Violence and Secrecy: On Masculinity and the Akedah

By Sarah Imhoff

Josh Rolnick, The Sh'ma Institute, September 2011

Biblical scholars explain that the story of the Akedah marks a turning point from ancient Near Eastern cultural traditions that include human sacrifice to a strikingly illustrative polemic against human sacrifice. Do not sacrifice your son, God tells Abraham. But ironically, the very acts that mark this watershed cultural transition away from violence are violent in themselves. In this story of terrifying duty, the threat of violence still lingers for this father and son. And as much as both of them would surely like to forget the harrowing episode, it was a defining part of the process that made each one into a man of God. Even at its most perplexing moments, the narrative also resonates with contemporary questions about what it means to be a man. Gendered issues are contextual, not timeless, but Abraham, Isaac, and the incident on Mount Moriah raise two crucial themes about modern masculinity: violence and secrecy.

Topic: Theology, Gender, Violence, Jewish Text

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

Editor: Berrin, Susan

Volume/Issue: Vol.42/no.682

Page Number(s): 17-18

Preview: Download

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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:
Imhoff, Sarah. Violence and Secrecy: On Masculinity and the Akedah. Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas. Josh Rolnick, The Sh'ma Institute. September 2011: 17-18.


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