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Philosophical Interpretations Of The Sacrifice Of Isaac

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Chapter Summary

The account in Genesis 22 of Abraham's offering up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice is a frightening story. Kant makes the interesting statement that Abraham should have replied as follows: "The fact that I should not kill my good son is absolutely certain. But that you who appear to me are God, I am not certain and can never become certain". After Kierkegaard, Jaques Derrida is the only philosopher to publish his reflections on Genesis 22 in a monograph. This chapter focuses on the philosophical line of interpretation of the sacrifice of Isaac narrative, beginning with Kant and then continuing through Kierkegaard, Buber, Levinas, and Derrida. The chapter discusses how Nishida's logic of topos understands God. Surely some will treat this as philosophical speculation in the negative sense and, objecting to deductive interpretation of the text, insist that one reach an understanding of God through inductive interpretation.

Keywords: Abraham; Buber; Derrida; Isaac; Kant; Kierkegaard; Nishida



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