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Willing Obedience with Doubts: Abraham at the Binding of Isaac

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Among biblical commentators and scholars, the accepted view of Abraham in the story of the Binding of Isaac is of a one-dimensional, almost superhuman figure whose entire consciousness, on the way to sacrifice his son, is focused solely on fulfilling the Divine will. According to this view there is no textual evidence of any deliberation or hesitation in Abraham’s mind, and he is to be viewed as praiseworthy for fulfilling God’s will without any doubt or misgiving.

In contrast to this prevailing opinion, I attempt to show that the biblical narrator uses various literary devices to hint to the qualms that plague Abraham on his journey. Although he gives no voice to his apprehensiveness, it may be uncovered through a careful and attentive reading of the text, exposing Abraham’s inner world.

Affiliations: 1: Bar-Ilan University


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