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God As Father In The Old Testament And Second Temple Literature

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Chapter Summary

The conjunction of God as Father with the description of heavenly/in heaven, so common in Matthew, is not found very frequently before the second century CE, unless one considers the Targumic usage as earlier. In this regard, Matthew shows affinity with much of the later, rabbinic literature. Continuing to examine the varied ways in which Matthew emphasizes the heaven and earth theme, this chapter turns to a discussion of God as heavenly Father, which constitutes the third element in Matthew's idiolectic use of heaven. It surveys the Jewish literary context (Old Testament through the Mishnah) for the idea of God as Father and specifically as a heavenly Father. The chapter seeks to discover literary precedents and potential contemporary usage for Matthew's terminology. It considers the question of whether Jesus' usage of God as Father is in continuity or discontinuity with his own tradition and setting.

Keywords: God as Father; heavenly Father; Jesus; Matthew; Old Testament; rabbinic literature; Second Temple literature

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