Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 December 2009
Bound by the Bible has shed light on the exegetical relationship between Judaism and Christianity in the first six centuries CE and has demonstrated that the encounter was closer than had previously been suggested. By developing a series of criteria, which recognize the occurrence of an exegetical encounter, a relationship based on familiarity has been depicted. Numerous examples have been uncovered, not in isolation but multiply attested, which makes an exegetical encounter a significant factor in Jewish and Christian interpretations. While each example on its own may be explained as coincidental, or as a result of the exegetes separately arriving at the same conclusion, multiple attestation strongly implies an exegetical encounter.
The exegetical approach overcomes some of the weaknesses of previous studies of Jewish–Christian relations, such as dependence on the existence of parallels or on the dating of significant texts. The choice of Genesis 22 provides a biblical text that is of much interest to both Jews and Christians and that is similar in both the Greek and Hebrew versions.
During the course of this study three categories of interpretation have been identified: first, shared interpretations, which indicate a common approach to the biblical text; second, interpretations that indicate a possible exegetical encounter; third, interpretations that indicate a probable exegetical encounter.
Bound by the Bible has highlighted the following examples of shared interpretations:
Both the rabbis and church fathers are concerned to respond to the charge that God desired human sacrifice (vv. 1–2).
Both the rabbis and church fathers explain that the Akedah enabled Abraham to be exalted throughout the world (vv. 1–2).