Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Abraham and Isaac

  • Anais N. SpitzerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_3

The pivotal story of the Akedah (the “binding” of Isaac) occurs in Genesis 22 wherein God commands Abraham to sacrifice his long-awaited and only son with his wife, Sarah. This divine dictum is considered a test, since at the last minute when Abraham draws the knife to kill Isaac, God sends an angel to stay the sacrifice, and a ram is substituted in place of his son. God rewards Abraham for not withholding his only son from God and therefore passing the test and promises Abraham numerous offspring, guaranteeing Abraham that he will be the “father of nations” blessed by God. It is Abraham’s absolute faith in God that makes him willing to sacrifice Isaac, and it is precisely this strict obedience that renews Abraham’s covenant with God and, in turn, God’s covenant with the patriarch, Abraham (which begins with God’s first call to Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3) and his subsequent generations. The Akedahconstitutes the foundation of the three monotheistic (also called Abrahamic) traditions:...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesHollins UniversityRoanokeUSA