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God the Father in Flavius Josephus

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins by reviewing the passages in which Josephus refers to God as father, making various observations along the way. Then, it discusses whether Josephus's references to God as father should be understood as having been influenced by Greek ideas. The chapter briefly reflects on whether Josephus's use of father for God responds to the Roman imperial ideology of pater patriae. Josephus refers to God as father seven times. Six of these references are in the Antiquities and one is in the War. It is worth reflecting briefly on whether Josephus's use of "father" for God is related to the Roman imperial ideology of pater patriae. The title pater patriae was assumed by Roman emperors from Augustus onwards to symbolize their absolute authority over their political familia, in the sense of a pater familias, and their generosity and mercy toward their citizens.

Keywords: God; Greek ideas; Josephus; pater patriae; Roman emperors

10.1163/9789004264779_011
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