Is Jephthah the Anti-Abraham?

One of the most horrifying stories in the Old Testament is that of Jephthah, which is found in Judges 11:29-40. The gist of the story is that Jephthah is about to go into battle against the Ammonites, but before he does he makes a foolish oath before God that he’ll sacrifice as an offering the first thing that greets him upon his return from war. Sure enough Jephthah kicks all kind of Ammonite ass, but lo and behold who should he first see upon coming home? It’s Mizpah, his daughter, his only child. So Jephthah decides he has to live up to his vow and goes ahead and kills his daughter as a burnt offering unto God. Terrible story, just terrible.

There are a lot of intriguing questions here, such as Did Jephthah really kill his daughter? or Why did Mizpah submit to this insanity? or Is oath-breaking really worse than human sacrifice? However this story really appeals to me in light of Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of Isaac; or rather, Kierkegaard’s take on Abraham’s story.

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Part-Time Hitchhiking For Fun And Profit

I’m back in Columbus again after a weekend in Cleveland/Sandusky for Dan Gifford’s wedding. I hitched a bit both ways for a total of about 100 miles. The rest via rides with Katie, Kraig, and Brenton. I will do a trip report tomorrow since I’m too exhausted tonight. Here’s some Douglas Coupland (from Life After God) instead:

…I think the price we paid for our golden life was an inability to fully believe in love; instead we gained an irony that scorched everything it touched. And I wonder if this irony is the price we paid for the loss of God.
But then I must remind myself we are living creatures – we have religious impulses – we must – and yet into what cracks do these impulses flow in a world without religion? It is something I think about every day. Sometimes I think it is the only thing I should be thinking about.

Heidegger on Faith

Guest entry today by Martin Heidegger, via his Introduction to Metaphysics:

“[If faith] does not continually expose itself to the possibility of unfaith, it is not faith but a convenience. It becomes an agreement with oneself to adhere in the future to a doctrines as something that has somehow been handed down.”

On being a philosophy major:

“Philosophy is essentially untimely because it is one of those few things whose fate it remains never to be able to find a direct resonance in their own time, and never to be permitted to find such a resonance. Whenever this seemingly does take place, whenever a philosophy becomes fashion, either there is no actual philsopohy or else philosophy is misinterpreted and, acording to some intentions alien to it, misused for the needs of the day…

It is entirely correct and completely in order to say, “You can’t do anything with philosophy.” The only mistake is to believe that with this, the judgment concerning philosophy is at an end. For a little epilogue arises in the form of a counterquestion: even if we can’t do anything with it, may not philosophy in the end do something with us, provided that we engage ourselves with it?”