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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


GERICKE, Jaco. Divine Freedom in the Old Testament: A comparative-philosophical inquiry. Old testam. essays [online]. 2013, vol.26, n.2, pp.334-347. ISSN 2312-3621.

In this article we ask whether YHWH as depicted in the OT was assumed to have free will. The background lies in contemporary philosophy of religion where the problem of divine freedom arises in the context of perfect being theology. However, not only did ancient Yahwism(s) not operate on perfect being theology, the discourse also did not seem to value free will to the extent that OT theologians and philosophers of religion do. Though YHWH is typically characterised as able to do whatever he pleased, it can be demonstrated that his will was itself assumed to be governed by both intrinsic and extrinsic determinants. Thus contrary to the popular consensus, a belief in absolute divine freedom is in fact absent from the OT's folk-metaphysical assumptions.

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