views like what you found on Wikipedia are precluded a priori.

Sources:

A Note for Practicing Christians:

I myself am a Christian who does not care much about whether the Old Testament is complete history as the literalist depicts or if it's completely ad hoc as many non-Christians would prefer. My personal faith is in the bodily raised Christ, not on the historical particulars of an ancient scripture. I would encourage all Christians to put their faith in Christ, and not in a particular theory about scripture.

  • "Thus, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, were probably men who never met each other, but legends developed about them throughout different areas of the Levant." Huh, I've never actually heard of such a theory. I always thought the common non-historical view was that they were just simple mythological constructions. – curiousdannii Sep 28 '18 at 3:31

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