Federico Dal Bo holds a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Bologna (2005) and a PhD in Jewish Studies from the Free University of Berlin (2009). He has worked as a teaching assistant in Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Bologna, as a research assistant at the Institute for Jewish Studies at the Free University of Berlin, as a Marie Curie Fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and as a research assistant at the University of Heidelberg. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

His recent publications include: Emanation and Philosophy of Language: An Introduction to Joseph ben Abraham Giqatilla (Cherub Press, 2019), Deconstructing the Talmud: The Absolute Book (Routledge, 2019), and The Lexical Field of the Substantives of ‘Word’ in Ancient Hebrew: From the Bible to the Mishnah (Harrassowitz, 2021).

The Sacrifice of Isaac
as Exodus from Law

ICI Project 2014-16

The biblical “Sacrifice of Isaac” is considered, according to Jewish tradition, as Abraham’s final trial: that is, the conclusive act in his erratic wandering from Ur to the Land of Israel. I assume that the “Sacrifice of Isaac” has a crucial importance for understanding the ongoing secularization of European culture. On the one hand, Abraham is the acknowledged “Father” of the three monotheistic religions.

On the other hand, the “Sacrifice of Isaac” in the bible displays his ultimate trial in front of God, representing a model for religious behavior in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. With respect to this, the “Sacrifice of Isaac” is the expression of an “agonistic” philosophy of law, that is a vital confrontation with juridical and ethical issues. I believe that there is an ontological connection between Abraham’s “erring” and his attitude towards the Law that he is willing to “transgress” by sacrificing Isaac in the name of God.