Holy Murder: Abraham, Isaac, and the Rhetoric of Sacrifice

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This volume examines one of the most controversial stories in the Bible—the akedah, or sacrifice of Isaac recounted in the 22nd chapter of Genesis. Today, more than three thousand years later, the story continues to evoke controversy. It has had an impact on Judaism, Christianity and Islam—each clinging to different interpretations. Even among adherents of a common faith, interpretations of the passage differ to such extremes that it can be used to justify unthinkable behavior ranging from infanticide, mass murder, and suicide bombings. Abraham's actions have generated a sacrificial rhetoric that continues to exert a powerful influence on modern society. The rhetoric of sacrifice was born when the first person used the story of akedah to inspire another to sacrifice willingly on their behalf. Since then, a multitude of religious leaders and religious imposters have used the rhetoric of sacrifice to do their bidding. The akedah has proven itself as a tool that placed in the wrong hands can be used to commit unthinkable acts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761835783
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 11/8/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 202
  • Sales rank: 1,563,489
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Powell is Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. William R. Self is Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 An Orientation Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 The Story—Verse by Verse Chapter 4 Abraham the Patriarch Part 5 Sources of Conflict Chapter 6 Abraham's Relationship with God Chapter 7 Different Religions, Different Views Chapter 8 The Legacy of Location Chapter 9 Sacrifice Chapter 10 The Story of Jephthah's Daughter Chapter 11 The Problem of Evil Part 12 Theological Questions Chapter 13 A Question of Time Chapter 14 A Test of Obedience Chapter 15 The Role of Faith Chapter 16 Life After Death Part 17 Conclusions Chapter 18 The Impact Chapter 19 The Rhetoric of Sacrifices Part 20 References Part 21 Index

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