donderdag 29 september 2016

The Binding of Isaac

"The Binding of Isaac (Hebrew: ,(עֲקֵידַת יצִחְַק) also known as 'The Binding' ( הָעֲקֵידָה ) and the Akedah or Aqedah, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Moriah. The account states that Abraham "bound Isaac, his son" before placing him on the altar.

Adriaen Collaert (prent) naar Maerten de Vos, uitgever  Gerard de Jode, Offer van Isaak,
Geschiedenis van Abraham (serietitel), 1585,  plaatrand: h 201 mm × b 260 mm

According to the Hebrew Bible, God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice [Gen 22:2-8]. After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying "now I know you fear God." At this point, Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bushes and sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.
The Book of Genesis does not tell the age of Isaac at the time. The Talmudic sages teach that Isaac was thirty-seven, likely based on the next biblical story, which is of Sarah's death at 127 [Genesis 23:1], being 90 when Isaac was born [Genesis 17:17, 21].
Genesis 22:14 states that the event occurred at 'the mount of the LORD'. The Books of Chronicles 3:1; Psalms 24:3; Book of Isaiah 2:3 & 30:29; and Book of Zechariah 8:3, identify the location of this event as the hill on which Solomon was said to later build the Temple, now believed to be the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. [...]

Jewish views

Rabbi Yosef Ibn Caspi (Spain, early 14th century) wrote that Abraham's "imagination" led him astray, making him believe that he had been commanded to sacrifice his son. [...]
In The Binding of Isaac, Religious Murders & Kabbalah, Lippman Bodoff argues that Abraham never intended to actually sacrifice his son, and that he had faith that God had no intention that he do so.
Rabbi Ari Kahn (on the Orthodox Union website) elaborates this view as follows: Isaac's death was never a possibility — not as far as Abraham was concerned, and not as far as God was concerned. God’s commandment to Abraham was very specific, and Abraham understood it very precisely: Isaac was to be "raised up as an offering", and God would use the opportunity to teach humankind, once and for all, that human sacrifice, child sacrifice, is not acceptable. This is precisely how the sages of the Talmud (Taanit 4a) understood the Akeida. Citing the Prophet Jeremiah’s exhortation against child sacrifice (Chapter 19), they state unequivocally that such behavior "never crossed God’s mind", referring specifically to the sacrificial slaughter of Isaac. Though readers of this parashah throughout the generations have been disturbed, even horrified, by the Akeida, there was no miscommunication between God and Abraham. The thought of actually killing Isaac never crossed their minds. [...]
Others suggest that Abraham's apparent complicity with the sacrifice was actually his way of testing God. Abraham had previously argued with God to save lives in Sodom and Gomorrah. By silently complying with God's instructions to kill Isaac, Abraham was putting pressure on God to act in a moral way to preserve life. More evidence that Abraham thought that he would not actually sacrifice Isaac comes from Genesis 22:5, where Abraham said to his servants, "You stay here with the ass. The boy and I will go up there; we will worship and we will return to you." By saying we (as opposed to I), he meant that both he and Isaac would return. Thus, he did not believe that Isaac would be sacrificed in the end. [...]
In The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides argues that the story of the Binding of Isaac contains two "great notions". First, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac demonstrates the limit of humanity's capability to both love and fear God. Second, because Abraham acted on a prophetic vision of what God had asked him to do, the story exemplifies how prophetic revelation has the same truth value as philosophical argument and thus carries equal certainty, notwithstanding the fact that it comes in a dream or vision. [...]
In Glory and Agony: Isaac's Sacrifice and National Narrative, Yael S. Feldman argues that the story of Isaac's Binding, in both its biblical and post-biblical versions (the New Testament included) has had a great impact on the ethos of altruist heroism and self-sacrifice in modern Hebrew national culture. As her study demonstrates, over the last century the "Binding of Isaac" has morphed into the "Sacrifice of Isaac", connoting both the glory and agony of heroic death on the battlefield. [...]

Anon., Het Offer van Abraham, 1501-1600, olieverf op paneel,
118 cm x 87,5 cm, Antwerpen, Maagdenhuismuseum

Christian views

Abraham's faith in God is such that he felt God would be able to resurrect the slain Isaac, in order that his prophecy (Genesis 21:12) might be fulfilled. Early Christian preaching sometimes accepted Jewish interpretations of the binding of Isaac without elaborating. For example, Hippolytus of Rome says in his Commentary on the Song of Songs, "The blessed Isaac became desirous of the anointing and he wished to sacrifice himself for the sake of the world" (On the Song 2:15).
Other Christians from the period saw Isaac as a type of the "Word of God" who prefigured Christ. The majority of Christian Biblical commentators view this episode as prefiguring God's plan to have his own Son, Jesus, die on the cross as a substitute for humanity, much like the ram God provided for Abraham. This fulfilled Abraham's reply to Isaac's question of where was the animal that would be used for the sacrifice; Abraham's affirmation that "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering" is seen as a prophetic foreshadow of the promise of the Lamb of God. Abraham's willingness to give up his own son Isaac is seen, in this view, as foreshadowing the willingness of God the Father to sacrifice his Son; also contrasted is Isaac's submission in the whole ordeal with Christ's, the two choosing to lay down their own lives in order for the will of God to be accomplished, as no struggle is mentioned in the Genesis account. Indeed, both stories portray the participants carrying the wood for their own sacrifice up a mountain. [...]
An alternate interpretation proposes that Calvary was on a section of Mount Moriah, the temple mount, which has subsequently been divided from the main part for the purpose of defending Jerusalem. As such the crucifixion would occur on the same mountain.

Muslim views

In Islamic sources, when Abraham tells his son about the vision, his son accepted to be sacrificed for the fulfillment of God's command, and no binding to the altar occurred. [...]
Abraham saw a vision about sacrificing his son. When he told his son about it, his son agreed to fulfill the command of God in the vision. When they both had submitted their will to God and were ready for the sacrifice, God told Abraham he had fulfilled the vision, and provided him with a ram to sacrifice instead.

Modern research

In the original E version of the Binding Abraham disobeys God’s command, sacrificing the ram "instead of his son" (v.13) on his own responsibility and without being stopped by an angel: "And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son; but Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and beheld, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went, and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son" (v. 10,13)
Abraham's ethical rebellion against God in Sodom [cfr the story of Sodom (Genesis 18), in which Abraham protests against God's unethical plan to destroy the city, without distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked: "Far be it from you to do such a thing.. Shall not the judge of all the earth do what is just?"] culminates in his disobedience to God, refusing to sacrifice Isaac.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou has speculated that it is possible that the story "contains traces of a tradition in which Abraham does sacrifice Isaac.
["It may be that the biblical story contains traces of a tradition in which Abraham does sacrifice Isaac, for in Gen.22:19 Abraham appears to return from the mountain without Isaac".  Francesca Stavrakopoulou, King Manasseh and child sacrifice: biblical distortions of historical realities, 2004, pp. 193–194.]
Richard Elliott Friedman has argued that in the original E story Abraham may have carried out the sacrifice of Isaac, but that later repugnance at the idea of a human sacrifice led the redactor of JE to add the lines in which a ram is substituted for Isaac.
[Richard Elliott Friedman, The Bible With Sources Revealed, 2003 , p. 65.]
Some scholars also point at the genealogical snippet (verses 20-24) as containing a hint to the question whether Abraham sacrificed Isaac or not. First of all, the description of a rash of newborns placed right after the main story suggests the existence of some direct cause-effect connection between the two. [...]  v. 24 begins with an interpretational invitation and continues with the names [Re’umah (ראומה) – "see what"; Tevah (טבח) – "slaughtering" or "slaughtered"; Gaham (גחם) – "flame" or "burning"; Tahash (תחש) – "skin" often used to cover the tabernacle; Ma‘akah (מעכה) – "blown" or "crushed"] which seem to explain the cause of the rash of newborns present at the conclusion of the pericope: somebody had been blown, slaughtered, put on the tabernacle and burned.
[Kosior, Wojciech, ""You Have Not Withheld Your Son, Your Only One from Me". Some Arguments for the Consummated Sacrifice of Abraham", 2013, The Polish Journal of the Arts and Culture. 8 (5/2013): 73–75. Retrieved 16 June 2014.]"
(Wikipedia dd. 29/09/2016)

Een seer wonderlijck Teeken

"Op Vrijdag, 19 Februari 1552 (o. s.), tusschen drie en vier uren 's narniddags werd er, gansch Brabant door, een wonder luchtverschijnsel waargenomen, dat nergens zoo goed werd gezien als te Deurne op Exterlaer. Hiervan gaf Frans Liefrink, "figuersnyder", eene "prynte" in 't licht welker opschrift hieronder voorkomt.

Anon., Een seer wonderlijck Teeken, 1552 of 1553, met sjabloon ingekleurde houtsnede met
typografische tekst, 341 x 257 mm (blad), 184 x 252 mm (prent), Hans Liefrinck (ed.),
Brussel, Koninklijke Bibliotneek van België, Prentenkabinet, S.11.143325
 (overgenomen uit Padmos 2000, afb.174, p. 281)

"Een seer wonderlijck Teeken dwelck ghezien is gheweest inder
locht, Boven Antwerpen Van seer Velle duversche Personen
Int Jaer. M. D. LJJ den XIX. dach Februarius.

Anno M. D. LJJ den XIX. dach Februarii tsvrijdachs nader noene tusschen drij en vieren, is int hertochdom van Brabant, ende principalick boven de stadt van Antwerpen gesien geweest een wonderlick teecken in de locht : Dit teecken is te sien geweest niet alleen van binnen de stadt, van ontallijcken veel volcks edel ende onedel, groet ende cleene, maer oock van veel landtlieden, schippers ende ander volck buyten de stadt. Ende hoe wel dat dit teeckcn hem so volcomelick niet en verthoonde boven de stadt (midts dat sommighe dinghen daer af vergaen mochten wesen) so ist nochtans perfectelick gesien geweest op een plaetse een half mijle buyten Antwerpen, geheeten Dexter laer. Aldaer zijn geweest sommighe fijn borghers van Antwerpen, ende noch veel landtlieden van daer ontrent, de welcke dit wonderlick teecken wel een half ure lanck wel sterckelick doorsien hebben : also dat dbescheedt van desen ter stont gesonden is geweest aen de Key : Ma : Ende is gesien geweest in sulcker voeghen so als hier na volght.
Inden eersten de Sonne schijnende wt den Suydtwesten, soo sijn daer gesien geweest twee reghenboghen rugge teghen rugge, bijcans hebbende tfaetsoen van een muelenijser of Bourgoens cruys, ende waren seer sterck van verwe, staende Noordwaert. De Sonne hadde ront om haer seker ronden al de selve coleuren hebbendc, maer niet so sterck van verwe. Item hadde oock twee oft drij manieren van cleyn sonnen, waeraf dat de ghene die Oostwaert stont, een strepe hadde gelijck eenen steert, ende was seer lanck ende claer witachtich. Tcleyn licht dat westwaert stont, had oock eenen steert, maer niet so lanck als den anderen. De principael Sonne ten onderganck gaende, so zijn de drij cleyn sonnen neffens een gaen staen, ende waeren gelijck vierighe clooten. En daer is een veranderinge gevolght, welcke wel doorsien is gheweest van sommighe edellieden die welcke wt Hollant quuamen ende hebben gheimagineert alle daer te sienen eenen arent oft voghel hebbende een proye onder zijn clauwen, ende dat daer oock hem verthoonde een viervoetighe beeste als eenen hase oft desgelijcke, leggende zijn ooren inden neck.
Veel lieden wouden hier wt coniectureren de victorie van den eenen Prince tegen den anderen in dese aenstaende oorloghe. Maer de sekerheyt van dien is allene bekent God onsen Vader almachtich, den welcken wij bidden door Jesum Christum onsen versoender ende salichmaker gebenedijt, dat hij sijn roede sachtelick late over ons gaen.Want aengesien de groote boosheyt die nv in de weerelt overhandt neempt in alle staten van menschen, ende oock de diversche quade opinien in onsen heylighen Christe geloove (de welcke procederen eensdeels wt listicheyt des vijants, so can men wel bevroeden dat den slach geheven is. God de heere wil ons niet slaen als in wreetheyt, maer wil ons castijen als kinderkens tot onser salicheyt ende tot zijnre eere ende glorie

Gheprint Tantwerpen op die Lombaerde veste
inden witten hasewint by my Hans
Liefrinck figuersnijder."

(transcriptie tekst bij de houtsnede en inleidend citaat: Stockmans 1975, deel 1, pp. 255-256)

Een "Bourgoens cruys" of Bourgondisch kruis is in de heraldiek een schuingeplaatst kruis van twee knoestige stokken, soms laurierstokken genoemd, vaak eindigend in breed uitlopend omkrullend loofwerk. (Wikipedia, dd 27/09/2016)

Een heraldisch correct Bourgondisch kruis,
(door Robert Prummel uit nl, CC BY-SA 3.0)

De vlag der Spaanse Nederlanden (1482-1579) was een variatie daarop. (Wikipedia, dd 27/09/2016)

De vlag der Spaanse Nederlanden (publiek domein)

Die 'aenstaende oorloghe' zou kunnen verwijzen naar de oorlog tussen keizer Karel en Hendrik II van Frankrijk, die laatste had de strijd tegen het keizerrijk hervat. Door het verdrag van Chambord uit 1552 stond Maurits van Saksen Toul, Verdun en Metz af aan Hendrik II , die zo de geallieerde werd van de Duitse protestanten. Wanneer die laatsten de keizer uit Innsbrück verjagen, palmde hij ook Lotharingen , de Elzas en Piëmont in. En hij wou meer. Maria van Hongarije organiseerde het verzet in de Nederlanden tot haar broer Karel terugkeerde. Die sloot datzelfde jaar het Verdrag van Passau af met de Duitse vorsten, waarin hij de godsdienstvrijheid van de lutheranen waarborgt. Hij ronselt vervolgens een leger, trok de Nederlanden door en viel Frankrijk aan. Enkele edellieden uit de Nederlanden, zoals Egmont en Boussu, voegden hun troepen bij die van de hertog van Alva en heroverden Toul en Verdun. Het beleg van Metz was er echter te veel aan en Karel blies de aftocht, geveld door het noodweer en krom van het jicht, en keerde terug naar Brussel. Tijdens zijn ziekte gaf Maria van Hongarije de generaals het bevel om aan te vallen. Ze veroverden Terwaan en Hesdin, de oude residentie van de Bourgondische hertogen. Tussen Bergen en Kamerijk voegde de keizer zich weer bij zijn leger dat zijn zegetocht voortzette. In augustus 1553 wordt het door het leger van Hendrik II bedreigde Brussel, gered door een uitval van de Spaanse troepen en keurtroepen onder het bevel van keizer Karel zelf. [naar Lieven Struye, Kroniek van België, Antwerpen/Zaventem (Standaard Uitgeverij en Elsevier Librico), 1987, p. 338 én Wikipedia dd. 29/09/2016)]

"De prent toont een zeldzaam meteorologisch verschijnsel dat op 19 februari 1552 (misschien was het in 1553) te zien was in Brabant en meer in het bijzonder boven Antwerpen. Op dat ogenblik verscheen er rond de zon een halo met een volledige kleine lichtkrans, een bijna volledige grote lichtkring en twee nevenzonnen. De prent is een synthese van het fenomeen, maar in de tekst
wordt gezegd dat niet alles overal even duidelijk was te zien.
De uitgever, Hans Liefrinck verzamelde naar eigen zeggen verscheidene getuigenissen in verband met het gebeuren en geeft in de tekst een opsomming en een beschrijving van zijn bronnen. Hij voegt eraan toe dat de keizer zelf onmiddellijk werd geïnformeerd over het gebeuren. Het volgende deel
geeft een gedetailleerde beschrijving en tenslotte wordt er dieper ingegaan op de betekenis van de halo. Volgens Liefrinck dachten vele getuigen dat het een voorteken was met betrekking tot de overwinning van een prins in een nakende oorlog, maar, zo voegt hij er kritisch aan toe, enkel God kent de betekenis van het verschijnsel.
Prenten als deze kenden vanaf het midden van de zestiende eeuw een ruime verspreiding. De beeldverslaggeving over allerhande spectaculaire natuurverschijnselen en rampen speelde handig in op de vraag van een steeds groeiende markt. De houtsnijder en prentenuitgever Hans Liefrinck was een van de eersten die zich specialiseerde in dergelijke gelegenheidsgrafiek. Zeker is wel dat dit soort prenten niet bedoeld was om te worden verzameld. Ze werden niet veilig opgeborgen in kostbare prentencollecties, maar weggegooid of gerecupereerd nadat de actualiteitswaarde was verdwenen.
(Padmos 2000, pp. 333-334)

Het verschijnsel toont gelijkenissen met een prent uit de 17de eeuw:

prent uit de 17de eeuw, overgenomen uit Jean-Pierre Verdet, Le ciel, ordre et désordre,
Découvertes Gallimard, 1987, p. 125 naar een oorspronkelijke prent uit de Bibliothèque Nationale

"Les dedoublements du soleil, !es parhélies, et ceux de la lune, !es 'parasélènes', comme les a appelees Conrad Lycosthène, sont des phénomènes optiques du à la refraction de la lumière dans les petits cristaux de glace qui peuvent flotter dans la haute atmosphère. Ils s'accompagnent d'arcs qui, en se croisant, peuvent effectivement produire des figures impressionnantes. Cet illustrateur du xviie siècle y voit des torches, des flammèches et des épées. [...] Le soleil [...] peut s'entourer d'un halo ou d'une couronne, on le vit même cerné d'épis et de cercles de couleurs [...] Et, si le temps d'une éclipse, il peut disparaître, il arrive aussi que trois soleils se lèvent: l'habituel que deux chiens accompagnent. Il est même des cas, prodige exceptionnel, où les chiens du soleil le suivent du petit matin jusqu'au soir." (Jean-Pierre Verdet, Le ciel, ordre et désordre, Découvertes Gallimard, 1987, pp. 125-126)

Very bright sun dogs in Fargo, North Dakota. Also visible are parts of the 22° halo (the arcs passing through each sundog), a sun pillar (the vertical line) and the parhelic circle (the horizontal line)

"Sun dogs (or sundogs), mock suns, or phantom suns, scientific name parhelia (singular parhelion), are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either horizontal side on the Sun, often co-occurring with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo [a ring with a radius of approximately 22° around the Sun]
Sun dogs are a member of a large family of halos, created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. Sun dogs typically appear as two subtly colored patches of light to the left and right of the Sun, approximately 22° distant and at the same elevation above the horizon as the Sun. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sun dogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the Sun is close to the horizon.
Sun dogs are commonly caused by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals either in high and cold cirrus or cirrostratus clouds or, during very cold weather, drifting in the air at low levels, in which case they are called diamond dust. The crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. As the crystals gently float downwards with their large hexagonal faces almost horizontal, sunlight is refracted horizontally, and sun dogs are seen to the left and right of the Sun. Larger plates wobble more, and thus produce taller sundogs.

schema van een 'sundog formation' (atoptics dd 29/06/2016)

Sun dogs are red-colored at the side nearest the Sun; farther out the colors grade through oranges to blue. However, the colors overlap considerably and so are muted, never pure or saturated. The colors of the sun dog finally merge into the white of the parhelic circle (if the latter is visible).

Right-hand sun dog in Salem, Massachusetts, Oct 27, 2012.
Also visible are a Parry arc, an upper tangent arc, a 22° halo and part of the parhelic circle.

The same plate shaped ice crystals that cause sun dogs are also responsible for the colorful circumzenithal arc, meaning that these two types of halo tend to co-occur. The latter is often missed by viewers, however, since it is located more or less directly overhead. Another halo variety often seen together with sun dogs is the 22° halo, which forms a ring at roughly the same angular distance from the sun as the sun dogs, thus appearing to interconnect them. As the Sun rises higher, however, the rays passing through the plate crystals are increasingly skewed from the horizontal plane, causing their angle of deviation to increase and the sun dogs to move farther from the 22° halo, while staying at the same elevation.
The term 'sun dog' (singular) specifically refers to either of the two bright spots to the left and right of the Sun: each of them is a separate sun dog. Since they typically appear in pairs, it would be more accurate, therefore, to use the plural 'sun dogs'.
The prelude to the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire, England in 1461 is supposed to have involved the appearance of a halo display with three 'suns'. The Yorkist commander, later Edward IV of England, convinced his initially frightened troops that it represented the three sons of the Duke of York, and Edward's troops won a decisive victory. The event was dramatized by William Shakespeare in King Henry VI, Part 3, [more on this event] and by Sharon Kay Penman in The Sunne In Splendour.

Possibly the earliest clear description of sun dogs is by Jacob Hutter, who wrote in his Brotherly Faithfulness: Epistles from a Time of Persecution:
My beloved children, I want to tell you that on the day after the departure of our brothers Kuntz and Michel, on a Friday, we saw three suns in the sky for a good long time, about an hour, as well as two rainbows. These had their backs turned toward each other, almost touching in the middle, and their ends pointed away from each other. And this I, Jakob, saw with my own eyes, and many brothers and sisters saw it with me. After a while the two suns and rainbows disappeared, and only the one sun remained. Even though the other two suns were not as bright as the one, they were clearly visible. I feel this was no small miracle…
The observation most likely occurred in Auspitz (Hustopeče), Moravia on October 31, 1533. [...] It is likely that the 'two rainbows with their backs turned toward each other, almost touching' involved two further halo phenomena, possibly a circumzenithal arc (prone to co-occur with sun dogs) together with a partial 46° halo or supralateral arc.

Urban målare, Jacob Elbfas (copy), 1535, 1636 (copy),
Oil-on-panel, 163 cm × 110 cm, Storkyrkan, Stockholm

The oldest color depiction of the city of Stockholm [is known as] Vädersolstavlan (Swedish; "The Sundog Painting", literally "The Weather Sun Painting")
For two hours in the morning of April 20, 1535, the skies over the city were filled with white circles and arcs crossing the sky, while additional suns (i.e., sun dogs) appeared around the sun. The phenomenon quickly resulted in rumours of an omen of God's forthcoming revenge on King Gustav Vasa (1496–1560) for having introduced Protestantism during the 1520s and for being heavy-handed with his enemies allied with the Danish king.
Hoping to end speculations, the Chancellor and Lutheran scholar Olaus Petri (1493–1552) ordered a painting to be produced documenting the event. When confronted with the painting, the king, however, interpreted it as a conspiracy - the real sun of course being himself threatened by competing fake suns, one being Olaus Petri and the other the clergyman and scholar Laurentius Andreae (1470–1552), both thus accused of treachery, but eventually escaping capital punishment. The original painting is lost, but a copy from the 1630s survives and can still be seen in the church Storkyrkan in central Stockholm."

(Wikipedia dd 29/09/2016)

"Het verschijnsel staat in een aantal Antwerpsche kronijken aangeteekend."
(Stockmans 1975, deel 1, pp. 255-256)[hij specifieert niet welke, misschien is daar nog meer informatie te vinden]