The Divine Father

Religious and Philosophical Concepts of Divine Parenthood in Antiquity


The present volume is devoted to the theme of "Divine Father" in Second Temple Jewish and early Christian tradition and in its ancient pagan contexts. It brings together proceedings of a conference under the same title, held in Göttingen in September 2011. Selected articles by well-known scholars focus on religious and philosophical concepts of divine parenthood in antiquity, from the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism (the Dead Sea Scrolls, Targums, Philo and Josephus) to the field of the New Testament. In addition, the volume deals with the designation of deity as "father" or "mother" from the broad spectrum of ancient Egypt and classical antiquity (Homer, Hesiod, Plato, and its reception) to late antiquity (Plotinus and Porphyry).

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Biographical Note

Felix Albrecht is resident scholar of the Septuaginta-Unternehmen of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Göttingen and lecturer at the University of Göttingen. He is head of the international research project PALAMEDES (PALimpsestorum Aetatis Mediae EDitiones Et Studia).

Reinhard Feldmeier is Professor of New Testament in Göttingen and Member of the Academy of Sciences and Humanties in Göttingen. He has published monographs, editions and many articles, including God of the Living. A Biblical Theology (Baylor University Press, 2011).

Review Quotes

"The succinct way each essay summarizes the author’s conclusions, and how they were led to them, is superb. If you seek an introduction to this topic which is brief, yet still scholarly and packed with expertise, this is the book to purchase."
Kris Wray, Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies 2 (2017)

'On ne peut que féliciter les contributeurs.'
Paul-Marie Fidèle Chango, Revue Biblique

Table of contents

Reinhard Feldmeier: Introduction

I. Pagan Religions
Alexandra von Lieven: Father of the Fathers, Mother of the Mothers. God as Father (and Mother) in Ancient Egypt
Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: “Vater Zeus” im griechischen Epos
Franco Ferrari: Gott als Vater und als Schöpfer. Zur Rezeption von Timaios 28c3-5 bei einigen Platonikern

II. Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism
Hermann Spieckermann: The “Father” of the Old Testament and Its History
Jacques van Ruiten: Divine Sonship in the Book of Jubilees
Lutz Doering: God as Father in Texts from Qumran
Robert Hayward: God as Father in the Pentateuchal Targumim
Beatrice Wyss: “Vater Gott und seine Kinder und Frauen”
Mladen Popović: God the Father in Flavius Josephus

IV. New Testament
Florian Wilk: “Vater …” – Zur Bedeutung der Anrede Gottes als Vater in den Gebeten der Jesusüberlieferung
Ross Wagner: Is God the Father of Jews only, or also of Gentiles? The Peculiar Shape of Paul’s “Universalism”
Reinhard Feldmeier: Kyrios Christos und Gottvater. Christi Herrschaft und Gottes Vaterschaft im Philipperhymnus
Felix Albrecht: Dominus Deus, Pater Omnipotens. Die göttlichen Verheißungen von 2Kor 6,16-18
George van Kooten: The Divine Father of the Universe from the Presocratics to Celsus: The Graeco-Roman Background to the “Father of All” in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
Jane Heath: God the Father and Other Parents in the New Testament

V. Late Antiquity
Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta: The Divine Father in the Gospel of Truth (NHC I,3). God as causa efficiens and causa finalis
Ilinca Tanaseanu-Döbler: Gott als Vater bei Plotin und Porphyrios


All interested in Pagan Religions, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism, New Testament, and Late Antiquity.