I came across a post concerning a lecture that Jon D. Levenson gave recently at Villanova. I have never heard him lecture, but I’ve heard that he is an exquisite lecturer. It was for my undergraduate thesis that I used his work The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son, and it became a source of good information as well as some inspiration. Why does Levenson matter so much? Though he is an orthodox Jew, his historical-critical work is highly acclaimed and unmatched, and he does not compromise his beliefs.

Here are some points that the post lists in regard to the lecture:

—What brought about this test for Abraham? Some later Jewish interpreters placed the beginning of Job before Genesis 22 and placed Abraham in Job’s position while changing Satan’s dialogue to match Abraham’s position. But the Bible is silent as to why God wanted to test Abraham.

—This episode is the only time in the Bible that Abraham and Isaac are presented as talking to one another. I can’t believe I had not noticed that before.

—There are strong literary parallels with Genesis 21 in the Aqedah, as well as strong intertextuality within the Aqedah itself.

—Is Abraham’s statement in verse 5 a prophecy or a lie?

—The promises to Abraham, in Levenson’s terms, seem to “begin Lutheran and end up Catholic.” What he means by that is that the promises to Abraham in Genesis 12 are based purely on God’s grace and choice while the same promises echoed in Genesis 22 are now said to be based on Abraham’s deeds.

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