Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Vermes, and Divine Paternity in "The Religion of Jesus the Jew"

Geza Vermes (The Religion of Jesus the Jew) provides examples of men calling God "my Father" or "Father," thus indicating that the statements made by Jesus like we encounter at John 5:17 are not that out of the ordinary, as some would have us believe.

Vermes writes (on pp. 177-178):

The formula "my Father who is in heaven" occurs also in Midrashic
texts almost automatically in first person speech. Thus at the end of
his famous exposition of Exodus 20:6, "of them that love me and keep
my commandments" as referring to Jewish martyrs of the Hadrianic
persecution, after quoting Zechariah 13.6 the early second-century R.
Nathan concludes:

"These words caused me to be loved by my Father who is in heaven"
(Mekh on Ex. 20:6, Lauterbach II, 247). Another striking example
figures in Sifra on Leviticus (ed. Weiss 93b):

R. Eleazar ben Azariah said: Let no-one declare, 'I do not desire . .
. swine flesh or forbidden sex, but one must say, although I desire
them, what shall I do since my Father who is in heaven has given me
such commandment.

For texts where individuals are portrayed as addressing God as "my
Father," in Second Temple Judaism, see Marianne M. Thompson's The
Promise of the Father
(pp. 48-53).

See Vermes' work at

1 comment:

Alethinon61 said...

What? You mean calling God "my father" isn't a claim to be equal with God? ;-) Who'd a thunk?