The Father of Faith Rationally Reconstructed

Faith and Philosophy 39 (2):272-290 (2022)
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There is a tension for those who want to simultaneously hold that Abraham’s disposition to sacrifice Isaac is epistemically justified and yet hold that a contemporary father would not be justified in believing that God is commanding him to sacrifice his son. This paper attempts to resolve that tension. While some commentators have correctly pointed out that one must take Abraham’s long relationship with God into account when considering Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son, they do not entertain the possibility that his hearing this commandment is evidence against the hypothesis that Abraham is speaking to God. I grant this possibility. But I argue that when God commands Abraham to do the unthinkable, Abraham’s previously acquired evidence could still be sufficient to justify his belief that he is speaking with God. And in making this argument, I attempt to show what differentiates Abraham from the contemporary father who thinks that God is commanding him to sacrifice his son

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Levi Durham
Baylor University


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