A literary examination of a passage will seek to answer several questions. What is the literary form used, significant themes and ideas, author assumptions, and imagery, dramatic effects or other devices used to convey the message of the passage. Genesis 22 has been widely studied, and it is accepted that his passage is in the form of a story.
There are many literary styles evident in the book of Genesis, as with the entire Old Testament. Moses is generally accepted to be the author of the book of Genesis, but modern scholars generally agree that the book is a composite of at least three different literary strands: 10th century, 9th century, and 5th century. One of the main literary controversies is that it has been difficult to distinguish historical fact from symbolic narration intended to convey a religious message. (Roberts, 1990) Genesis 22 1-19 is the narrative, or recital, of an even in the life of Abraham. This type of passage is a story, and can relate events that are either real or fiction. As believers of God, we accept the story of Abraham to be true. Themes of faith and obedience are obvious and emphasized throughout the journey of Abraham in this passage which is filled with imagery of the dreadful journey Abraham had undertaken to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
The story of Abraham’s test as told in this passage is complete. As with any good literary story it has a beginning, middle, and ending. It could be a passage in a larger book, or told alone to demonstrate love, devotion, and faith, as it often is. It is accepted that this was only a test for Abraham, and that God wouldn’t have allowed Abraham to actually sacrifice his son. Leviticus 18:21 states “you must not give any of your children as offering….”, as in Deuteronomy 12:31 “you must not worship the Lord your God, in the way they do”. It is clear that God does not support child sacrifice.
As the story continues, specific imagery is created in the telling of the...
References: Deffinbaugh, D. (1997) The Book of Genesis, Retrieved June 11, 2008 from http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=101
Roberts, J J M (2007, October) Book of Genesis, Retrieved June 12, 2008 from
Arnold, B., Beyer, B. (1998) Encountering the Old Testament, London: Angus Hudson ltd.,
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