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Scholars to discuss request by God for Isaac's sacrifice


Christians and Jews through the centuries have been perplexed, troubled and inspired by the terrifying biblical

account of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac.

In a free evening program Thursday, sponsored by the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies and Baltimore Hebrew University, three scholars will consider "The Binding of Isaac" from various faith traditions.

Robin Jensen, a Presbyterian who is assistant professor of church history at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, Mass., will discuss depictions of the story of Abraham and Isaac in early Christian art. Dr. Jensen frequently conducts workshops on the interplay of art and church history. She received her doctorate from Union Theological Seminary.

Steven Fine, assistant professor of Rabbinic literature and history at Baltimore Hebrew University, has a doctorate from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He will explore Jewish understandings of the relationship between God and Abraham.

The third speaker Thursday evening is Christopher Leighton, who will highlight the religious challenges that the story of Isaac poses for people in today's world. He received his doctorate from Columbia University and has been executive director of the sponsoring interfaith institute since 1987.

Free parking is available for the 7:30 p.m. program at Baltimore Hebrew University, 5800 Park Heights Ave.

& Information: 523-7227.

Near-death research: "Spiritual Awakenings" is the subject of a public lecture at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Roland Park Country School, 5204 Roland Ave. The speaker is Barbara Harris Whitfield, author of two books describing her near-death experience, her subsequent studies at the University of Connecticut and the major shift in her beliefs caused by the experience.

She has appeared on television on "The Today Show," "Donahue," "Larry King Live" and "Oprah."

Admission is $10 and includes refreshments.

& Information: 323-5500.

Annual fall revival: The Rev. Michael B. Curry, rector of St. James Episcopal Church on West Baltimore's Lafayette Square, is the guest preacher for tonight's revival service at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 2110 Madison Ave. The public is invited.

Music for the 6:30 p.m. service will be provided by the Madison Avenue church's Renaissance Choir and visiting choirs from Mount Hattin Baptist Church and New Elizabeth Baptist Church. William Boyd is devotional leader and soloist. Information: 523-7935.

Single again: "Journey Through Loss -- Getting Past the Hurt" is the subject of a public lecture by Jim Farrell, an authority on problems faced by separated, divorced and widowed men and women, at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mercy High School, 1300 E. Northern Parkway.

The program is one in a series offered by Friends of Mercy, a support group founded by Sister M. Joannes Clifford.

Sister Joannes was honored recently for 35 years of service to the Mercy community. For 15 of those years, she has been director of the single-again ministry.

/# Information: 533-8880, Ext. 23.

Music minister honored: Seven of the more than 100 former organ students of Richard Wegner will perform in a free, public organ concert at 4 p.m. Sunday celebrating Dr. Wegner's 47 years as minister of music at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Loch Raven and Belvedere avenues.

Organists taking part in the celebration, in addition to Dr. Wegner, are Joan Pasterfield Bourne, Mark Coffey, Todd Davis, Carl Dederer, Henry Lowe, Joanne Koerber Owen and Barbara Weber Sommer.

A reception for Dr. Wegner and his family will follow the concert. Information: 435-6861.

"Apple John" A worship leader known as "Apple John" will perform for grade-school and pre-school children during the 11 a.m. service Sunday at Boulevard Christian Church, 920 Essex Ave. in Essex. Information: 687-8014.

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