Hebrew Bible and the “Fear of God”

Acknowledging the linguistic and geographical breadth of comparable terminology is a good starting point for seeing how this conception of “fear” does, and does not, overlap with the conception of “fear” that modern readers may bring to ancient texts. These terms from antiquity can and do indicate a feeling of fear. Yet they regularly go beyond feelings, and they convey a conception of feelings per se in ways that reveal taxonomical challenges.

See Also: Facets of Fear: The Fear of God in Exilic and Post-exilic Contexts (Mohr Siebeck, 2019).

By Phillip Michael Lasater
Universität Zürich
June 2019

In a range of ways, the scribes behind the Hebrew Bible wrote of “fear” and, relatedly, “fear of God,” which is a prominent thread in ancient Jewish literature. The latter motif is an outworking of the way that fear terminology is used more broadly in and beyond the Hebrew Bible. The following discussion aims to clarify some facets of fear within a small space.

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