The Curse of Obedience: The Biblical Parable of Abraham, his God and Isaac
By: A novel by Laszlo Z. Bito Edited by John Solomon
About the Book
When I first learned to read by sounding out words I realized, to my horror, that one of the pictures in my children’s Bible was a story about a father who, out of obedience to God, was ready to sacrifice his son. That story of Abraham and Isaac terrified me. Later, the atrocities of WWII and the treachery of Moscovite dictatorship in Hungary focused my attention over and over again on the question of the origins of human cruelty. This led me back to the story of Abraham and Isaac, and finally to the crucial question of whether Abraham wanted to kill his son because he had heard the voice of God, or had heard the voice of God because he wanted to kill his son. The more I thought about it the more convinced I became that finding an answer might go a long way toward freeing us from a godhead that makes Abraham’s unquestioned obedience acceptable or even commendable as a virtue. My novel is a dramatization of these underlying concepts, all within the context of the lives and times of Abraham and Isaac. LZB
About the Author
If fate – namely the 1956 revolution in Hungary – had not intervened, Laszlo Z. Bito (1934-2021) would have become a writer of fiction, as clearly indicated by his notes from the coal mine to which he was consigned by the Soviet overlords. Because of his involvement as a local organizer of the revolution he had to flee the country, and upon his subsequent arrival in the United States as an immigrant without knowledge of English he needed to choose a more practical career. After graduating with a BA in chemistry and biology from Bard College he decided on biomedical research, achieved a PhD in biophysics and cell biology from Columbia University in 1963, and joined the Ophthalmology faculty of that university in 1965. This led to the development of the drug Xalatan, which has been for many years the gold standard in the treatment of glaucoma. At the age of 63 he retired from science to devote himself to the long-delayed writing of fiction and essays. By the time of his death, he had published more than twenty books in Hungarian, some in two editions, some with translations into German and several Eastern European languages. His literary work included six biblical novels. The Gospel of Anonymous, released in 2011, marked the first of those novels published in English, followed by Eden Revisited (2022).
(2023 paperback, 254 pages)
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