The author is 'a reader, a son, a Jew, a father, a sceptic, a historian, a lover of stories, and a writer'. Here he examines the 19 line story of Abraham and his son in the book of Genesis, highlighting how the story is a difficult one and continues to intrigue people. He makes us realise that the story has been interpreted and reinterpreted through the centuries.
'I didn't think he'd do it. I really didn't think he would. I thought he'd say, whoa, hold on, wait a minute. We made a deal, remember, the land, the blessing, the nation, the descendants as numerous as the sands on the shore and the stars in the sky.' A mere nineteen lines in the book of Genesis, it rests at the heart of the history, literature, theology, and sacred rituals of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Writing from the vantage of 'a reader, a son, a Jew, a father, a sceptic, a historian, a lover of stories, and a writer', Goodman gives us an enthralling narrative that moves from its biblical origins to the cultures and faiths of our time. He introduces us to the commentary of Second Temple sages, rabbis and priests of the late antiquity, and early Islamic scholars. He examines Syriac hymns, Hebrew chronicles of the First Crusade, and medieval English mystery plays. He looks at the art of Europe's golden age, and the panoply of twentieth-century interpretation, including the work of Bob Dylan, Elie Wiesel, and A. B. Yehoshua. In illuminating how so many others have understood this tale, Goodman tells a gripping and provocative story of his own.