Federico Dal Bo (1973) 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 worked as Teaching Assistant in Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Bologna and as Research Assistant at the Institute for Jewish Studies at the Free University of Berlin. He is currently the recipient of a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona for 2016-2019.

His most recent publication is the gender studies commentary: Massekhet Keritot. Text, Translation, and Commentary. A Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud (FCBT V/7), Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2013. He has recently published: Emanation and Philosophy of Language. An Introduction to Joseph ben Abraham Giqatilla, Los Angeles, Cherub Press, 2019. His monograph Deconstructing the Talmud. The Absolute Book is currently in print by Routledge.

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.