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The Akedah In The First Century Of The Common Era

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Chapter Summary

The vivid and detailed presentations of the Akedah in rabbinic and targumic literature and the significant attention such literature has received have occasioned considerable misinterpretation of various documents and caused many scholars to see the Akedah as a late development. These aspects are found also in texts that can be reasonably dated to the first century C.E., texts that are roughly contemporaneous with the emergence of earliest Christianity and thus relevant for the Gospel of Matthew, including many works of Philo, Pseudo-Philo's L.A.B., 4 Maccabees, Josephus' Antiquities and 1 Clement. Jubilees presents the connection to Passover, the association with the Temple Mount, heightened apocalyptic and theophanic elements, and soteriological import. 4Q225 presents a willing Isaac, assuming the scholarly consensus regarding the reconstruction of lacuna is correct. Soteriological ramifications are varied, and, on balance, the import of the Akedah for merit, atonement and expiation in most documents remains ambiguous at best.

Keywords: Akedah; apocalyptic; Common Era; Gospel of Matthew; Isaac; Passover; rabbinic; targumic literature; Temple Mount; theophanic elements



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