Hebrew Bible (Lecture 4) The book of Job
Comparison of literacy technique between Homer’s Odyssey, and Genesis
o Different realities to express the purpose of the text
o West; read narrative of classical ideas, difficult to view the holy text as work
Genesis is similar to Odysseus’ scar, more contrast?
o Homer’s Odyssey: ‘externalized, uniformly presented phenomena, connected together
without gaps in a perpetual foreground; thoughts and feelings completely expressed’
o Odysseus’ scar is similar; the scar has an in-depth story of rich detail
o Genesis; leaves out the circumstantial details, deals with gaps since it deals with the
most important points
o Entirely about surface
o Genesis: ‘the externalization of only so much of the phenomena as is necessary for the
purpose of the narrative, all else left in obscurity; thoughts and feelings remain
unexpressed, re only suggested by the silence and the fragmentary speeches; the whole,
permeated with the most unrelieved suspense and directed toward a single goal,
remains mysterious and ‘fraught with background’
Erich Auerbach, “Odysseus’s Scar”
Implication that it’s the readers work to get the story, to fill in the holes
o Odyssey; realism. Genesis lied behind modern ideas of realism too, in characterization,
that character is multi layered.
o The bible, genesis, was a new form of reading.
The binding of Isaac
Chapter 22 of Genesis: “after these things...”
Abraham is fully prepared to kill Isaac; it was only a test but it was to show his willingness to God
The main message of the text: one should be willing to follow god’s commands, even to the
excess of killing ones child.
o To some readers, it is an unthinkable
Evidence from the text that the story isn’t that indepth, that the story isn’t to intense
The binding (Akedah) of Isaac
o Story (re-ordering): “Abraham!”
o “Here I am.”
o Take your son,
Your only son,
The one you love,
o Syntax of Gods commands: He has to sacrifice even more. He had already left home, but
now he has to sacrifice god’s promise of offspring
o In the spaces of the pauses, there implies a conversation between God’s and Abraham’s
God says take your son, and Abraham knows something is bad so he attempts to
defer God’s choice of son. He asks which son. God asks your only son. Abraham
says he has two sons though, both his only son to one life. God says the one you
love, Abraham says but I love both sons. In the end, God simply says Isaac Show’s Abraham’s want for his son, his love for Isaac
There is an entire conversation between the lines, even more story from
o Isaac’s perspective
o What is Isaac’s perspective? The son that is to be sacrificed. The story is unfolded to not
only to Abraham, but also in a way to Isaac.
Abraham took the wood ofthe burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he
himself carried the Fire and the knife.
So the Two of them walked on Together.
Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son”
He said, “the fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt
Abraham said, “God himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering, my son”
So the two of them walked on together
This shows a togetherness of Abraham and His son, ‘they walk together’
o God himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering, my son
Is Abraham lying to his son? Is he blatantly lying to his only son
Or, does Abraham truly believe that God will provide in the end, that god could
not make him do this