The “binding” of Isaac

 

Caravaggio, “The Sacrifice of Isaac”

 

Today was one of the rare times during the past decade or  more — there’ve been a few, but not many — that I’ve been in my home ward’s adult Sunday School class  without teaching it.  So I was able to hear my fellow Gospel Doctrine teacher, for a change.  He’s a talented teacher — a former mission president, and near retirement from teaching at the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to Utah Valley University.

 

He showed a short (thirteen minute) LDS film about the akedah, Abraham’s “binding” or near-sacrifice of Isaac, that I hadn’t seen before.  My wife, who has a degree in theater, thought it was a bit too understated, but I found it more affecting than I had expected.  Here’s a link to it.  If you haven’t seen it before — or even if you have — it’s worth a watch:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEwxLO-Z29c

 

 

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  • rockyrd

    Excellent. Thank you.

  • Richard Cobbledick

    Dan, interesting video.

    I read a book called “Abraham on Trial” a few years ago. It was an interesting read and it raised several questions about the foundations of the world’s three major monotheistic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    The author describes in poignant terms, children being murdered and sacrificed in the name of God. It’s interesting that Abraham argued and pleaded with God to try to save a few good men in Sodom and Gomorrah, but didn’t do anything to try to save his son?

    The author’s point is that western religious traditions have willingly devalued women and children and gave that same devaluation divine sanction. The author feels it’s time, to re-examine the legacy of any faith which denies voice, value and protection to women and children.

    I do wonder about how much better our faith and our society might be if protection of the child rather than sacrifice had been the story at the foundation of our faith.

    In any event, it’s an interesting read.

    • http://kgbudge.com kgbudge

      It’s a shame God didn’t think of that. Too bad you weren’t around four millennia ago to set Him straight.

      • Richard Cobbledick

        I certainly wouldn’t set God “straight” if I were around 4 millennia ago. My post was about an interesting book dealing with Abraham. You should read it.

        It’s interesting and thought provoking, regardless of your religious leanings.

    • Ryan

      When you say “voice, value, and protection” do you include the unborn?

      • Richard Cobbledick

        Good question. I don’t know what the author’s position on “the unborn” is, or if that was even included in her analysis. You should read the book. It’s an interesting read.

        If you’re asking me, I’m completely against abortion.

    • Mike

      Yeah, what is with this whole sacrifice and atonement thing anyway? I know, let’s tell God how to run things. Let him know that we have a better plan. I have heard that works well.

      By the way, how do you know that Abraham did not try to do anything to save his son? The Book of Genesis covers over a thousand years and you think that we have a complete understanding of what he may, or may not, have done?

      I am not sure where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has said anything about devaluing children. I do seem to recall Him saying something about a millstone and a neck. However, when culture, social pressure, and the philosophies of man tend to get mingled in, it seems that things can go awry. Typically it is those great progressive ideas of man (abortion is the easiest example) that tend to devalue young life more than the story of Abraham and Isaac.

      • Richard Cobbledick

        Mike wrote: “By the way, how do you know that Abraham did not try to do anything to save his son? The Book of Genesis covers over a thousand years and you think that we have a complete understanding of what he may, or may not, have done?”

        I don’t know. I can only go on what’s in the scriptures, or if my Prophet speaks on the matter.

        Mike wrote: “I am not sure where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has said anything about devaluing children.”

        I never said it did. Where did you get that from?

        You should read the book, Mike.

        • Mike

          I think that I got it when this statement:

          “The author feels it’s time, to re-examine the legacy of any faith which denies voice, value and protection to women and children.”

          is followed directly by this statement:

          “I do wonder about how much better our faith and our society might be if protection of the child rather than sacrifice had been the story at the foundation of our faith.”

          It seemed a very linear correlation. You implied that the protection of children was not at the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (at least that is what I assume you mean by “our faith”) and I showed where it is clearly part of the foundational tenets according to His word.

    • Louis Midgley

      I have been wondering how much better Professor Peterson’s blog would be without Mr. Lesnar posting up a storm and thereby diverting attention from what the thread might otherwise have been.

      • http://kgbudge.com kgbudge

        For whatever reason, Dan does seem to attract commenters anxious to change the subject.

      • Scott Benson

        Louis Midgley wrote: “I have been wondering how much better Professor Peterson’s blog would be without Mr. Lesnar posting up a storm and thereby diverting attention from what the thread might otherwise have been.”

        I don’t know, but all this back-and-forth kind of reminds me of how it was when I was growing up with older brothers. They would tease me and I would invariably get upset and yell to my folks that so-and-so was picking on me. My wise father would simply call back to me that if I just didn’t react to it, then whoever it was who was teasing me would soon get bored and leave me alone. Dad was right.

  • RaymondSwenson

    The Book of Abraham makes the Akedah even more heart wrenching because we learn that Abraham’s own father was willing to have young Abram sacrificed to the gods of the Egyptians who at the time held hegemony over their home, probably in the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. God’s angel intervenes and save’s Abram’s life. While that is not in Genesis, it is a narrative that is found in many other ancient texts from Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources, affirming that the Book of Abraham belongs to the family of ancient literature about Abraham. By the time the command comes from God to Abraham, Abraham has already proven himself, and proven God, several times, including in the episodes of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah, and of the miraculous birth of Isaac. Abraham knows the voice of the Lord well, and trusts God’s promise that Isaac will be the son through whom God will fulfill his promise to give Abraham innumerable descendants like the stars in the sky. Abraham was not going to sacrifice Isaac in order to get something from God; rather, Isaac was everything that Abraham had sought for from God. And Isaac was not a child, but a young man who could have overpowered his centenarian father, who had no assistants on hand to help him bind Isaac. Trying to call the Akedah an instance of child abuse totally misunderstands what happened, and who the participants were.

  • peredehuit

    I like the video. Unfortunately the episode in the PoGP where Abraham was almost sacrificed didn’t make into video making the depth of Abraham’s belief and obedience truly astounding.


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