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The Unbinding of Isaac

A Phenomenological Midrash of Genesis 22

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Stephen J. Stern

In The Unbinding of Isaac, Stephen J. Stern upends traditional understandings of this controversial narrative through a phenomenological midrash or interpretation of Genesis 22 from the Dialogic and Jewish philosophies of Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and, most notably, Emmanuel Levinas. With great originality, Dr. Stern intersects Jewish studies, Biblical studies, and philosophy in a literary/midrashic style that challenges traditional Western philosophical epistemology. Through the biblical narrative of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebecca, Dr. Stern explains that Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas Judaically exercise and offer an alternative epistemic orientation to the study of ethics than that of traditional Western or Hellenic-Christian philosophy. The Unbinding of Isaac makes the works of these three thinkers accessible to those outside philosophy and Jewish studies while also introducing readers to the playfulness of how Jewish tradition midrashically addresses the Bible.

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Notes 101

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Notes Chapter I 1 Martin Buber, The Way of Response (New York: Schocken Books, 1966), p. 81. 2 Franz Rosenzweig, Understanding the Sick and the Healthy (Cambridge: Harvard Uni- versity Press, 1999), p. 42. 3 Emmanuel Levinas, Otherwise than Being, or Beyond Essence, trans. by Alphonso Lingis (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1981), p. 135. 4 When the label “the philosopher” is used, it is used to describe many traditional Hel- lenic-Philosophers, not all philosophers philosophizing in the Hellenic-tradition. 5 Franz Rosenzweig, Letter to Rudolph Ehrenberg , presented by Nahum N. Glatzer in Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought(New York: Schocken Books, 1953), pp. 24-25. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid., p. 28. 8 Ibid., p. 29. 9 Franz Rosenzweig, The Personal Standpoint, presented by Nahum N. Glatzer in Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought(New York: Schocken Books, 1953), p. 179. 10 Nahum N. Glatzer, Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought(New York: Schocken Books, 1953), p. 71. 11 Franz Rosenzweig, The Star of Redemption (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 1985), p. 3. 12 Franz Rosenzweig, Letter to Frederick Meinke, presented in Hilary Putnam’s introduc- tion to Franz Rosenzweig’s, Understanding the Sick and the Healthy (Cambridge: Har- vard University Press, 1999), p. 13. 13 Nahum N. Glatzer, Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought(New York: Schocken Books, 1953), p. 110. 14 Ibid., p.140. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid., p. xiv. 17 Franz Rosenzweig, Understanding the Sick and the Healthy (Cambridge: Harvard Uni- versity Press, 1999), p. 41. 18 Franz Rosenzweig The Star...

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