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|All Authors / Contributors:||Christopher Croghan Affiliation: 1Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Religion & Director of the Luther House of Study at Augustana College and Sioux Falls Seminary: 2001 South Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197, USA; Sarah Stenson Affiliation: 2J.D. Associate Director of the Luther House of Study at Augustana College and Sioux Falls Seminary: 2001 South Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197, USA|
The purpose of this essay is to use Luther’s lectures on “The Sacrifice of Isaac” as a case study of his approach to interpreting Scripture and the way in which he dealt with and used extra-scriptural material in his exegetical work. A marker of Luther’s approach in Genesis 22 is his admonition to the interpreter to distinguish between “who” and “what.” Luther recognized that when an interpreter focuses on the question “what” the result is the use of abstract categories and the application of a systematic overlay to Scripture. When focusing on the “who” the interpreter encounters a concrete word of command and promise, namely the thing itself (verbum efficax). For Luther, the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac is not about philosophical propositions or ethical questions but is about having a God and trusting in the promises of this God.
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