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Caught in a Bind: Experiencing the Akedah

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The story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen 22:1-19), which is known in Jewish tradition as the Akedah (from the Hebrew ‘to bind’), is one of the most troubling stories in the Bible. It is a story that has engaged theologians (such as Augustine), philosophers (such as Kierkegaard) and artists (such as Caravaggio), to name a few. In the year of the World Meeting of Families, there will be much attention on what the Bible says about family. While the Gospels are likely to garner much of the attention, it important that a text as challenging as the Akedah is not wholly ignored. Although the Akedah is a demanding text, it is, ultimately, a text about family.

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