Sibylle Lewitscharoff, Najem Wali

Abraham Meets Ibrahim - Journeys through the Bible and the Quran

(German title: Abraham trifft Ibrahîm)
ca. 280 pages
Sibylle Lewitscharoff
Foto: Sibylle Lewitscharoff
© Jürgen Bauer

»Sibylle Lewitscharoff writes with a linguistic force that is unparalleled in German literature « Paul Jandl, Neue Züricher Zeitung

Sibylle Lewitscharoff, born in Stuttgart in 1954, lives in Berlin.

Awards (Selection):

2013: Georg-Büchner-Prize

2011: Marieluise-Fleißer-Prize

2011: Kleist-Prize

2009: Leipzig Book Fair Prize for Apostoloff

1998: Ingeborg-Bachmann-Prize

Najem Wali
Foto: Najem Wali
© Jürgen Bauer

Najem Wali was born in Basra, Iraq, in 1956. He fled to Germany in 1980, after the beginning of the Iran–Iraq War. After studies in Hamburg and Madrid he today lives in Berlin where he works as an author and journalist. He was a correspondent for the Arabic daily newspaper Al Hayat and still writes for Süddeutsche Zeitung, Spiegel and Die Zeit, among others.

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Russia (Medina)

From Abraham to Eve, from Noah to Satan

»After all, it’s not every day that you experience distress at sea and get rescued by a whale.«


A highly dramatic scene: a father leans over the defenceless boy, the knife flashing in his hand – when, at the last moment, an angel orders him to sacrifice a ram instead of his own son. The biblical story of Abraham and Isaac is well-known. That it caused the philosopher Kierkegaard a sleepless night at the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, during which a divine power appeared to him to discuss the question of mercy – this is something only Sibylle Lewitscharoff knows. How the Quran deals with this material in turn, how it relegates Isaac to the background and elevates Abraham’s firstborn Ismail to his position instead, that’s what Najem Wali tells us about.

From Abraham to Eve, from Noah to Satan: powerful writer and theologist Sibylle Lewitscharoff and Iraqi-German author Najem Wali have chosen eight figures from the Bible and the Quran. They each trace their stories from their respective point of view, spirited, enthusiastically, not missing the occasional nod to irony. They wonder about divine justice with worry-stricken Job, about courage and tolerance with Jonah, the frightened whale traveler and with the ensuing dialogue between the world religions, they touch upon the hot spots of our times.


»This book is a jewel, above all thanks to the brilliant texts to which Sibylle Lewitscharoff was enticed on account of the figures selected. You only wish she would bring even more Biblical figures back to life through her linguistic power and imagination.« Wolfgang Huber, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Other publications

Von oben/From Above (2019)

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Arabic world rights (Fawasel)

Das Pfingstwunder/The Miracle of Pentecost (2016)

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France (Piranha)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Audiobuch); German Entire Radio Reading (NDR)

Killmousky/Killmousky (2014)

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France (Piranha), Italy (Del Vecchio)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Random House Audio)

Blumenberg/Blumenberg (2011)

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English world rights (Seagull), Spanish world rights (Adriana Hidalgo), Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai Translation Publishing House), France (Les Belles Lettres), Italy (Del Vecchio Editore), Bulgaria (Atlantis), Slovenia (Sodobnost)

Apostoloff/Apostoloff (2009)

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English world rights (Seagull), Spanish world rights (Hidalgo), Chinese simplex rights (Beijing Qingyan), Chinese complex rights (China Times Publishing), France (Piranha), Italy (Del Vecchio Editore), Hungary (Bookart), Bulgaria (Atlantis), Republic of Moldova / Romanian Rights (Cartier), Estonia (Atlex), Serbia (Presing Izdavastvo), Macedonia (Ars Lamina)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Book Club (Bertelsmann), German Audiobook (Der Hörverlag)