Divine Wrath and Divine Mercy in the World of Antiquity

Ed. by Reinhard Gregor Kratz and Hermann Spieckermann

[Gottes Zorn und Barmherzigkeit in der Welt der Antike.]

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Wrath and mercy of the gods belong to the significant features of religions in Antiquity. They interpret human experiences of suffering and affliction as well as those of protection and welfare. The contributions collected in this volume provide valuable information for the comparison of the religions investigated under that central aspect.
Wrath and mercy of the gods were some of the significant religious features in antiquity. They interpret human experiences of suffering and affliction as well as those of protection and welfare. Due to the different characters and responsibilities of the deities, a remarkable range of constellations of divine benevolence and malevolence becomes evident, sometimes without allowing insight into the motives of the decisions made. This is why the actions of the gods are often viewed as emotional and arbitrary, lacking any degree of transparency. Consequently, the gods are subjected to philosophical and theological criticism. They are regarded by some as unreliable and obscure in any case, while others launch an attack on them, questioning their existence. The relationship between divine wrath and mercy requires a great deal of perception in the monotheistic religions, as it is no longer possible to attribute wrath and mercy to different deities. Wrath and mercy become characteristic features of one god only. In all monotheistic religions, it is a matter of theological concern to question the relationship between wrath and mercy on the basis of authoritative texts and religious experience. The comparison of these approaches provides valuable information on the very essence of the religions investigated from this central perspective.
Survey of contents
Hermann Spieckermann: Wrath and Mercy as Crucial Terms of Theological Hermeneutics
Ancient Near East
Louise Gestermann: Zorn und Gnade ägyptischer Götter – Manfred Krebernik: »Wo einer in Wut ist, kann kein anderer ihm raten.« Zum göttlichen Zorn im Alten Orient – Billie Jean Collins: Divine Wrath and Mercy in the Religions of the Hittites and Hurrians – Kyle McCarter: When the Gods Lose Their Temper. Divine Rage in Ugaritic Myth and the Hypostasis of Anger in Iron Age Religion – Reinhard G. Kratz: Chemosh's Wrath and Yahweh's No. Ideas of God's Wrath in Moab and Israel – Karl William Weyde: »Has God Forgotten Mercy, in Anger Withheld his Compassion?« Names and Concepts of God in the Elohistic Psalter
Michael Bordt SJ: Platon über Gottes Zorn und seine Barmherzigkeit – Peter Schenk: Darstellung und Funktion des Zorns der Götter in antiker Epik – Markus Witte: »Barmherzigkeit und Zorn Gottes« im Alten Testament am Beispiel des Buchs Jesus Sirach – Jörg Frey: God is Love. On the Textual Tradition and Semantics of a Core Expression of the Christian Notion of God
Late Antiquity
Aharon Shemesh: An Offer God Can't Refuse. The Punishment of Flagellation in Rabbinic Theology – Gunnar af Hällström: The Wrath of God and His Followers. Early Christian Considerations – Todd Lawson: Allah's Wrath and Mercy

Reinhard Gregor Kratz Born 1957; 1987 Dr. theol., 1990 Habilitation at the University of Zürich; since 1995 Professor for Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at the Theological Faculty of the University Göttingen.

Hermann Spieckermann Geboren 1950; 1969–75 Studium der Ev. Theologie und Altorientalistik in Münster und Göttingen; 1982 Promotion; 1987 Habilitation; 1989–92 Professor für Altes Testament und altorientalische Religionsgeschichte in Zürich; 1992–99 in Hamburg; 1999–2018 Inhaber des Lehrstuhls für Altes Testament in Göttingen.


The following reviews are known:

In: International Review of Biblical Studies — 55 (2008/09), S. 565+684+1835+1849
In: Biblische Notizen — 142 (2009), S. 139–140 (Karin Schöpflin)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 53 (2009), S. 435
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 135 (2010), S. 299–300 (Jörg Jeremias)
In: Reformierte Presse — 2009, Nr. 43, S. 13 (Stefan Wälchli)
In: Zeitschr. f. Kirchengeschichte — 121 (2010), S. 95–97 (Ralf Miggelbrink)
In: Old Testament Abstracts — 32 (2009), S. 591 (T.H.)
In: Mythos — 2008, S. 169–171 (Corinne Bonnet)
In: Revue d'histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses — 91 (2011), S. 287–288 (R. Hunziker-Rodewald)
In: Journal of Ancient Judaism — 1 (2010), S. 254
In: Zeitschr. f. d. Alttestamentl. Wissenschaft — 122 (2010), S. 167 (Jan Christian Gertz)
In: Review of Biblical Literature — (01/2011) (Michael S. Moore)
In: Verkündigung u. Forschung — 58 (2013), S. 110–126 (Friedhelm Hartenstein)