Our father in heaven: The dimensions of divine paternity in Deuteronomy
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SubjectBible.--O.T.--Deuteronomy--Criticism, interpretation, etc.
This dissertation proposes that Deuteronomy portrays the role of divine paternity in three dimensions; progenitor, caregiver, and covenant partner. After presenting the history of the research in chapter 1, this study recognizes that the fatherhood of God in Deuteronomy had been largely overlooked. Recognizing the phrase, "God is a father," to be metaphorical, this study presents a discussion on metaphorical theory in order to understand how metaphors work. Max Black's theory of interaction is accepted as a framework to understanding Deuteronomy's metaphor, "God is a father." Chapter 3 presents an overview of fatherhood from the perspective the ANE. The purpose of the chapter is to establish a system of associated commonplaces concerning the word "father" in the ANE, which, in turn, helps modern readers understand the phrase, "God is a father." This study investigates the literary and theological context of Deuteronomy 32, 1, 8, and 14 (in that order) where the fatherhood of God is revealed. Subsequently, it discusses the structure and genre of each chapter. Finally, it analyzes the verses in their context that speak of God as the father of Israel (Deut 32:6, 18; 1:31; 8:5; 14:1-2). Chapter 4 logically begins with Deuteronomy 32, for there it reveals Yahweh as the progenitor of Israel. Moreover, it is the only occurrence in Deuteronomy where the word "father" is used metaphorically for Yahweh. Deuteronomy 1 reveals Yahweh as caregiver , as he is compared to an earthly father carrying his son. Deuteronomy 8 continues the caregiving theme in the form of Yahweh disciplining Israel for their refinement and for their good. Deuteronomy 14 presents Yahweh's fatherhood as covenant partner . The chapter also portrays Israel as his son, his holy people, and his special treasure. Israel's role, as son, is to obey Yahweh's commands. The conclusion provides a summary and concluding thoughts pertaining to God's fatherhood in Deuteronomy. It affirms that Deuteronomy portrays Yahweh's divine paternity over Israel as progenitor, caregiver, and covenant partner.