Divine Wrath and Divine Mercy in the World of Antiquity
Spieckermann, Hermann and Reinhard G. Kratz, editors
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008 pp. viii + 279. €59.00
Forschungen zum Alten Testament, 2/33
Description: 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.
Subjects: Ancient Near East, Literature
Review by Michael S. Moore
Citation: Michael S. Moore, review of Reinhard G. Kratz and Hermann Spieckermann, eds., Divine Wrath and Divine Mercy in the World of Antiquity, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2011).
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