Fatherhood of God

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It is often said that Judaism speaks of God as the Father of all human beings who consequently are all brothers and sisters. This idea is often described as the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. The fact is, however, that this formulation is modern and highly apologetical. There is much discussion on the whole question of universalism and particularism in Judaism (and see CHOSEN PEOPLE) but this particular formulation finds no support in the Jewish sources. The Bible does not speak directly anywhere of God as Father but the idea is found by implication in the verse: ‘Ye are the children of the Lord your God’ (Deuteronomy 14: 1). Since ‘ye’ are His children it follows that He is ‘your’ Father. But the ‘ye’ in the verse refers to the people of Israel. The intimate relationship described in father—children terms is reserved for God's relationship to Israel, not for mankind as a whole.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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