The Sacrifice of Isaac: The Aqedah (Genesis 22) and Its Interpretations

By Ed Noort; Eibert Tigchelaar | Go to book overview

THE AQEDAH AND ITS INTERPRETATIONS IN
MIDRASH AND PIYYUT

Wout Jac. van Bekkum

The famous Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel once observed of the aqedah or the biblical story of Isaac bound by Abraham for sacrifice: [Terrifying in content, the aqedah has become a source of consolation to those who, in retelling it, make it part of their own experience. Here is a story that contains Jewish destiny in its totality, just as the flame is contained in the single spark by which it comes to life. Every major theme, every passion and obsession that make Judaism the adventure that it is, can be traced back to it.]1 I hope to show that Elie Wiesel's words invoke a long tradition of Jewish preoccupation with a story often considered to be the most magnificent and deepest in meaning of all Bible stories. The theme of this narrative emerged as central in Midrash and Piyyut, the traditions of biblical exegesis and liturgical poetry in Late Antiquity and Middle Ages. According to the original text in Genesis 22, God calls Abraham in order to test him, asking him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham proceeds to implement God's wish, and only through divine intervention is he prevented from carrying out the sacrificial act: a ram is provided as a substitute offering. God then promises Abraham that he and his offspring shall inherit the earth. Both the incident and the story are referred to in Jewish tradition as the aqedah, a noun meaning 'binding', and such a reference implies the existence of both an actor and a recipient of the act. The event, when seen as fundamentally involving Abraham, is referred to as the trial of Abraham; when viewed primarily as Isaac's ordeal, it is called either the binding or sacrifice of Isaac. The biblical narrative suggests the participation of five major characters. The divine realm is represented both by God and an angelic messenger. The two human characters are Abraham and Isaac; they are accompanied in their journey by two anonymous and silent servants (in some midrashim they bear the names Ishmael and Eliezer, both pictured as vying for

1.Elie Wiesel, Messengers of God, New York: Random House 1976.

-86-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Sacrifice of Isaac: The Aqedah (Genesis 22) and Its Interpretations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 230

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.