Hebrew Bible

Jon Levenson, Albert List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School, has a new book out in which he questions the concept of “Abrahamic Religions,” in other words, that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are united in the common ancestor of Abraham. In Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of Abraham in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Levenson demonstrates that each of these religions view Abraham in different ways and have different traditions associated with him. I thought I would post several resources that relate to the publication of this significant book:

First, Jewish Ideas Daily published an interview with Levenson concerning Inheriting Abraham.

Second, reviews of Inheriting Abraham include Walter Brueggemann‘s in The Christian Century, Peter Monaghan‘s in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Martin Jaffee‘s in The Jewish Review of Books.

And, here is a lecture that Levenson gave at the University of California Santa Barbara in which he addresses this topic. Professor Levenson was kind enough to send me an electronic version of the handout that he used for this address which will make it much easier to follow along with the texts that he cites. Dr. Levenson pointed out that his views are now more refined and nuanced since this lecture (which was given in 2006) but it is still a very good summary of his take on this topic. Enjoy.

Handout: Levenson–Conversion of Abraham Handout

Instead of trying to classify, we may fare better if we consider how the genre or genres used by an author create potentials for meaning and influence how we read a text…Instead of asking ‘What genre is this text?’–a question that locks us into one genre or another–we should ask ‘How does genre shape this text?’–a question that allows for multiple influences.

–Angela Roskop, The Wilderness Itineraries (Eisenbrauns, 2011), 28.

I’m re-reading Angie’s treatment of genre for the third time. Good books are like that; you keep coming back to them and each reading is more profitable than the last. If you are interested in genre, reading, and/or biblical studies then you need this book in your library.