More specifically, Lamb as I'll call it is a reading of one of the most famous and perplexing stories in the canon of great world religions: God's commandment that Abraham sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, Abraham's preparations to act on this instruction, and the last-minute reprieve that gets delivered before Isaac is to be killed. A mere nineteen lines in the book of Genesis, it rests at the heart of the history, literature, theology, and sacred rituals of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. . It is amazing to see how 19 sentences of the biblical account have given birth to so many different interpretations, and one leaves this book with the sense that the discussion is not nearly over yet. He introduces us to the commentary of Second Temple sages, rabbis and priests of the late antiquity, and early Islamic exegetes some of whom imagined that Ishmael was the nearly sacrificed son.
It is enough to say that this book is a must-read. But it is out of his hands. The book invites a dialog between the reader and Goodman, and I think it is successful to the extent that it raises the level of the reader's own understanding of the question and what hinges on how he answers it. Rather than focusing solely on the story in Genesis, the author progresses well beyond biblical criticism to engage the myriad of interpretations about the Akedah that appear in Jewish, Christian and Islamic exegetical literature. What he does is give us a long, historically-infused rumination on why the story matters so much to us, how we might attempt to resolve the questions it raises, and why none of those resolutions seems to be satisfactory. What is the significance of the servants? If it's impossible to know what's true, you're thrown back on yourself.
The author is a professor of creative writing. He tells Abraham to do something, and when Abraham obeys, God stops him. In But Where is the Lamb? Interesting -- better if you peruse and return to it, rather than trying to read it right through. I was swept along as one might be with a brilliant travel guide on a far reaching journey. In each tradition, Goodman is struck by certain interpretive peculiarities. How could Abraham do it? The first is by avowedly embracing, as a lifelong Jew, the faith of his fathers and mothers. Did Isaac understand what was happening? What he does is give us a long, historically-infused rumination on why the story matters so much to us, how we might attempt to resolve the questions it raises, and why none of those resolutions seems to be satisfactory.
And we can trust that he loves us - because he did not spare his own Son. Interesting -- better if you peruse and return to it, rather than trying to read it right through. As was done with the Old Testament generally, the story became -- as far as Goodman is concerned, it was reduced to -- a set of typologies. Does the story provide an affirmation of faith, or the threat of religious zealotry? I really didn't think he would. The reason Goodman writes the book is hidden near the end of the book.
In this regard, Lamb is an imaginative experiment in history as literature. How could Abraham not have questioned God? Abraham and Isaac as a parable of feminist empowerment? The arrival of Christianity shifted the terms of the conversation about Abraham and Isaac. By on December 9, 2013 in , The story of Abraham and Isaac bothers me. G comes up with the Akedah; the authors ask to see the work in progress and fall in love with what G feels is an unfinished story. One can describe the first thousand or so years of interpretation as an intra-Jewish dialogue conducted against a backdrop of the rise and fall of Israel, the spread of Hellenism, and the expansion of the Roman Empire. Perhaps Audible or the other companies that make these books available could help these narrators with those hard to pronounce words.
Perhaps the simplest way of distinguishing the core differences in the three Abrahamic traditions would be to say that for Jews the story has been one of obedience; for Christians one of faith, and for Muslims one of submission. Writing from the vantage of ';a reader, a son, a Jew, a father, a skeptic, a historian, a lover of stories, and a writer, ' Goodman gives us an enthralling narrative history that moves from its biblical origins to its place in the cultures and faiths of our time. But Where Is the Lamb? Davies wrote in 1969 that the voice telling Abraham to kill Isaac came not from God but inside his own head, prompting angry fellow Baptists to withdraw the book they had commissioned from circulation. He looks at the art of Europe's golden age, the philosophy of Kant and Kierkegaard, and the panoply of twentieth-century interpretation, sacred and profane, including the work of Bob Dylan, Elie Wiesel, and A. But the story is written, and it's too late to revise it. For more than two millennia, people throughout the world have grappled with the troubling questions about sacrifice, authority, obedience, and faith to which the story gives rise.
Doesn't it seem that what God demands is wrong and that Abraham is wrong not to question it? The author's inability to tell the story as he thinks it should be told presages the difficulty others throughout history will have in understanding the story. In illuminating how so many others have understood this story, Goodman tells a gripping and provocative story of his own. The real problem is not that I am not qualified. I really didn't think he would. We made a deal, remember, the land, the blessing, the nation, the descendants as numerous as the sands on the shore and the stars in the sky.
In any case, he's too much a creature of his own culture, and still too invested in the rituals of academic life, to surrender the longings for grace in that faith, which among other things involves the transcendence of a book that just might reach that mythic General Audience we all covet. Moving effortlessly from Biblical time to our own, James Goodman offers an intense yet sparkling chronicle of intellectual, artistic, theological, and spiritual struggle. Truly, the binding of Isaac resonates throughout Western and Middle Eastern history. A mere nineteen lines in the book of Genesis, it rests at the heart of the history, literature, theology, and sacred rituals of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A mere nineteen lines in the book of Genesis, it rests at the heart of the history, literature, theology, and sacred rituals of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I had to stop reading.
For more than two millennia, people throughout the world have grappled with the troubling questions about sacrifice, authority, obedience, and faith to which the story gives rise. It is enough to say that this book is a must-read. I thought he'd say, whoa, hold on, wait a minute. As to the narrator, he did an excellent job as well. The Hellenic-minded Philo, by contrast, emphasized Abraham's fidelity in a context of Greek religion, where the sacrifice of one's children was relatively common.