This is an in-depth study of a biblical story that excites curiosity while repelling readers with the thought that Abraham was ready to express his obedience to God by sacrificing his own son. The story of the Akedah, Abraham's binding and near sacrifice of his son, Isaac, is one of the most enigmatic passages of the Bible. Not only a story of Abraham's devotion to God, this biblical episode reflects the classic tension between generations. Louis A. Berman uses his training as a psychologist and his personal experience as a father to craft his intensive inquiry into the Akedah. The Akedah: The Binding of Isaac opens with a careful reading of Genesis 22, taking time to discuss crucial words and phrases. However, an understanding of Genesis 22 hinges not only on knowing the episode itself, but on knowing what surrounds it. Therefore, the reader is systematically acquainted with the biblical context of the story, and with significant biblical concepts that give the story its meaning. The binding of Isaac lends itself to countless interpretations, and chapters of The Akedah are devoted to many of them. The interpretations explored? martyrdom, atonement, the test of obedience, response to disaster, and the sanctity of human life are drawn from a broad range of sources. The multitude of interpretations of the Akedah is part of what makes the event so accessible to a diverse number of readers. This is an in-depth study of a biblical story that excites curiosity while repelling readers with the thought that Abraham was ready to express his obedience to God by sacrificing his own son. Louis A. Berman examines the place of the Akedah story in world mythology, in history, in psychology, in Christian and Islamic thought, in art and music, and in the literature of England, America, and Israel.
Louis Berman, Ph.D., a native of Detroit and University of Michigan joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1957, and worked there as a psychological counselor until his retirement as a Full Professor of Psychology in 1989. During his career at the University, he contributed to the clinical literature and authored a pioneering psychological study of intermarriage: Jews and Intermarriage, A Study in Personality and Culture (1968). Professor Berman's interest in Jewish life led to his authorship, in 1982, of Vegetarianism and the Jewish Tradition. For his synagogue (Beth Emet, Evanston) he authored a Tu biShevat Haggadah (1993, revised 1994), a prayerbook and storybook that has been widely adopted throughout the country. Louis Berman has two grown children and lives in Wilmette, Illinois.