Central to the story of Abraham in Genesis 12-25 are his three wives, especially Hagar and Sarah, and their offspring. This seminar will focus on these fascinating women as they appear in the biblical story and in various traditions sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Special attention will focus on the annunciation scenes and the role of the “angel of the LORD” in the biblical text, the presentation of Sarah in the Genesis Apocryphon of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the wives in Jewish Midrash and Aggadah, Hagar’s connection with the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the shocking episode of the binding and near sacrifice of one woman’s son (Isaac? Ishmael?) in Genesis 22, and the mysterious third wife Keturah.
Bill Urbrock (Ph.D, Harvard) is honorary Rosebush professor emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Long active in the Society of Biblical Literature, he has published in Hebrew Annual Review, Currents in Theology and Mission, The Earth Bible, and The Anchor Bible Dictionary. He has taught seminars for the National Endowment for the Humanities and has presented a variety of courses, seminars, and lecture series for civic and educational groups, including Björklunden. His most recent teaching awards include the 2015 White Cedar Award from The Clearing in Ellison Bay and the 2017-2018 Robert L. Berner Teaching Excellence Award from the UW Oshkosh Learning in Retirement program.