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The “Father” of the Old Testament and Its History

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Chapter Summary

The manifold use of gods as fathers in Ancient Near Eastern religions contrasts with the sparse use of the appellation Father in the Old Testament. In pre-exilic times, the Old Testament takes a more positive stance toward the father concept as attested to in Egypt. In the New Kingdom, that is, in the second half of the second millennium BCE, the father-son relationship of Amun with the reigning pharaoh exerted considerable theological influence. Through the Babylonian destruction in 587/86 BCE, pre-exilic Jerusalemite theology lost the locus and addressees of living and celebrated evidence of the father-son relationship between Yhwh and the Davidic king. The crisis which followed left marks on the texts of the exilic and postexilic periods. This devastation produced Judaism in the form of a worldwide Diaspora still centered intellectually and religiously in Jerusalem. The destruction of 587/86 gained defining force as the fundamental date of Jewish self-understanding.

Keywords: Babylonian destruction; Egypt; father-son relationship; Judaism; Old Testament; pre-exilic Jerusalemite theology



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