donderdag 29 september 2016

The Binding of Isaac

"The Binding of Isaac (Hebrew: ,(עֲקֵידַת יצִחְַק) also known as 'The Binding' ( הָעֲקֵידָה ) and the Akedah or Aqedah, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Moriah. The account states that Abraham "bound Isaac, his son" before placing him on the altar.

Adriaen Collaert (prent) naar Maerten de Vos, uitgever  Gerard de Jode, Offer van Isaak,
Geschiedenis van Abraham (serietitel), 1585,  plaatrand: h 201 mm × b 260 mm

According to the Hebrew Bible, God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice [Gen 22:2-8]. After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying "now I know you fear God." At this point, Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bushes and sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.
The Book of Genesis does not tell the age of Isaac at the time. The Talmudic sages teach that Isaac was thirty-seven, likely based on the next biblical story, which is of Sarah's death at 127 [Genesis 23:1], being 90 when Isaac was born [Genesis 17:17, 21].
Genesis 22:14 states that the event occurred at 'the mount of the LORD'. The Books of Chronicles 3:1; Psalms 24:3; Book of Isaiah 2:3 & 30:29; and Book of Zechariah 8:3, identify the location of this event as the hill on which Solomon was said to later build the Temple, now believed to be the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. [...]

Jewish views

Rabbi Yosef Ibn Caspi (Spain, early 14th century) wrote that Abraham's "imagination" led him astray, making him believe that he had been commanded to sacrifice his son. [...]
In The Binding of Isaac, Religious Murders & Kabbalah, Lippman Bodoff argues that Abraham never intended to actually sacrifice his son, and that he had faith that God had no intention that he do so.
Rabbi Ari Kahn (on the Orthodox Union website) elaborates this view as follows: Isaac's death was never a possibility — not as far as Abraham was concerned, and not as far as God was concerned. God’s commandment to Abraham was very specific, and Abraham understood it very precisely: Isaac was to be "raised up as an offering", and God would use the opportunity to teach humankind, once and for all, that human sacrifice, child sacrifice, is not acceptable. This is precisely how the sages of the Talmud (Taanit 4a) understood the Akeida. Citing the Prophet Jeremiah’s exhortation against child sacrifice (Chapter 19), they state unequivocally that such behavior "never crossed God’s mind", referring specifically to the sacrificial slaughter of Isaac. Though readers of this parashah throughout the generations have been disturbed, even horrified, by the Akeida, there was no miscommunication between God and Abraham. The thought of actually killing Isaac never crossed their minds. [...]
Others suggest that Abraham's apparent complicity with the sacrifice was actually his way of testing God. Abraham had previously argued with God to save lives in Sodom and Gomorrah. By silently complying with God's instructions to kill Isaac, Abraham was putting pressure on God to act in a moral way to preserve life. More evidence that Abraham thought that he would not actually sacrifice Isaac comes from Genesis 22:5, where Abraham said to his servants, "You stay here with the ass. The boy and I will go up there; we will worship and we will return to you." By saying we (as opposed to I), he meant that both he and Isaac would return. Thus, he did not believe that Isaac would be sacrificed in the end. [...]
In The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides argues that the story of the Binding of Isaac contains two "great notions". First, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac demonstrates the limit of humanity's capability to both love and fear God. Second, because Abraham acted on a prophetic vision of what God had asked him to do, the story exemplifies how prophetic revelation has the same truth value as philosophical argument and thus carries equal certainty, notwithstanding the fact that it comes in a dream or vision. [...]
In Glory and Agony: Isaac's Sacrifice and National Narrative, Yael S. Feldman argues that the story of Isaac's Binding, in both its biblical and post-biblical versions (the New Testament included) has had a great impact on the ethos of altruist heroism and self-sacrifice in modern Hebrew national culture. As her study demonstrates, over the last century the "Binding of Isaac" has morphed into the "Sacrifice of Isaac", connoting both the glory and agony of heroic death on the battlefield. [...]

Anon., Het Offer van Abraham, 1501-1600, olieverf op paneel,
118 cm x 87,5 cm, Antwerpen, Maagdenhuismuseum

Christian views

Abraham's faith in God is such that he felt God would be able to resurrect the slain Isaac, in order that his prophecy (Genesis 21:12) might be fulfilled. Early Christian preaching sometimes accepted Jewish interpretations of the binding of Isaac without elaborating. For example, Hippolytus of Rome says in his Commentary on the Song of Songs, "The blessed Isaac became desirous of the anointing and he wished to sacrifice himself for the sake of the world" (On the Song 2:15).
Other Christians from the period saw Isaac as a type of the "Word of God" who prefigured Christ. The majority of Christian Biblical commentators view this episode as prefiguring God's plan to have his own Son, Jesus, die on the cross as a substitute for humanity, much like the ram God provided for Abraham. This fulfilled Abraham's reply to Isaac's question of where was the animal that would be used for the sacrifice; Abraham's affirmation that "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering" is seen as a prophetic foreshadow of the promise of the Lamb of God. Abraham's willingness to give up his own son Isaac is seen, in this view, as foreshadowing the willingness of God the Father to sacrifice his Son; also contrasted is Isaac's submission in the whole ordeal with Christ's, the two choosing to lay down their own lives in order for the will of God to be accomplished, as no struggle is mentioned in the Genesis account. Indeed, both stories portray the participants carrying the wood for their own sacrifice up a mountain. [...]
An alternate interpretation proposes that Calvary was on a section of Mount Moriah, the temple mount, which has subsequently been divided from the main part for the purpose of defending Jerusalem. As such the crucifixion would occur on the same mountain.

Muslim views

In Islamic sources, when Abraham tells his son about the vision, his son accepted to be sacrificed for the fulfillment of God's command, and no binding to the altar occurred. [...]
Abraham saw a vision about sacrificing his son. When he told his son about it, his son agreed to fulfill the command of God in the vision. When they both had submitted their will to God and were ready for the sacrifice, God told Abraham he had fulfilled the vision, and provided him with a ram to sacrifice instead.

Modern research

In the original E version of the Binding Abraham disobeys God’s command, sacrificing the ram "instead of his son" (v.13) on his own responsibility and without being stopped by an angel: "And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son; but Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and beheld, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went, and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son" (v. 10,13)
Abraham's ethical rebellion against God in Sodom [cfr the story of Sodom (Genesis 18), in which Abraham protests against God's unethical plan to destroy the city, without distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked: "Far be it from you to do such a thing.. Shall not the judge of all the earth do what is just?"] culminates in his disobedience to God, refusing to sacrifice Isaac.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou has speculated that it is possible that the story "contains traces of a tradition in which Abraham does sacrifice Isaac.
["It may be that the biblical story contains traces of a tradition in which Abraham does sacrifice Isaac, for in Gen.22:19 Abraham appears to return from the mountain without Isaac".  Francesca Stavrakopoulou, King Manasseh and child sacrifice: biblical distortions of historical realities, 2004, pp. 193–194.]
Richard Elliott Friedman has argued that in the original E story Abraham may have carried out the sacrifice of Isaac, but that later repugnance at the idea of a human sacrifice led the redactor of JE to add the lines in which a ram is substituted for Isaac.
[Richard Elliott Friedman, The Bible With Sources Revealed, 2003 , p. 65.]
Some scholars also point at the genealogical snippet (verses 20-24) as containing a hint to the question whether Abraham sacrificed Isaac or not. First of all, the description of a rash of newborns placed right after the main story suggests the existence of some direct cause-effect connection between the two. [...]  v. 24 begins with an interpretational invitation and continues with the names [Re’umah (ראומה) – "see what"; Tevah (טבח) – "slaughtering" or "slaughtered"; Gaham (גחם) – "flame" or "burning"; Tahash (תחש) – "skin" often used to cover the tabernacle; Ma‘akah (מעכה) – "blown" or "crushed"] which seem to explain the cause of the rash of newborns present at the conclusion of the pericope: somebody had been blown, slaughtered, put on the tabernacle and burned.
[Kosior, Wojciech, ""You Have Not Withheld Your Son, Your Only One from Me". Some Arguments for the Consummated Sacrifice of Abraham", 2013, The Polish Journal of the Arts and Culture. 8 (5/2013): 73–75. Retrieved 16 June 2014.]"
(Wikipedia dd. 29/09/2016)

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie plaatsen

Opmerking: alleen leden van deze blog kunnen een reactie plaatsen.