Abraham, Isaac, and the Toxin: a Kavkan reading of the binding of Isaac

Religious Studies:1-17 (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I argue that the story of God’s commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac can be read as a variant of Kavka’s (1983) Toxin Puzzle. On this reading, Abraham has no reason to kill Isaac, only reason to intend to kill Isaac. On one version of the Kavkan reading, it’s impossible for Abraham, thus situated, to form the intention to kill Isaac. This would make the binding an impossible story: I explore the ethical and theological consequences of reading the story in this way. Finally, I suggest that analytic philosophers may have more to contribute to interpretive projects in philosophical theology than generally practiced.

Similar books and articles

Levinas and the Binding of Isaac.Katharine Loevy - 2012 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (2):407-423.
Can Isaac Forgive Abraham?Mitchell J. Gauvin - 2017 - Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (1):83-103.
Tehilah la-Reʼiyah: zer amarim.Abraham Isaac Kook & Re®Uven Mamu - 1997 - Reḥovot: ha-Mikhlalah ha-datit le-morim Moreshet Yaʻaḳov ʻa. sh. ha-Rav Yaʻaḳov Berman. Edited by Reʼuven Mamu & Yokheved Mamu.
Reading Isaac’s Sacrifice as an Antiwar Parable.Patrick T. McCormick - 2012 - Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 32 (2):3-21.
San Bernardo y Isaac de Stella.Alexander Fidora - 2004 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 60 (3):707-718.


Added to PP

381 (#53,624)

6 months
121 (#33,778)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Christopher Willard-Kyle
University of Glasgow

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Epiphenomenal qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57:321-332.

View all 27 references / Add more references