A Contemporary Midrash: Saramago’s Re-telling of the “Sacrifice of Isaac”

  • Federico Dal Bo


The chapter addresses Saramago’s re-telling of the Biblical “Sacrifice of Isaac” in his 2009 novel Cain on account of both its narratological and philosophical implications. Consequently, the theological-metaphysical Biblical events shall not be conceived as the progressive fulfillment of divine premises but rather the convulsed history of humans, who are struggling with and against a “lower-case God”—irrational and unpredictable. I show how Saramago has filled some narratological blanks the Biblical “Sacrifice of Isaac” suffers from, comparing his text with another one: the Jewish midrash of this very Biblical passage. I maintain that Saramago intends to tell the story of the “Sacrifice of Isaac” from the perspective neither of the perpetrators (God and Abraham) nor of the victim (Isaac)—rather from the perspective of humanity.


José Saramago Sacrifice of Isaac Jewish midrash Rereading of the Bible 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federico Dal Bo
    • 1
  1. 1.Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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