Bound by the Bible: Jews, Christians and the Sacrifice of by Edward Kessler

By Edward Kessler

Some of the most famous tales within the Bible is the account of the way Abraham's religion in God used to be validated by way of a willingness to sacrifice his long-awaited son at God's command. This tale has been a resource of fascination for Jews and Christians over many centuries, and Edward Kessler bargains an engrossing account in their interpretations. Explaining that neither the tale nor its interpretations will be understood independently, this e-book makes a precious contribution to bible study.

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As a result of the lack of written evidence during the period under examination, I have analysed texts dated to approximately the tenth century CE. The problem is illustrated by the rabbinic dictum that ‘those who write down blessings are like those who burn the Torah’,81 and it is unsurprising to learn that the first Jewish prayerbook, Seder Amram Gaon, was only written in the ninth century. The oral liturgical tradition lasted longer than other oral genres, which were written down later. One of the consequences of the stress on the oral tradition is that new prayers, particularly piyyutim (Jewish religious poetry), flourished.

Example The adoption by Melito of Jewish liturgy in Peri Pascha illustrates this criterion. Melito’s Easter homily exhibits a number of parallels with the Jewish Haggadah story, which is recounted at Passover and appropriates some of its features. 70 Although Melito’s homily is influenced by Jewish liturgical practice in late second-century Sardis, he denied vehemently that there was any value to the Jewish celebration of Passover. 71 68 70 71 69 Visotzky 1995:12–17. Barn. 2–7 Lake. Cf. Carleton Paget 1994.

Jon Levenson, in one of the latest scholarly works to examine the issue of early versus late dating, argues that the biblical story influenced Christianity in terms not of atonement, but of supercessionism. The church’s claim that it superseded Judaism was partly based upon its interpretation of the blessing 92 95 98 93 Le D´ 94 Vermes 1996:140–6. See below, vv. 6 to 8. Vermes 1961. eaut 1961. 96 Hayward 1981:149. 97 Van Buren 1998:48 Davies and Chilton 1978:515. Segal 1984:179 and 1996:110. 36 Introduction Abraham receives at the end of the story.

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