Divine beings who are opposed to God and God’s people in Second Temple Jewish literature are often interpreted shallowly in comparison to other figures in their respective stories (e.g., they can be subsumed under the equivocal term “evil,” interpreted as a means for vindictive communities to demonize others, or seen as an imposition by “foreign” ideologies). In this essay, I argue that these figures more often play a crucial and nuanced role to develop and compare “therapeutic” answers to difficult theological questions such as the nature of suffering, the extent of human moral agency, and the rewards of resilience. I explore these issues through examining the wide range of oppositional divine figures who appear in receptions of the Aqedah (Genesis 22) in Second Temple Jewish and rabbinic texts. Literature discussed includes the Jubilees tradition, Pseudo-Philo, LAB 32, Genesis Rabbah 55–56, b. Sanh. 89b, and Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer 31.


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pp. 373-389
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