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

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

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

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

Synopsis

The central theme of the papers read at the conference about the Aqedah is the history of reception of Genesis 22: The Sacrifice of Isaac. After observations related to the biblical text and human sacrifice in Ancient Israel, the sacrifice of Iphigeneia is studied, followed by papers about the reception of the Aqedah in Qumran, in Jubilees, in Rabbinical and in Christian Syriac traditions, finally in a recently published poem in the Bodmer papyri and in the Koran. Important contributions are made by the history of art. Two essays in this volume study the older iconography and the Aqedah in Italian art. The reception in modern times: Kierkegaard, a gender-motivated and a psychoanalytical reading can be found in the last part of the volume. The studies published in this volume bring surprising and oft neglected aspects of the famous narrative to light. How in different times and in different circles Genesis 22 has been interpreted is an encouragement for hermeneutical reflection and a help for exegesis itself.

Excerpt

The yearly conference of the research group [Early Jewish and Christian Traditions] of the Department of Biblical Studies, University of Groningen was held on the 19th and 20th of June, 2000 at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. Because of a close cooperation with the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East of the same university we were happy to have W.J. van Bekkum, F. Leemhuis and G. Reinink among the contributors. The theme was the history of reception of the Aqedah (Genesis 22). The proceedings open with a study of the biblical text and its relation to human sacrifice connected with the problem of dating the enigmatic narrative (E. Noort). J.N. Bremmer compares the biblical story with the sacrifice of Iphigeneia and child sacrifice in Ancient Greece. F. García Martínez studies the Sacrifice of Isaac in 4Q225 and concludes that 4Q225 did not belong [neither to the Jubilees, nor to the qumranic tradition … it is a witness to the development and growth of the traditions around the Aqedah and … assures that some of the basic elements of the Christian interpretation … were already present in pre-Christian Judaism]. The disputed relationship between Genesis 22:1–9 and the framework narrative of the Book of Job is researched by a detailed analysis of the profile of the protagonists, the narrative technique and the text itself and their reception in Jubilees (J.T.A.G.M. van Ruiten). W.J. van Bekkum studies the Aqedah in Midrash and Piyyut, the Jewish traditions of biblical exegesis and the liturgical poetry of Late Antiquity and Middle Ages. The recently published poem [To Abraham] in the Bodmer papyri is analysed by A. Hilhorst. He offers the text, a translation and a commentary especially on the role of Isaac. For Hilhorst there is not proof enough to call it a Christian poem. G.J. Reinink discusses the [earliest specimens of East Syrian apologetic discourse in response to Islam]. He concludes that the typological exegesis used in the disputation is in line with older Syriac tradition, demonstrated by the replacement of the ram by a [lamb suspended on a tree] already in the fifth century. From here it could enter the later disputations between representatives of Islam and Christianity. How the story of Genesis 22 is reworked in the Koran, lacking many narrative details . . .

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