On August 28, Jon D. Levenson, the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, spoke with the current class of Tikvah fellows about his latest book, the first volume in the Library of Jewish Ideas: Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The following is an edited transcript of the event. _________________
QUESTION: What prompted you to write this book?
LEVENSON: For various reasons, probably having to do with where and when I grew up, I’ve always thought of religions and religious communities comparatively, in terms of each one’s connection to others—both the similarities and the differences. In the last 20 or 30 years, I’ve focused on the role played by exegesis of the Hebrew Bible in Jewish and Christian communities in late antiquity and the way in which communal interpretations change the self-understandings of the communities involved.