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"Our Father . . .": An inherited title and its presence (or absence) in the Psalms?

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Chapter Summary

In the very first edition of the Journal of Semitic Studies, Otto Eissfeldt suggested that Yahweh took over various traits of character from El, and that one of these was fatherliness. On the basis of the Ugaritic texts, that El was considered to be father not only of the gods but also of human beings, and that the kings of Ugarit may have been thought so stand in a special son/father relationship with El. Psalm 29 has been widely regarded as ancient, and even as originally a Baal hymn adapted for use in the context of Yahwism. A number of passages in the Hebrew Bible can be pointed to as evidence for a belief that in some sense Yahweh was the father of the people of Israel and that Israel was his 'son'. Others suggest that the people of Israel were Yahweh's children but without specifically using the term 'father'.

Keywords: God; Hebrew Bible; human beings; Israel; Otto Eissfeldt; Psalm; Ugaritic texts; Yahweh



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