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Abraham and his Son

The story of a story

James Goodman

Abraham and his Son by James Goodman

I didn't think he'd do it. I really didn't think he would. I thought he'd say, whoa, hold on, wait a minute. We made a deal, remember, the land, the blessing, the nation, the descendants as numerous as the sands on the shore and the stars in the sky. A mere nineteen lines in the book of Genesis, it rests at the heart of the history, literature, theology and sacred rituals of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Writing from the vantage of a reader, a son, a Jew, a father, a sceptic, a historian, a lover of stories and a writer, Goodman gives us an enthralling narrative that moves from its biblical origins to the cultures and faiths of our time. He introduces us to the commentary of Second Temple sages, rabbis and priests of the late antiquity, and early Islamic scholars. He examines Syriac hymns, Hebrew chronicles of the First Crusade, and medieval English mystery plays. He looks at the art of Europe s golden age, and the panoply of twentieth-century interpretation, including the work of Bob Dylan, Elie Wiesel, and A. B. Yehoshua. In illuminating how so many others have understood this tale, Goodman tells a gripping and provocative story of his own.

RRP: £16.99
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781910124154
Publication Date: 19/02/2015
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James Goodman
James Goodman is a professor at Rutgers University, Newark, where he teaches History and Creative Writing. He is the author of essays, short stories, and two previous books and the...


‘Erudite, intellectually playful exploration of a prophet's readiness to sacrifice his son and how the story has been understood – and misunderstood – over three millennia by three religions. It could have been dull; it is far from it.’

Scottish Review

‘Most engaging, a labour of love.’

Rabbi Julia Neuberger

‘A feast of anecdotes, I have been both learnt and been entertained.’

Qaisra Sharaz, author of The Holy Woman

‘Absorbing and moving.’

Finlay Macdonald, author of Luke Paul

‘Exhaustive yet so entertaining.’

Ian Wilson, author of The Turin Shroud