Facing the End of History: The Akedah under the Shadow of Empire

Danna Nolan Fewell


The Akedah is one of the Bible’s most haunting and haunted stories. Its silences, secrets, and contradictions lend it a powerful elasticity to do all sorts of difficult, painful, cultural work even millennia after its production. This investigation attempts, in the words of literary philosopher Pierre Macherey, “to trace the path which leads from the haunted work to that which haunts it” (1978, 94). Positioning the story amidst the economic, political, and cultic pressures of the post-exilic period, this discussion explores how the divine demand to sacrifice Isaac and the subsequent divine intervention and promise of ascendancy reflect an anxious communal exploration of the imperial and cultic demands that threaten the end of family and cultural history.

Full Text:


Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391