Dialogue on Genesis: Week 3

Abraham’s Sacrifice  by Adi Holzer (Hand colored etching, 1997) 

Abraham’s Sacrifice by Adi Holzer (Hand colored etching, 1997) 

Following along with the summer's lectionary texts, we enter into a particularly difficult passage of scripture this week in Genesis 22. Rev. Williams and Dr. Levison candidly discuss the raw emotion and anguish of this account where God puts before Abraham a test, telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac, whom he loves.

There are no easy answers here. Dr. Levison encourages us, the readers, not to rush to the end too soon and reassure ourselves that God halts the sacrifice of Isaac. He also recommends for us not to try to find "the moral of the story" and tie everything up neatly. In this complex passage (as so much of scripture so often is) there is simply not a way to fully understand it, yet we still engage it together.


  • Watch the sermon by SMU professor, Dr. Roy Heller, who preaches about how Abraham failed the test God gave him--it wasn't a matter of obedience but of compassion and mercy
  • Find out more about the bookThe Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter