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Remembering: It Matters How We Tell the Sabbath Story

Remembering: It Matters How We Tell the Sabbath Story



Memory and remembrance are integral to life and central to the Sabbath. The fourth commandment in Exodus calls out, “Remember the Sabbath day” (Exodus 20:8, NKJV). To remember the Sabbath in the world of the Hebrew Bible is first and foremost a sacred invitation to retell the story of slavery and deliverance, again and again, every seventh day. This is evident in the Deuteronomy version, “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 5:15, NKJV).

If the exodus is to be memorialized to such a great extent, then the Sabbath can become a meaning-making moment, giving language and voice to traumatized people whose memories could otherwise have left them speechless and numb. To retell the story is to actively reengage that memory, to relive the trauma, and to begin to hope that all tyranny has lost its power. In service of this hope, the Sabbath pushes us to see injustice in our world, to worry for those who cry out in hunger around us, to mourn the loss of our natural resources, and to rage against the forces of oppression and injustice that plague humanity. Such remembering then is not a question about an event of the past, but an enduring art of living in the present, a constant and active faith, a personal engagement with “eternity in disguise,” as Abraham J. Heschel describes it. Moreover, Sabbath is not a theological doctrine, but, as Pinchas H. Peli insists, Sabbath is at the very essence of the interaction between God, the world, and humanity. It is at the core of the meaning-giving component of life, and, for that reason, it is universal. It gives all of us hope that none of us is a prisoner of the past; we can all find deliverance from tyranny and enjoy a new, restful, and flourishing life.

This volume publishes selected papers on the topic of Sabbath that were presented at two scholarly societies: the 2020 conference of the Adventist Society for Religious Studies with the theme “Sabbath: Roots, Rest, and Resistance,” and the Society of Biblical Literature’s “Sabbath in Text, Tradition, and Theology” program units between 2008 and 2016. There are also a number of solicited contributions from academics who have worked on the topic of Sabbath during their careers. Together the papers highlight the breadth and depth of research and current interest in the texts and the theme of Sabbath in the Bible as well as in extra-biblical literature. The papers have been updated and organized under four sub-headings and made available for the academic readership and all those interested in current research on the topic of Sabbath.



Publication Date



Oak & Acorn Publishing


Westlake Village, CA


Biblical Studies

First Department

Theology and Christian Philosophy

Remembering: It Matters How We Tell the Sabbath Story