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135 Notes Introduction 1. Abraham’s name was originally Abram, and only became Abraham after he entered into the covenant with God. For the sake of clarity, however, the patriarch is referred to as Abraham, regardless of the stage of the patriarch’s life under discussion. 2. I am grateful to my colleague Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with whom I have discussed the power of these images in Jewish life. 3. See, for example, Niebuhr, Christ and Culture . 4. Aryeh Tepper, “The Pale God,” Jewish Ideas Daily, February 3, 2012 ( main-feature/1/the-pale-god) (accessed February 3, 2012). 5. Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic. 6. David Stern, “Midrash and the Language of Exegesis: A Study of Vayikra Rabbah, Chapter 1,” in Hartman and Budick, Midrash and Literature, 105. 7. Michael Fishbane, “Inner Biblical Exegesis: Types and Strategies of Interpretation in Ancient Israel,” in Hartman and Budick, Midrash and Literature, 19. 8. Midrash, Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer, chap. 26. 9. Strandberg, Greek Mind/Jewish Soul, 22. 10. Heschel, The Prophets, 12. 11. Margaret R. Miles, “Image,” in Mark C. Taylor, ed., Critical Terms for Religious Studies, 65. 12. Newman, Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements, 614. 13. Q’uran, Sura 21:51–71. 14. Renard, All the King’s Falcons, 47. 136 NOTES 15. Kass, The Beginning of Wisdom, 13. 16. I am grateful to my colleague Rabbi Dow Marmur of Jerusalem and Toronto for first expressing this idea. 17. Abraham Joshua Heschel, “No Time for Neutrality,” in S. Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, 265. 18. Bakan, Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Imagination, 134–36. 19. Pearl, I Am Jewish, 66. 20. Hauerwas and Willimon, Resident Aliens, 18. 21. See, for example: Halbertal and Margalit, Idolatry; Seeskin, No Other Gods; and Ellenbogen and Tugenhaft, Idol Anxiety. 22. Amichai, Open Closed Open, 46. 1. Out of Ur 1. Heschel, What Is Man?, 13. 2. Littell, The Crucifixion of the Jews, 19. 3. Gordis, “The Tower of Babel and the Birth of Nationhood.” 4. But perhaps the name Eber is derived from Ivri, rather than vice versa, while others suggest that the term refers to the region known as ever hanahar (“beyond the river [Euphrates]”; Josh. 24:2; cf. Num. 24:24). Tigay, “Eber,” 85 (accessed August 23, 2011). 5. See, especially, Midrash, Bereshit Rabbah 63:10, which imagines Jacob studying in that academy; and Bereshit Rabbah 85:12, which states that the academy of Shem and Eber was one of the places where God was revealed. The rabbinic tradition assumes and expands upon the moral righteousness of Shem and Eber. Compare to Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, 7:434. 6. Neher, The Exile of the Word, 118. 7. The city’s designation in Genesis as Ur Kasdim, Ur of the Chaldees, is anachronistic. The Chaldeans inhabited Ur at the same time that the biblical texts evolved (approximately the seventh and sixth centuries BCE), so the identification of Ur as Ur of the Chaldees is intended to provide a contemporary geographical reference point for the benefit of the first people to hear these stories. 8. Orlinsky, Ancient Israel, 16. 9. Charles Leonard Woolley, Ur of the Chaldees, 27, quoted in Rejwan, The Jews of Iraq, 4. 10. Rosenberg, Abraham. NOTES 137 11. Knohl, “The Emergence of Jewish Peoplehood from a Biblical Perspective.” 12. Elazar, “A Biblical View of the City and the Walls within It.” 13. Midrash, Bereshit Rabbah 42:8. 14. Stollman, The Far Euphrates, 163. 2. Abraham the Iconoclast 1. Halkin, “King James: The Harold Bloom Version,” 13. 2. Other versions, particularly the medieval text Maaseh Avraham Avinu Alav HaShalom, imagine that Abraham was catapulted into the fire. Compare to Mehlman, “The Maaseh Avraham Avinu Alav HaShalom.” 3. Knohl, “The Emergence of Jewish Peoplehood from a Biblical Perspective.” 4. Kaufmann, The Religion of Israel: From Its Beginnings to the Babylonian Exile, 221–22. 5. As many scholars, including Kaufmann, have noted, there seemed to have been several phases in the historical shift from polytheism to monotheism. Included in that process is the notion of henotheism , which essentially states that “while there might be other gods, the god that my tribe worships happens to be the best.” In another context, Robert Wright calls this idea “monolatry.” Compare to Wright, The Evolution of God, 131. 6. Delmore Schwartz, “Abraham,” in Schwartz and Rudolf, Voices Within the Ark, 630–31. 7. Fowler, Stages of Faith, 151. In fact...


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