This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to examine the genesis of Athanasius' theology of God as Father and to analyse its structure against the background of the Alexandrian tradition. It is important to recognize that Athanasius was not the first Alexandrian to write about the divine fatherhood. He was writing within the context of an Alexandrian tradition of reflection on the fatherhood of God, a tradition in which the terms Father and Son were the determinative metaphors for theological discussion. The book also demonstrates that Origen believed that the affirmation God is Father lay at the heart of the Christian faith.
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