ACADEMIA

Reviews on Resources for Biblical and Theological Studies

Delaney. ABRAHAM ON TRIAL (2000)

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Jun• 15•08

Delaney, Carol. Abraham on Trial(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 334 pages ISBN: 0691070504.

In her book- Abraham on trial, the author provides an originally refreshing perspective to the age old myth of Abraham and Isaac- the ultimate model of faith, one on which many have based their lives for generations.
In her book- Abraham on trial, the author provides an originally refreshing perspective to the age old myth of Abraham and Isaac- the ultimate model of faith, one on which many have based their lives for generations.
The book revolves around three main questions and seeks to answer the same. They are; why is the willingness to sacrifice one’s child the quintessential model of faith? Why not the protectiveness of the child? What would be the shape of the society had that been the supreme model of faith?

In a noble attempt to add a different dimension to the story the author challenges the very cornerstone of three major religion s of the world namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam by boldly presenting the negative impact of the story on the society of today when taken out of context of its own culture.

This book endeavors to sketch some of the connections between the patriarchal power as epitomized in the Abraham story and ways in which children are sacrificed today for example through physical and sexual abuse, poverty, war etc. Not to say that the story of the story of Abraham is responsible for these contemporary issues but rather the book tries to show its influence on our times, though subtle yet relevant, by illuminating some of the gross assumptions made within the story that make the story possible such as Patriarchy from which flows the concept of patrilineage and the moral justifiability of the practice of child sacrifice even in the days of Abraham.

The ultimate aim of the book in my opinion and from what seems obvious is not to down play the theological significance of the story nor put it on a pedestal where it does not belong but rather to put it in perspective in the context/wake of our times and so hint the need for a new moral vision, a new myth to live by and a new revolution in values.

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