This essay plays with tradition and innovation. It interprets Genesis 22 in context, as it appears and as it subverts appearances.!
Traditionally, two topics identifY the story: the sacrifice or binding (Akedah) of Isaac and the testing or trial of Abraham. The first focuses on the son as object and potential victim of a divine command; the second on the father as subject and potential perpetrator of the command. These topics provide the common ground upon which author and reader stand. 2 We proceed, then, from familiar terrain. But our subtitle indicates a movement into unknown territory: "The Sacrifice of Sarah" yields surprise, elicits puzzlement, and builds suspense. Innovation separates reader from author because it indicates that the latter knows what the former does not. Near the end we regain parity, only to face another challenge.