The Binding of Isaac or His Sacrifice? Christian and Jewish Perspectives

By Joshua Holo

Josh Rolnick, The Sh'ma Institute, September 2011

The dense, taut style of the Akedah's narration seems to reflect the religious tension of its content. Perhaps unsurprisingly, each of the three monotheistic faiths picks up on and plays into that tension to make very pointed religious claims. Judaism and Christianity, in particular, interpret the story in such a way as to expose the irreconcilability of their respective underpinnings. To be sure, both Christian and Jewish thinkers grapple with some of the same, more or less obvious, difficulties: God's apparent cruelty, the suffering of the protagonists, the complexity of faith, etc. Ultimately, however, Jewish and Christian thought diverge on how to read the crux of the story, namely, the struggle with and promise of child sacrifice.

Topic: Theology, Faith, Christianity, Belief, Jewish Text

Name of Publication: Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas

Editor: Berrin, Susan

Volume/Issue: Vol.42/no.682

Page Number(s): 10-11

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Holo, Joshua. The Binding of Isaac or His Sacrifice? Christian and Jewish Perspectives. Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas. Josh Rolnick, The Sh'ma Institute. September 2011: 10-11.


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