untouched, only the bare outlines may very well be historical. If, as most critics agree, it is a historical romance (cf., e.g., the book of Judith), it is possible that a writer, preferably one who lived in the post-exilic age and was acquainted with Babylonian history, desired to enhance the greatness of Abraham by exhibiting his military success against the monarchs of the Tigris and Euphrates, the high esteem he enjoyed in Palestine and his lofty character as displayed in his interview with Melchizedek.
See further, Pinches, Old Test. in Light of Hist. Records, pp. 208-236; Driver, Genesis, p. xlix., and notes on ch. xiv.; Addis, Documents of the Hexateuch, ii. pp. 208-213; Carpenter and Harford-Battersby, The Hexateuch, i. pp. 157-159, 168; Bezold, Bab.-Assyr. Keilinschriften, pp. 24 sqq., 54 sqq.; A. Jeremias, Altes Test. im Lichte d. Alten Orients(2), pp. 343 seq.; also the literature to the art. Genesis. Many fanciful legends about Abraham founded on Biblical accounts or spun out of the fancy are to be found in Josephus, and in post-Biblical and Mahommedan literature; for these, reference may be made to Beer, Leben Abrahams (1859); Grünbaum, Neue Beiträge z. semit. Sagenkunde, pp. 89 seq. (1893); the apocryphal “Testament of Abraham” (M. R. James in Texts and Studies, 1892); W. Tisdall, Original Sources of the Quran, passim (1905). (S. A. C.)
ABRAHAM A SANCTA CLARA (1644–1709), Austrian divine, was born at Kreenheinstetten, near Messkirch, in July 1644. His real name was Ulrich Megerle. In 1662 he joined the order of Barefooted Augustinians, and assumed the name by which he is known. In this order he rose step by step until he became prior provincialis and definitor of his province. Having early gained a great reputation for pulpit eloquence, he was appointed court preacher at Vienna in 1669. The people flocked to hear him, attracted by the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humour, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular. In general he spoke as a man of the people, the predominating quality of his style being an overflowing and often coarse wit. There are, however, many passages in his sermons in which he rises to loftier thought and uses more dignified language. He died at Vienna on the 1st of December 1709. In his published writings he displayed much the same qualities as in the pulpit. Perhaps the most favourable specimen of his style is his didactic novel entitled Judas der Erzschelm (4 vols., Salzburg, 1686–1695).
His works have been several times reproduced in whole or in part, though with many spurious interpolations. The best edition is that published in 21 vols. at Passau and Lindau (1835–1854). See Th. G. von Karajan, Abraham a Sancta Clara (Vienna, 1867); Blanckenburg, Studien über die Sprache Abrahams a S. C. (Halle, 1897); Sexto, Abraham a S. C. (Sigmaringen, 1896); Schnell, Pater A. a S. C. (Munich, 1895); H. Mareta, Über Judas d. Erzschelm (Vienna, 1875).
ABRAHAM IBN DAUD (c. 1110–1180), Jewish historiographer and philosopher of Toledo. His historical work was the Book of Tradition (Sepher Haqabala), a chronicle down to the year 1161. This was a defence of the traditional record, and also contains valuable information for the medieval period. It was translated into Latin by Génébrad (1519). His philosophy was expounded in an Arabic work better known under its Hebrew title ’Emunah Ramah (Sublime Faith). This was translated into German by Weil (1882). Ibn Daud was one of the first Jewish scholastics to adopt the Aristotelian system; his predecessors were mostly neo-Platonists. Maimonides owed a good deal to him.
ABRAHAMITES, a sect of deists in Bohemia in the 18th century, who professed to be followers of the pre-circumcised Abraham. Believing in one God, they contented themselves with the Decalogue and the Paternoster. Declining to be classed either as Christians or Jews, they were excluded from the edict of toleration promulgated by the emperor Joseph II. in 1781, and deported to various parts of the country, the men being drafted into frontier regiments. Some became Roman Catholics, and those who retained their “Abrahamite” views were not able to hand them on to the next generation.
ABRAHAM-MEN, the nickname for vagrants who infested England in Tudor times. The phrase is certainly as old as 1561, and was due to these beggars pretending that they were patients discharged from the Abraham ward at Bedlam. The genuine Bedlamite was allowed to roam the country on his discharge, soliciting alms, provided he wore a badge. This humane privilege was grossly abused, and thus gave rise to the slang phrase “to sham Abraham.”
ABRANTES, a town of central Portugal, in the district of Santarem, formerly included in the province of Estremadura; on the right bank of the river Tagus, at the junction of the Madrid-Badajoz-Lisbon railway with the Guarda-Abrantes line. Pop. (1900) 7255. Abrantes, which occupies the crest of a hill covered with olive woods, gardens and vines, is a fortified town, with a thriving trade in fruit, olive oil and grain. As it commands the highway down the Tagus valley to Lisbon, it has usually been regarded as an important military position. Originally an Iberian settlement, founded about 300 B.C., it received the name Aurantes from the Romans; perhaps owing to the alluvial gold (aurum) found along the Tagus. Roman mosaics, coins, the remains of an aqueduct, and other antiquities have been discovered in the neighbourhood. Abrantes was captured on the 24th of November 1807 by the French under General Junot, who for this achievement was created duke of Abrantes. By the Convention of Cintra (22nd of August 1808) the town was restored to the British and Portuguese.
ABRASION (from Lat. ab, off, and radere, to scrape), the process of rubbing off or wearing down, as of rock by moving ice, or of coins by wear and tear; also used of the results of such a process as an abrasion or excoriation of the skin. In machinery, abrasion between moving surfaces has to be prevented as much as possible by the use of suitable materials, good fitting and lubrication. Engineers and other craftsmen make extensive use of abrasion, effected by the aid of such abrasives as emery and carborundum, in shaping, finishing and polishing their work.
ABRAUM SALTS (from the German Abraum-salze, salts to be removed), the name given to a mixed deposit of salts, including halite, carnallite, kieserite, &c., found in association with rock-salt at Stassfurt in Prussia.
ABRAXAS, or Abrasax, a word engraved on certain antique stones, called on that account Abraxas stones, which were used as amulets or charms. The Basilidians, a Gnostic sect, attached importance to the word, if, indeed, they did not bring it into use. The letters of ἀβραξάς, in the Greek notation, make up the number 365, and the Basilidians gave the name to the 365 orders of spirits which, as they conceived, emanated in succession from the Supreme Being. These orders were supposed to occupy 365 heavens, each fashioned like, but inferior to that above it; and the lowest of the heavens was thought to be the abode of the spirits who formed the earth and its inhabitants, and to whom was committed the administration of its affairs. Abraxas stones are of very little value. In addition to the word Abraxas and other mystical characters, they have often cabalistic figures engraved on them. The commonest of these have the head of a fowl, and the arms and bust of a man, and terminate in the body and tail of a serpent.
ABROGATION (Lat. abrogare, to repeal or annul a law; rogare, literally “to ask,” to propose a law), the annulling or repealing of a law by legislative action. Abrogation, which is the total annulling of a law, is to be distinguished from the term derogation, which is used where a law is only partially abrogated. Abrogation may be either express or implied. It is express either when the new law pronounces the annulment in general terms, as when in a concluding section it announces that all laws contrary to the provisions of the new one are repealed, or when in particular terms it announces specifically the preceding laws which it repeals. It is implied when the new law contains provisions which are positively contrary to the former laws without expressly abrogating those laws, or when the condition of things for which the law had provided has changed and consequently the need for the law no longer exists. The abrogation of any statute revives the provisions of the common law which had been abrogated by that statute. See Statute; Repeal.
ABRUZZI E MOLISE, a group of provinces (compartimento) of Southern Italy, bounded N. by the province of Ascoli, N.W. and