Photo courtesy of the Pucker Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

ON THE COVER: Genesis 22:1–19 recounts how God, in order to test Abraham, commands him to take his son Isaac to the land of Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. When they come to the appointed place, Abraham builds an altar, lays the wood, binds his son and lifts his knife to slay him. At this decisive moment, an angel calls out, “Lay not your hand upon the lad.” In The Sacrifice of Isaac (1997) by Israeli artist Naftali Bezem, Abraham’s face, like his blade, points heavenward. The patriarch’s hand rests on his son’s mouth. The ram in a nearby thicket will provide a substitute sacrifice. Isaac’s near-death experience on the mountain bears striking parallels to his half-brother Ishmael’s plight in the desert, notes Curt Leviant in “Parallel Lives: The Trials and Traumas of Isaac and Ishmael.” The repetitions in deeds and words in the Abraham-Isaac and Hagar-Ishmael stories are, argues Leviant, “too numerous to be coincidental.”