International conference: Abraham's Trials: Obedience and Rebellion 18-19 December 2014 University of Antwerp, Belgium
In his recent best-selling book Inheriting Abraham, Jon D. Levenson explored some of the historical and theological dimensions of this central figure in the three main monotheistic religious traditions that are also the focus of the two exhibitions that will be held in Antwerp in the Autumn. On 18 and 19 December 2014 the University of Antwerp plans a two-day conference on the continued relevance of Abraham in theology, philosophy and literature.
The story of Abraham plays a singular role in five different but related major religions: first it was a story about the first Jewish patriarch, occupying the middle portion of the Book of Genesis (Bereshit). While later Jewish writers struggled with the contradictions in the text of Genesis, early Christians like Saint Paul turned the father of all the Jews into the first Christian, interpreting the sacrifice of as a type of the Christ’s death at the Cross. In the Quran he is called Ibrahim, his name appears in 25 suras and he is presented as the perfect monotheist. Islam is even called “millat Ibrahim,” the religion of Ibrahim. In the Bahai faith too, Abraham is an important prophet and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints preserves a “Book of Abraham” among its sacred scriptures. Jews see themselves as the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, the son he was willing to sacrifice. And at the same time, many Arabs believe they are the direct descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s other son.
More recently, the stories about Abraham have become the focus of theological and philosophical scrutiny, beginning with Immanuel Kant’s ethical dismissal and the more complicated reactions in Kierkegaard’s in Fear and Trembling, to feminist reinterpretations and Derrida’s late work. Given the religious and even ethnic prominence of the figure of Abraham, it is no wonder that he plays such an important part in the art and literature in many parts of the world, from Paradise Lost to paintings by Rembrandt and Caravaggio. More recently, elements of the Abraham story have featured in the work of contemporary authors like Yehudah Amichai and Salman Rushdie.
We invite 300 word proposals for papers on all of these topics by 13 April 2014 at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Institute of Jewish Studies
University of Antwerp
Mr. Jan Morrens
Prinsstraat 13, L. 400
Phone: +32 3 265 52 43
Fax: +32 3 265 52 41 Email: email@example.com Visit the website at http://www.uantwerpen.be/ijs
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