Over the past fifteen years "ideological criticism" of the Bible has grown to become an accepted practice within the academy. It has provided a site where feminists, Marxists, liberation theologians and other interested parties have been able to engage in discussion aimed largely at displaying the wide variety of competing interests operating in both the production and interpretation of the Bible. Unfortunately, it is common among ideological critics of the Bible to speak of biblical texts as having ideologies. The thrust of this article is to claim that this way of thinking confuses a wide range of issues concerning the relationships between texts and the social practices which both generated those texts and are sustained by interpretations of particular texts. This position is defended by an examination of the various ways in which the Abraham story was read from Genesis through Philo, Paul, and Justin Martyr.