Traditional interpretations in both Judaism and Christianity argue that the Akedah presents not only an ethical question but also an ethical reply. But for the intervention of the angel, Abraham would have killed his son. Obedience to God take precedence over morality as humanly conceived. Yet, the angel of YHWH that appears to Abraham is a later addition to the text; thus, in the original narrative Abraham actually disobeys the divine command to slay his son, and sacrifices a ram instead.
The first part of the book shows how the "original" version of the narrative did not contain the angelic figure. The second part of the book re-examines various religious interpretations of the text to show that exegetes such as Maimonides and his followers did point out Abraham's disobedience. According to these writers the esoteric layer of the story in fact declares that disobedience to God's command was Abraham's true affirmation of faith. In the third part of the book, Boehm re-opens the philosophical debate between Kant and Kierkegaard. Boehm concludes the book by contending that the monotheistic model of faith presented by Abraham was actually a model of disobedience.
About the Author
Omri Boehm is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, USA.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Jack Miles
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Preliminary Methodological Considerations
Chapter 3: Abraham: A Model of Obedience?
Chapter 4: The Original Abraham Story: Abraham's Disobedience
Chapter 5: Abraham's Ethical Protest: The Trial of Sodom
Chapter 6: Abraham's Jourbaney to the Land of Moriah
Chapter 7: The Religious Significance of the Akedah
Chapter 8: "The Prevention of Sacrifice": Ibn Caspi's Interpretation
Chapter 9: Maimonides on the True Nature of Prophecy
Chapter 10: Between Job and Abraham
Chapter 11: On Fearing God without Being Afraid of Him: From Kierkegaard to Kant
Chapter 12: A Religious Model of Disobedience