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

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

James Goodman. Schocken, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4253-9

For centuries, theologians, philosophers, and others have struggled with the 19 lines of Genesis 22 that Jews call the binding of Isaac and Christians refer to as the sacrifice of Isaac. No one has found a definitive answer to the questions of why Abraham was so ready to follow God’s command that he kill his son or why Isaac agreed to be bound on the altar. Unlike other analysts, Goodman is a historian and a writer. Accordingly, his book focuses on the chronicle of the story, beginning with when and by whom it was written. He proceeds to analyze the explanations that have been given by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others, including contemporary interpretations. Obviously fascinated by the story, Goodman demonstrates great prudence in not offering his explanation but in asserting that the story has many meanings. This refreshing restraint along with the author’s writing skills make his contribution an important addition to the libraries of commentaries about Abraham and Isaac that vainly strive to explain what is ultimately unfathomable. Agent: Anne Edelstein, Anne Edelstein Literary Agency. (Sept.)