Event Title

Encountering God-fearers Outside of the Abrahamic Family: A Comparative Study on the Abraham–Abimelech Encounter and Its Implications for Mission

Location

Seminary S215

Start Date

9-2-2018 9:30 AM

End Date

9-2-2018 10:00 AM

Description

The term “God-fearer” is commonly found in the Old Testament writings and is most often associated with individuals who follow Yahweh and adhere to the Israelite religious system. However, the first individual that is recognized as possessing the fear of God in Genesis is the heathen king Abimelech in the context of an intercultural and interreligious encounter with Abraham. Surprisingly, even though being separated by a covenantal relationship, the patriarch Abraham is only acknowledged later in the narrative as having the fear of God when he offers up his son Isaac. Due to the narrator’s negative portrayal of Abraham within the encounter with the king of Gerar in Genesis 20, and the similarities of the pericope to Genesis 12 and 26, there has been much debate about the veracity of the Abraham-Abimelech encounter. Also, the function of the story within the narrative of the Abrahamic cycle in Genesis has been disputed. This paper aims to focus on the term “fear (of) God” by comparing its understanding in Genesis 20 from the perspective of a heathen to that of a covenant-bounded individual in Genesis 22. Second, the role of the narrative in Genesis 20 in shaping the concept of “fear of God” will be explored. Finally, the characteristics of the dialogues within the encounter will be examined and its implication for interreligious and intercultural encounters, especially with non-Christians, will be discussed.

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Feb 9th, 9:30 AM Feb 9th, 10:00 AM

Encountering God-fearers Outside of the Abrahamic Family: A Comparative Study on the Abraham–Abimelech Encounter and Its Implications for Mission

Seminary S215

The term “God-fearer” is commonly found in the Old Testament writings and is most often associated with individuals who follow Yahweh and adhere to the Israelite religious system. However, the first individual that is recognized as possessing the fear of God in Genesis is the heathen king Abimelech in the context of an intercultural and interreligious encounter with Abraham. Surprisingly, even though being separated by a covenantal relationship, the patriarch Abraham is only acknowledged later in the narrative as having the fear of God when he offers up his son Isaac. Due to the narrator’s negative portrayal of Abraham within the encounter with the king of Gerar in Genesis 20, and the similarities of the pericope to Genesis 12 and 26, there has been much debate about the veracity of the Abraham-Abimelech encounter. Also, the function of the story within the narrative of the Abrahamic cycle in Genesis has been disputed. This paper aims to focus on the term “fear (of) God” by comparing its understanding in Genesis 20 from the perspective of a heathen to that of a covenant-bounded individual in Genesis 22. Second, the role of the narrative in Genesis 20 in shaping the concept of “fear of God” will be explored. Finally, the characteristics of the dialogues within the encounter will be examined and its implication for interreligious and intercultural encounters, especially with non-Christians, will be discussed.