But Where Is the Lamb?: Imag­in­ing the Sto­ry of Abra­ham and Isaac

  • Review
By – May 13, 2013

James Good­man has tak­en nine­teen vers­es from the Book of Gen­e­sis on a near­ly four mil­len­ni­um (give or take) tour through time. And what a long, strange trip it’s been. And won­der­ful, too! He begins by intro­duc­ing us to G” — the name he gave the writer he imag­ines was con­tract­ed to write the sto­ry of the Bind­ing of Isaac, or the Akedah. Actu­al­ly, Good­man imag­ines that G is more of a script doc­tor who has been hired to help the Bib­li­cal author(s) con­nect Abraham’s past and future. G comes up with the Akedah; the authors ask to see the work in progress and fall in love with what G feels is an unfin­ished sto­ry. He is upset that they won’t let him fin­ish it: he isn’t hap­py with how he cast God or Abra­ham. But it is out of his hands. We then fol­low the sto­ry as it is reread and rein­ter­pret­ed through­out the sub­se­quent mil­len­nia, and imag­ine how the author would react to each generation’s take on his sto­ry. We see how each gen­er­a­tion revised” the sto­ry, but nev­er erased the original.

This book is a fas­ci­nat­ing explo­ration of how a text can grow and mean some­thing new when viewed through the dis­tinct lens­es of read­ers in dif­fer­ent times and places. The author intro­duces us to Jew­ish, Roman, Chris­t­ian, and Mus­lim takes on the sto­ry. We see the Akedah through the eyes of believ­ers, exegetes, and philoso­phers. Goodman’s enjoy­able and enrich­ing work is writ­ten in very acces­si­ble lan­guage that speaks to both the lay per­son and the scholar. 

Relat­ed Content:

Read James Good­man’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Ira J. Wise, R.J.E. is a Jew­ish Edu­ca­tor serv­ing Con­gre­ga­tion B’nai Israel in Bridge­port, CT. He con­sults with con­gre­ga­tion­al and day schools on a vari­ety of top­ics includ­ing adapt­ing tech­nol­o­gy into the learn­ing process. He has writ­ten sev­er­al books for reli­gious schools and edu­ca­tors and blogs on Jew­ish edu­ca­tion at http://​nextlevel​jew​ishe​d​u​ca​tion​.blogspot​.com/.

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