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showmeproof
01-19-2014, 08:28 AM
In 1930 C.E., archaeological digs at Ras Shamra, about 5 miles north of the Port of Latakia where they are disarming the Syrian army of its chemical weapons, a whole new light was shed on the Late Bronze Age Levant, with specific ramifications for the early influences on the formation of Judaism. With these insights, we not only see what influenced the religions of Israel, but also how Israel eventually differentiated itself from the cultural milieu while still affirming parts of the religion of old. To be sure, Yahweh became the One god of Israel, but this was a formative process that can still be seen in the Bible today:

Exodus 6:2-3 NRSV "God also spoke to Moses and said to him: "I am the Lord (YHWH). I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name 'The Lord' (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them." Richard Hess, an evangelical scholar at the Denver Theological Seminary, clarifies in his book Israelite Religions, "From the standpoint of the history of Yahwism, it is important to note that Exodus 6:2-3 confirms that Yahweh originally revealed himself as El, the traditional name of the chief god of the West Semitic pantheon. This was evident whether he was manifest as El Shaddai, El Elyon, or another El figure."

Deuteronomy 32:7-9 "Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High (Elyon) apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; the Lord's (YHWH's) *own* portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share." *own* was added by the NRSV to shy away from polytheistic connotations.

It is my contention that monotheistic Yahwism was not corrupted by polytheistic Canaanite religion, but rather that monotheistic Yahwism is a later divergent branch of the West Semitic group of religions. This can most clearly be seen in how the Israelite writers called upon god to act as in the days of old:

Psalms 74:12-14 "Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the earth. You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness."

Isaiah 25:6-8, 26:19, 27:1 "On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all the nations; he will swallow up death forever...Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a radiant dew, and the earth will give birth to those long dead...On that day the Lord with his cruel and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea."

The endorsement, utilization (albeit reworking) of the West Semitic Combat Myth in theologically important areas like Creation (Job 26), Exodus (Exodus 14:2,9; 15 and Isaiah 51:9-10), Conquest (Exodus 15:14-18, Psalm 114) , Establishment of the Davidic monarchy (Psalm 24, 29, 89), Restoration and Resurrection (Isaiah 27:1), and Apocalypse (Revelation 12) bear evidence to just how central Canaanite religion is to both Judaism and Christianity.

Juvenal
01-19-2014, 08:37 AM
*subscribing

Meh Gerbil
01-19-2014, 09:02 AM
Premise: Abe Lincoln didn't exist.

Stories were written about Abe Lincoln in the 1800's.
Stories were written about Abe Lincoln in the 1920's.
Stories were written about Abe Lincoln in the 2000's.

If I make the assumption that the stories in the 1800's are not based on any real events and then assume the stories in the 1920's and 2000's are derivatives of the initial story I may have participated in an interesting historical research exercise but I'm still pre-supposing what I hoped to prove.

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 09:09 AM
Premise: Abe Lincoln didn't exist.

Stories were written about Abe Lincoln in the 1800's.
Stories were written about Abe Lincoln in the 1920's.
Stories were written about Abe Lincoln in the 2000's.

If I make the assumption that the stories in the 1800's are not based on any real events and then assume the stories in the 1920's and 2000's are derivatives of the initial story I may have participated in an interesting historical research exercise but I'm still pre-supposing what I hoped to prove.

So your argument is that there is indeed a Storm God that is in repeated combat with a Dragon in the Sea? You do not doubt that the stories are derivative, but you assert that the initial story, i.e. the West Semitic Combat Myth, had at least kernels of historical veracity?

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 09:10 AM
Good Sources on the Topic. I will add more as I read more.

Barton, John and Francesca Stavrakopoulou. Religious Divesity in Ancient Israel and Judah. New York: T&T Clark International, 2010
Batto, Benard F., Roberts, K., eds. David and Zion: Biblical Studies in Honor of J.J. Roberts. Eisenbrauns, 2004.
Batto, Bernard F. Slaying the Dragon: Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.
Bellah, R. Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011.
Burnett, J. Reassessment of the Biblical Elohim. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001.
Clifford, Richard J. The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1972.
Collins, Adela Yarbro and John J. Collins. King and Messiah as Son of God. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008.
Collins, Adela Yarbro. The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1976
Collins, John J. The Apocalyptic Imagination. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998.
Coogan, M. and Smith, Mark S. Stories from Ancient Canaan Second Ed. Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press, 2012.
Coogan, M. ed. The Oxford History of the Biblical World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Cross, F.M. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.
Day, J. Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan. New York: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000, 2002.
De Moore, J. C. The Rise of Yahwism The Roots of Israelite Monotheism Second Ed. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1997.
Dever, W.G. Who were the Israelites and Where Did They Come From. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003
Dever, W.G. What did the Writers of the Bible Know and When did They Know it?. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001.
Dothan, Trude and Moshe. People of the Sea the Search of the Philistines. New York: Macmillan, 1992.
Finkelstein, I. and Silberman. The Bible Unearthed. New York: Free Press, 2001.
Fishbane, M. Biblical Myth & Rabbinic Mythmaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Forsyth, N. The Old Enemy: Satan & The Combat Myth. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.
Friedman, Richard E. The Bible with Sources Revealed. New York: HarpersCollins, 2003.
Hamilton, G. Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Script. Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 2006
Hess, Richard S. Israelite Religions an Archaeological and Biblical Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.
Keel, Othmar and Uehlinger, K. Gods, Goddesses and Images of God in Ancient Israel. Herder Verlag: Fribourg, 1998.
Kirsch, J. God Against the Gods. New York: Penguin Group, 2004.
Levenson, Jon D. Creation and the Persistence of Evil: The Jewish Drama of Divine Omnipotene. New York: Harper & Row Publsihers, 1988
Levenson, Jon D. Inheriting Abraham. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.
Levenson, Jon D. Sinai & Zion: An Entry inot the Jewish Bible. New York: HarpersCollins; 1985.
Levenson, Jon D. The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christanity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993
Malamat, A. Mari and the Early Israelite Experience The Schweich Lectures 1984. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Mowinckel, S. He That Cometh. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005
Pardee, D. Ritual and Cult at Ugarit. Writings From the Ancient World. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002.
Pardee, D. The Ugaritic Texts and the Origin of West-Semitic Literary Composition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
Pritchard, James B. ed., The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts & Pictures. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.
Redford, Donald B. Egypt Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.
Smith, Mark S. God in Translation: Deities in Cross-Cultural Discourse in the Biblical World. Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publsishing, 2008.
Smith, Mark S. The Early History of God Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel 2nd ed. San Francisco: HarpersCollins, 1990, 2002.
Smith, Mark S. The Origins of Biblical Monotheism Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Smith, Mark S. Untold Stories. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2001.
Tigay, Jeffery H. Thou Shall Have No Other Gods: Israelite Religion in the Light of Hebrew Inscriptions. Harvard University, 1986.
Tov, E. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible 2nd Revised Ed. Minneapolis: Ausburg Fortress, 1992, 2001.
van der Toorn, K., Becking, B. and van der Horst P. The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible 2nd Extensively Revised Ed. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 1995, 1999.
Van Seters The Hyksos: A New Investigation
Watson, Rebecca S. Chaos Uncreated. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2005
Wright, R. The Evolution of God. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2009.
Yon, M. The City of Ugarit at Tell Ras Shamra. Wiona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006.
Zevit, Z. The Religions of Ancient Israel A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches. New York: Continuum, 2001.

robrecht
01-19-2014, 09:13 AM
... It is my contention that monotheistic Yahwism was not corrupted by polytheistic Canaanite religion, but rather that monotheistic Yahwism is a later divergent branch of the West Semitic group of religions. ...This seems like a false dichotomy to me. There's no reason why both assertions cannot both be true (or both false, for that matter). Does anyone seriously doubt that 'Yahwehism' evolved over time? Some biblical authors themselves would affirm this, would they not?

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 09:20 AM
I highly recommend using Google Earth to look at Ras Shamra. You can see the remnants of the foundations of the city, where they have excavated, and areas that clearly were part of the city which have not yet been excavated. It is surreal to look at Ras Shamra, from a satellite no less, surrounded by modern day buildings while keeping in mind how much influence this area has had on modern theologies.

Meh Gerbil
01-19-2014, 09:30 AM
So your argument is that there is indeed a Storm God that is in repeated combat with a Dragon in the Sea? You do not doubt that the stories are derivative, but you assert that the initial story, i.e. the West Semitic Combat Myth, had at least kernels of historical veracity?

If I proved that an account written about Abe Lincoln in the 1800's was false would that invalidate every account written about Abe Lincoln in the 2000's?

You've several things you've assumed here - that the West Semitic Combat Story is a myth is the first assumption - the second assumption is that they're linked with no additional sources (divine revelation). It is rational to make those assumptions; however, it doesn't make me irrational to make a different set of assumptions.

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 09:44 AM
robrecht,

I make the dichotomy because the Bible makes the dichotomy. The Deutronomistic narrative is insistent that "If anyone secretly entices you -even if it is your brother, your father's son or your mother's son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend- saying "Let us go worship other gods," whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people....If you hear it said about one of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods," whom you have not known..."

I think it is clear that the bible asserts that Yahweh was always the only god and that any worship of other gods was a perversion of what he intended. The point I make is that Yahweh was the unknown God not the other way around. I think these two viewpoints are distinct.

By biblical authors are you asking about modern scholars or the writers of the books of the bible itself?

Rational Gaze
01-19-2014, 09:59 AM
As far as explanatory historical hypotheses go, this one is pretty weak. It makes too many unwarranted assumptions, many of which are highly questionable, and the use of the term 'myth' is undefined just for starters. The evidence appealed is wholly inadequate. In fact, there exists a sizeable body of evidence that explicitly contradicts this hypothesis.

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 10:04 AM
If I proved that an account written about Abe Lincoln in the 1800's was false would that invalidate every account written about Abe Lincoln in the 2000's?

You've several things you've assumed here - that the West Semitic Combat Story is a myth is the first assumption - the second assumption is that they're linked with no additional sources (divine revelation). It is rational to make those assumptions; however, it doesn't make me irrational to make a different set of assumptions.

It would certainly require skepticism of the later documents if they were derivative, even if reworked, of the earlier false document. A robust methodology would need to be employed to determine what nuggets, nonetheless which account, are true and which are false. It would most certainly be a historical investigation as to what is the most probable real story of Abe Lincoln.

More directly to our discussion, I would argue that the utilization of the earlier Myth necessitates reevaluation of subsequent documents, i.e. various parts of the bible, which employ it. If this is not myth, which literary form do you suggest that the West Semitic Combat is?

robrecht
01-19-2014, 10:09 AM
robrecht,

I make the dichotomy because the Bible makes the dichotomy. The Deutronomistic narrative is insistent that "If anyone secretly entices you -even if it is your brother, your father's son or your mother's son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend- saying "Let us go worship other gods," whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people....If you hear it said about one of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods," whom you have not known..."

I think it is clear that the bible asserts that Yahweh was always the only god and that any worship of other gods was a perversion of what he intended. The point I make is that Yahweh was the unknown God not the other way around. I think these two viewpoints are distinct.

By biblical authors are you asking about modern scholars or the writers of the books of the bible itself?I mean other authors, whose work appears in the Bible, which does not deny the evolution over time of 'Yahwehism'. The dichotomy that you point to in Deuteronomy is somewhat different than yours. It is a much better actual dichotomy to speak of what has been known and what has not been known by a distinct group of people.

Abigail
01-19-2014, 10:21 AM
robrecht,

I make the dichotomy because the Bible makes the dichotomy. The Deutronomistic narrative is insistent that "If anyone secretly entices you -even if it is your brother, your father's son or your mother's son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend- saying "Let us go worship other gods," whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people....If you hear it said about one of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods," whom you have not known..."

I think it is clear that the bible asserts that Yahweh was always the only god and that any worship of other gods was a perversion of what he intended. The point I make is that Yahweh was the unknown God not the other way around. I think these two viewpoints are distinct.

By biblical authors are you asking about modern scholars or the writers of the books of the bible itself?

The verses which you quote from Exodus are consistent with God just revealing a more intimate view of Himself ie I am sure some people only know you by your surname but others who you are more intimate with are likely invited to know and call you by your first name. Further if the people of Canaan did initially have some notion of God and this had become corrupt, then the corrupt version is not God is it? Thinking simplistically, If I have the shape of a square and cut it in two, then though I originally had a square I now have something quite new - two rectangles or two triangles.

Abigail

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 10:22 AM
As far as explanatory historical hypotheses go, this one is pretty weak. It makes too many unwarranted assumptions, many of which are highly questionable, and the use of the term 'myth' is undefined just for starters. The evidence appealed is wholly inadequate. In fact, there exists a sizeable body of evidence that explicitly contradicts this hypothesis.

Please share the sizeable body of evidence that contradicts this hypothesis. Which assumptions are unwarranted, which are highly questionable? Please be precise.

Myth will here be defined, following Bernard Batto, "A narrative (story) concerning fundamental symbols that are constitutive of or paradigmatic for human existence."
In our discussion here I argue that The West Semitic Combat Myth is the fundamental set of symbols used to describe Israelite existence. This is aligned with Michael Fishbanes use of the, "word Myth to refer to (sacred and authoritative) accounts of the deeds and personalities of the gods and heroes during the formative events of primordial times, or during the subsequent historical interventions of these figures which are constitutive for the founding of a given culture..."

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 10:26 AM
The verses which you quote from Exodus are consistent with God just revealing a more intimate view of Himself ie I am sure some people only know you by your surname but others who you are more intimate with are likely invited to know and call you by your first name. Further if the people of Canaan did initially have some notion of God and this had become corrupt, then the corrupt version is not God is it? Thinking simplistically, If I have the shape of a square and cut it in two, then though I originally had a square I now have something quite new - two rectangles or two triangles.

Abigail

El was known to be the head of the Canaanite pantheon in the Bronze Age. This is solely a polytheistic context. In your analogy, we start off historically with half the square, later a group claims they have found the whole square and that the whole square was original (i.e. predates the half square). This can be historically investigated. Your assumption is that the Canaanite's notion of God had become corrupt implies that it was originally pure.

Abigail
01-19-2014, 10:46 AM
El was known to be the head of the Canaanite pantheon in the Bronze Age. This is solely a polytheistic context. In your analogy, we start off historically with half the square, later a group claims they have found the whole square and that the whole square was original (i.e. predates the half square). This can be historically investigated. Your assumption is that the Canaanite's notion of God had become corrupt implies that it was originally pure.

No it doesn't mean that the Canaanites notion was originally pure. All it assumes is that God reclaimed a title which applied to Him uniquely ie 'GOD MOST HIGH' and by using 'El' He is implicitly stating that there can be no El head of Canaanite pantheon since there is only one head of anything Godlike and that is Himself.

Abigail

Meh Gerbil
01-19-2014, 10:56 AM
More directly to our discussion, I would argue that the utilization of the earlier Myth necessitates reevaluation of subsequent documents, i.e. various parts of the bible, which employ it. If this is not myth, which literary form do you suggest that the West Semitic Combat is?

I'm not making claims about the West Semitic Combat other than you don't know for sure that it is something other than a factual historical account.
I'm gathering that you assume it is a myth because you assume all supernatural accounts are a myth.

I'll discuss this with you further but you have to first acknowledge that you're starting with a big assumption.

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 10:58 AM
Most High in relation to what? Other gods. See Psalm 82 where the other gods are confirmed as gods, sons of Elyon, but given a death sentence due to their inability to govern effectively. I understand you are coming from a monotheistic lens; I am not arguing that there are other gods, only that the idea that other gods existed predates and informs the Biblical tradition.

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 11:15 AM
I'm not making claims about the West Semitic Combat other than you don't know for sure that it is something other than a factual historical account.
I'm gathering that you assume it is a myth because you assume all supernatural accounts are a myth.

I'll discuss this with you further but you have to first acknowledge that you're starting with a big assumption.

Why would we make the assumption that it is a factual historical account and how would we subsequently investigate it? It it is a literary motif frequently reworked to speak of past intervention, ongoing intervention and future eschatological intervention by god. It is a template that can used for various means. I look at the diversity of its uses both Biblically and extra-biblically to make the case that it is not a historical event.

Not all supernatural accounts are myths; the narrative must be constitutive of or paradigmatic for the origin of a specific culture. Give me reasons to approach this from a Historic context.

Meh Gerbil
01-19-2014, 11:41 AM
Why would we make the assumption that it is a factual historical account and how would we subsequently investigate it? It it is a literary motif frequently reworked to speak of past intervention, ongoing intervention and future eschatological intervention by god. It is a template that can used for various means. I look at the diversity of its uses both Biblically and extra-biblically to make the case that it is not a historical event.

Not all supernatural accounts are myths; the narrative must be constitutive of or paradigmatic for the origin of a specific culture. Give me reasons to approach this from a Historic context.

I'm not trying to make a case that it is a historical account.
I'm making the case that you don't know for sure, and cannot prove, that it isn't, at least partially, based on a historical event.

We all make assumptions in our world view.
The problem I have with your assumption is that it results in the circular reasoning we see in your original post.
If you cannot see that circular reasoning then I really cannot discuss this further as additional arguments will likely result in the same.

showmeproof
01-19-2014, 12:00 PM
I'm not trying to make a case that it is a historical account.
I'm making the case that you don't know for sure, and cannot prove, that it isn't, at least partially, based on a historical event.

We all make assumptions in our world view.
The problem I have with your assumption is that it results in the circular reasoning we see in your original post.
If you cannot see that circular reasoning then I really cannot discuss this further as additional arguments will likely result in the same.

You are engaging in the teapot argument.

Abigail
01-19-2014, 12:43 PM
Most High in relation to what? Other gods. No, God Most High in relation to *all* that there is - God Almighty. You have assumed that the common usage of 'El' is proof that He is just differentiating Himself from other gods however what I am saying is that this is not a title differentiating one god from another but a basic attribute of the God of the Bible and therefore by definition no one else really could be called that.



See Psalm 82 where the other gods are confirmed as gods, sons of Elyon, but given a death sentence due to their inability to govern effectively.
See Psalm 83:6 and Jesus talking to the pharisees in John 10:36 for an explanation of this. Jesus is like God in every way. God is righteous and judges righteously as does Jesus - those who don't are not sons of God


I understand you are coming from a monotheistic lens; I am not arguing that there are other gods, only that the idea that other gods existed predates and informs the Biblical tradition.
I understand that you personally are not arguing that there are other gods. We agree that there were ancients who believed in other gods, we don't agree that monotheism evolved out of a pantheon of gods.

Meh Gerbil
01-19-2014, 03:53 PM
You are engaging in the teapot argument.

I'm not making any claims.
I'm not asking you to believe anything.
I was merely pointing out circular reasoning.

Your view of these documents is based upon the assumption the supernatural does not exist; however, that is also the point you're trying to prove.
So no, it isn't the teapot argument because I'm making no claims and I'm not defending any truth claims.

I'm pointing out a logical fallacy.

Quantum Weirdness
01-19-2014, 05:56 PM
In 1930 C.E., archaeological digs at Ras Shamra, about 5 miles north of the Port of Latakia where they are disarming the Syrian army of its chemical weapons, a whole new light was shed on the Late Bronze Age Levant, with specific ramifications for the early influences on the formation of Judaism. With these insights, we not only see what influenced the religions of Israel, but also how Israel eventually differentiated itself from the cultural milieu while still affirming parts of the religion of old. To be sure, Yahweh became the One god of Israel, but this was a formative process that can still be seen in the Bible today:

Exodus 6:2-3 NRSV "God also spoke to Moses and said to him: "I am the Lord (YHWH). I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name 'The Lord' (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them." Richard Hess, an evangelical scholar at the Denver Theological Seminary, clarifies in his book Israelite Religions, "From the standpoint of the history of Yahwism, it is important to note that Exodus 6:2-3 confirms that Yahweh originally revealed himself as El, the traditional name of the chief god of the West Semitic pantheon. This was evident whether he was manifest as El Shaddai, El Elyon, or another El figure."

El was also the common Semitic word for God. To show that El meant God in the sense that you say it is (Western Semitic pantheon head God) provide some clear examples of where it cannot mean God in the generic sense. God Almighty isn't one unless El Elyon is a proper name for one of those deities. The usage in Genesis 16:13 implies a generic sense.
http://www.studylight.org/lex/heb/hwview.cgi?n=410
As for Hess, see here
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/09/24/The-Documentary-Hypothesis.aspx#id_7d3177ba-5c2d-45b0-aa46-f6f499fc2d69



Deuteronomy 32:7-9 "Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High (Elyon) apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; the Lord's (YHWH's) *own* portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share." *own* was added by the NRSV to shy away from polytheistic connotations.

As far as I know, the text doesn't say gods. It says sons of God. Deut 14:1 says who these people are.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deut+14&version=NIV (N.B. the word translated "children" is literally "sons")
(N.B Doesn't the Bible teach monolatry ?)

Here's another look on this

Quote
"Deuteronomy 32



Stark finds polytheism in Deuteronomy 32, the Song of Moses. Stark appeals to the Dead Sea Scroll’s version of this passage, which reads:



When the Most High [Elyon] divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he established the borders of the nations according to the number of the sons of god [or gods]. Yahweh’s portion was his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance. (Deut. 32:8-9)



“Elyon” is a description, not a name, but Stark sees it as possibly having once been the name of a god that was seen as ruler over all the earth and superior to Yahweh. Why couldn’t Elyon be Yahweh? Stark reasons Elyon must be a supreme god over Yahweh because “a father doesn't give an inheritance to himself.” Unfortunately for Mr. Stark, the Bible often uses that language where there is no other god or other grantor of any nature in view. First, the word translated “inheritance” can be translated as “possession,” so there being two parties - a giver and a receiver - is not a necessary implication of the word. Then we read verses like Exodus 34:9 where Moses pleads with Yahweh to "take us for your inheritance" rather than destroy Israel for its sins. There is no father/son relationship between Yahweh and another god here, even though the word "inheritance" (or "possession") is used. Like in Deuteronomy 32:8-9, the "inheritance" is Yahweh preserving the nation of Israel uniquely for Himself. Exodus 19:5 speaks of Israel being Yahweh's unique possession while he simultaneously owns all the earth: "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Deuteronomy 4:19-20 parallels Deuteronomy 32:8-9 except that Yahweh is apportioning the heavenly bodies rather than earthly land to all the nations, while taking Israel as His unique possession: "And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that Yahweh your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But Yahweh has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day." This passage shows Yahweh taking (active verb, not receiving) one nation as his own unique inheritance; there is no higher god giving Israel to Him. Yahweh owns everyone and everything in the universe, yet Israel is Yahweh's inheritance in the sense that he commits Himself to uniquely preserve this particular nation for ages to come for the purpose of worshipping Him alone.



Another feature of Deuteronomy 32 that Stark ignores is that verses 17 and 21 say that the gods of the other nations are “no gods” but really demons or just statues. This is important in understanding the use of the word "gods" in the Bible. The “gods” of other nations are demons, mere statues, or rulers that are supposed to represent God in matters of justice. They are not really gods in the sense of Creator of heaven and earth, yet this passage still makes use of the popular linguistic convention of referring to them as "gods." Therefore just because the Bible talks about "gods," this is no proof that beings anywhere close to the same ontological status as Yahweh, Creator of heaven and earth, are being acknowledged to exist. Assuming the contrary will lead to the fallacy of equivocation. "For their rock is not as our Rock" (Deut. 32:31).



One last feature of Deuteronomy 32 that Stark fails to fully reckon with is verse 39 in which Yahweh says “there is no one beside me.” Stark correctly points out that this phrase means that the speaker is claiming to be the greatest, but not necessarily the only one of his kind.[5] In Zephaniah 2:4 the city of Nineveh boasts, “I am, and there is no one beside me,” obviously meaning that Nineveh is the greatest city, not the only city to exist. But even with this qualification, verse 39 contradicts Starks claim that earlier in the song Elyon is being presented as a god greater than Yahweh. And in the context of the song saying that the gods of other nations are “no gods,” for Yahweh to say that “there is no one beside me” does mean that He is the only true God. He is the greatest among all the so-called gods because He is the only one in His ontological class, the Creator of heaven and earth."
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2012/03/02/Review-of-The-Human-Faces-of-God-by-Thom-Stark.aspx





It is my contention that monotheistic Yahwism was not corrupted by polytheistic Canaanite religion, but rather that monotheistic Yahwism is a later divergent branch of the West Semitic group of religions. This can most clearly be seen in how the Israelite writers called upon god to act as in the days of old:

Psalms 74:12-14 "Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the earth. You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness."

Isaiah 25:6-8, 26:19, 27:1 "On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all the nations; he will swallow up death forever...Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a radiant dew, and the earth will give birth to those long dead...On that day the Lord with his cruel and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea."

The endorsement, utilization (albeit reworking) of the West Semitic Combat Myth in theologically important areas like Creation (Job 26), Exodus (Exodus 14:2,9; 15 and Isaiah 51:9-10), Conquest (Exodus 15:14-18, Psalm 114) , Establishment of the Davidic monarchy (Psalm 24, 29, 89), Restoration and Resurrection (Isaiah 27:1), and Apocalypse (Revelation 12) bear evidence to just how central Canaanite religion is to both Judaism and Christianity.

See this excellent article by Glenn Miller
http://www.christianthinktank.com/gilgy08.html
Similar cultures display similar motifs and themes. So? The imagery utilized is central. The more likely thing to have happened is that the Israelites heard this imagery (or had it in their own culture) and decided to use it to worship YHWH instead of other gods.
I don't think that this means that Canaanite religion was central to the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. It just means that they liked the imagery they heard.
How is Job 26 dealing with creation btw?

Juvenal
01-19-2014, 05:57 PM
I'm not making any claims.
I'm not asking you to believe anything.
I was merely pointing out circular reasoning.

Your view of these documents is based upon the assumption the supernatural does not exist; however, that is also the point you're trying to prove.
So no, it isn't the teapot argument because I'm making no claims and I'm not defending any truth claims.

I'm pointing out a logical fallacy.

"The creator of the universe didn't fight a sea monster to wrest control of the Earth."

Yeah, it's an assumption. But on the scale of human assumptions, running from safe to way too iffy, this one's on the "No, I'm not entirely insane" side. Here's another assumption: "SMP is engaged in an argument against the existence of your god." That one's on the other side of the scale, and you should abandon it.

And what's this about logical fallacies? Are you struggling under the misapprehension that history gets proven? You should abandon that, too.

Cause, dude, that's entirely insane.

Trout
01-19-2014, 06:04 PM
Are you struggling under the misapprehension that history gets proven? You should abandon that, too.

Cause, dude, that's entirely insane.

Saith the varve counter.

shunyadragon
01-19-2014, 06:13 PM
As far as explanatory historical hypotheses go, this one is pretty weak. It makes too many unwarranted assumptions, many of which are highly questionable, and the use of the term 'myth' is undefined just for starters. The evidence appealed is wholly inadequate. In fact, there exists a sizeable body of evidence that explicitly contradicts this hypothesis.

I disagree. I have not seen this 'sizable body of evidence yet. Waiting . . . Showmeproof's previous thread on the old Tweb was very long and well documented. I followed completely, and I am looking forward to this one.

Meh Gerbil
01-20-2014, 03:59 AM
"The creator of the universe didn't fight a sea monster to wrest control of the Earth."
Yeah, it's an assumption. But on the scale of human assumptions, running from safe to way too iffy, this one's on the "No, I'm not entirely insane" side.

Yeah, if you assume that every supernatural thing recorded in history is a myth then it follows that the supernatural things recorded in the Bible are also a myth.
If one was to assume the opposite, that supernatural things do occur, then the record of the same event in many cultures (varied though they may be) would actually be confirmation of the event.

So the original post can be interpreted as proof against or proof for the validity of the Bible based on one's starting assumption - which is rather circular in both cases.

Juvenal
01-20-2014, 05:50 AM
Yeah, if you assume that every supernatural thing recorded in history is a myth then it follows that the supernatural things recorded in the Bible are also a myth.

C'mon Gerbz. A freaking sea monster fighting a creator god for control of the Earth! You can't paint that one away with a tanker load of anti-skepticism. There's no need to drag the Bible into it. It's a myth that predates the earliest possible date of the Bible's composition by over a thousand years.


If one was to assume the opposite, that supernatural things do occur, then the record of the same event in many cultures (varied though they may be) would actually be confirmation of the event.

Nope. Because they're not independent records.


So the original post can be interpreted as proof against or proof for the validity of the Bible based on one's starting assumption - which is rather circular in both cases.

Right on back to assuming history gets proven. And worse, that this is about the validity of your interpretation of the Bible. If you're going to follow SMP's posts, you need to abandon those assumptions. He's interested in the history of early Israelite religion. While that may have an impact on your beliefs, it's not about your beliefs, any more than a geologist using radiometric dating is engaged in disproving YEC. She just wants to know how old that rock is.

SMP wants to know how Israelite religion began. (So do I, because it's a fascinating subject.) That reading list he posted upthread is for real, and is getting longer over time. He is very well read on this. So why not unruffle your feathers and follow along?

As ever, Jesse

Juvenal
01-20-2014, 05:52 AM
Saith the varve counter.

"Sayeth" usually, but in this case, it's "posteth."

Meh Gerbil
01-20-2014, 06:03 AM
Lao Tzu,

I was only trying to get to the idea that one's starting assumptions will play a rather large role in how one views FirstFloor's excellent presentation of data.
Apparently we aren't allowed to go there, which despite your fantasies, doesn't ruffle my feathers - it merely reminds me why I usually don't discuss these things anymore.

I'll leave the discussion to those willing to adhere to the numerous assumptions necessary for interpreting the data in the 'correct' way.

If you need me I'll be out behind the woodshed smoking varves with Trout.

Juvenal
01-20-2014, 06:21 AM
... FirstFloor's excellent presentation ...

Oh dude. I don't know much about double-F, but I'm quite sure he's not capable of this OP. (In fact, neither am I.) This is ShowMeProof's thread.

Meh Gerbil
01-20-2014, 06:31 AM
Oh dude. I don't know much about double-F, but I'm quite sure he's not capable of this OP. (In fact, neither am I.) This is ShowMeProof's thread.Oh dear... my apologies to the both of them.

showmeproof
01-20-2014, 07:40 AM
El was also the common Semitic word for God. To show that El meant God in the sense that you say it is (Western Semitic pantheon head God) provide some clear examples of where it cannot mean God in the generic sense. God Almighty isn't one unless El Elyon is a proper name for one of those deities. The usage in Genesis 16:13 implies a generic sense.
http://www.studylight.org/lex/heb/hwview.cgi?n=410
As for Hess, see here
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/09/24/The-Documentary-Hypothesis.aspx#id_7d3177ba-5c2d-45b0-aa46-f6f499fc2d69

El was the common Semitic word for God and Elohim can be a concretized abstract plural to denote Deity (Joel S. Burnett gives a good account of this in Reassessing the Biblical Elohim). There are many factors to consider, including grammar, the particular people in a specific time and place sitz im leben, context within the literary document, etc. I'll give two clear examples; Genesis 14:19-21 "And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High (El Elyon). He blessed [Abram] and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" ...Abram said to the king of Sodom (not Salem)" I have sworn to the Lord, God Most High (El Elyon), maker of heaven and earth..." Melchizedek isn't a priest of a generic god (you can't be a priest of a description), and there appears that the writer of this book knew that, because he has Abram interject Lord (YHWH) prior to El Elyon; even though Exodus 6:2-3 has YHWH speaking to Moses saying he didn't reveal himself to Abram by the name YHWH. A second example is Genesis 33:20 "There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel" El is the God of Israel. If, as you suggest, that this is generic then Jacob erected and named an altar to a generic god and this monotheist didn't mind which god was worshiped here. Remember that Schechem was in the land of Canaan.

Did you have a specific place within that forum that you meant to make a point about Hess? The more frequently used example from Hess on this issue is on William Lane Craig's website Reasonable Faith (http://reasonablefaith.org/jewish-beliefs-about-god).


As far as I know, the text doesn't say gods. It says sons of God. Deut 14:1 says who these people are.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deut+14&version=NIV (N.B. the word translated "children" is literally "sons")
(N.B Doesn't the Bible teach monolatry ?)
I quoted the NRSV; you quoted the NIV. More importantly for this discussion, both the Septuagint and the Qumran scrolls read sons of god in verse nine whereas the Masoretic text reads sons of Israel; I am in agreement with Emanuel Tov that the Masoretic 'sons of Israel' is a theological gloss.

I have not read Stark, and will not engage in discussion about his exegesis until I have read his work.



See this excellent article by Glenn Miller
http://www.christianthinktank.com/gilgy08.html
Similar cultures display similar motifs and themes. So? The imagery utilized is central. The more likely thing to have happened is that the Israelites heard this imagery (or had it in their own culture) and decided to use it to worship YHWH instead of other gods.
I don't think that this means that Canaanite religion was central to the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. It just means that they liked the imagery they heard.

Interesting article. Note that this is dealing with Chaoskampf mainly in the creation account in Genesis. He is interested in cosmogony. A few quick notes: The connection is made when all three Storm, Sea, and Dragon are coupled together...because they utilize the names and/or characteristics of the deities involved in the West Semitic Combat Myth. YHWH and Baal are interchangeable as the Storm God, Yam or Sea is the antagonist and is often manifest in the Dragon; more specifically the fleeing and twisting serpent (these are used verbatim in the bible to discuss Leviathan. Yahweh took on characteristics of both EL, and there is a lack of polemic against EL in the Bible, but he also took on much of the characteristics of Baal. YHWH is a conglomeration. Peal off the layers of YHWH which were originally associated with El or Baal and what is left?


How is Job 26 dealing with creation btw?
Sorry, Job 38. The binding of the Sea is coupled with creation.

damanar
01-20-2014, 02:43 PM
Interesting article. Note that this is dealing with Chaoskampf mainly in the creation account in Genesis. He is interested in cosmogony. A few quick notes: The connection is made when all three Storm, Sea, and Dragon are coupled together...because they utilize the names and/or characteristics of the deities involved in the West Semitic Combat Myth. YHWH and Baal are interchangeable as the Storm God, Yam or Sea is the antagonist and is often manifest in the Dragon; more specifically the fleeing and twisting serpent (these are used verbatim in the bible to discuss Leviathan. Yahweh took on characteristics of both EL, and there is a lack of polemic against EL in the Bible, but he also took on much of the characteristics of Baal. YHWH is a conglomeration. Peal off the layers of YHWH which were originally associated with El or Baal and what is left?

Thanks for posting this, you are far better read on this than I, but I took a lot of similarities in the characteristics of Baal and Jesus, Particularly with the sacrifice of Baal and his triumph over Mot. That would be New Testament lore as a derivative of Caanonite.

Have you read anything on this comparison/suggested readings?

showmeproof
01-20-2014, 05:48 PM
Thanks for posting this, you are far better read on this than I, but I took a lot of similarities in the characteristics of Baal and Jesus, Particularly with the sacrifice of Baal and his triumph over Mot. That would be New Testament lore as a derivative of Caanonite.

Have you read anything on this comparison/suggested readings?

First and foremost, in regards to your query, one must recognize the importance of Apocalyptic in Christian theology; Jesus himself went about preaching the good news and warn people to repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near. Secondly, one must take into account that the Jewish Apocalyptic genre of the first couple centuries C.E. is very broad and extends beyond what we have in the Bible. Thirdly, the imagery repeatedly calls upon old motifs. Interestingly, these motifs do hearken back to the format of the Combat Myth.

As an example, Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:54 "When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? utilizes Isaiah 25:6-8 and which is further elaborated in Isaiah 27:1.

In Canannite literature (here I will be quoting from Stories from Ancient Canaan by Coogan and Smith) Mot (Death) in threatening Baal, says "When you killed Litan (Leviathan), the Fleeing Serpent, finished off the Twisting Serpent, the seven-headed monster, the heavens withered and weakened, like the folds of your robe...Now you must descend into the throat of El's son, Death...One lip to the earth, one lip to the heavens, his tongue to the stars..." Baal descends into the Pit one day passes, then two, then Death is defeated by Anat and is processed like grain. Upon his resurrection Baal is restored to his royal throne, the seat of his dominion.

In 1 Cor. 15:54 Mot/Death, the infamous swallower of gods and men becomes swallowed.

Also take Luke's account in consideration, The idea of the Virgin Birth is associated with the titles "son of the Most High and Son of God and with Jesus' claim upon the Davidic throne (Luke 1:32-35); Do not forget the imagery behind the Davidic Throne Psalm 89 "For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, a God feared in the council of the holy ones...You rule the raging of the Sea; when its waves rise, you still them. You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm...I have found my servant David; with my holy oil I have anointed him, my hand shall always remain with him; my arm also shall strengthen him...I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers"

A very good, nuanced, and challenging discussion regarding the sacrifice of Jesus, and other 'Beloved Son(s)', can be found in The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son by Jon D. Levenson.

Quantum Weirdness
01-20-2014, 05:55 PM
El was the common Semitic word for God and Elohim can be a concretized abstract plural to denote Deity (Joel S. Burnett gives a good account of this in Reassessing the Biblical Elohim). There are many factors to consider, including grammar, the particular people in a specific time and place sitz im leben, context within the literary document, etc. I'll give two clear examples; Genesis 14:19-21 "And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High (El Elyon). He blessed [Abram] and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" ...Abram said to the king of Sodom (not Salem)" I have sworn to the Lord, God Most High (El Elyon), maker of heaven and earth..." Melchizedek isn't a priest of a generic god (you can't be a priest of a description), and there appears that the writer of this book knew that, because he has Abram interject Lord (YHWH) prior to El Elyon; even though Exodus 6:2-3 has YHWH speaking to Moses saying he didn't reveal himself to Abram by the name YHWH. A second example is Genesis 33:20 "There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel" El is the God of Israel. If, as you suggest, that this is generic then Jacob erected and named an altar to a generic god and this monotheist didn't mind which god was worshiped here. Remember that Schechem was in the land of Canaan.
Ok they're not generic but they are not proper names. They're descriptive titles of a Deity, not the Deity's actual name. Like Adonai. That's why YHWH modifies EL Elyon in verse 22. Why can't you be a priest of God Most High where God Most high is just a title for YHWH? Does being a daughter of Pharaoh (Exodus 2:5) imply that Pharaoh is a proper name as opposed to being a title? Does being a servant of Her Majesty imply that Her Majesty is a proper name as opposed to being a title?
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+2&version=YLT


Did you have a specific place within that forum that you meant to make a point about Hess? The more frequently used example from Hess on this issue is on William Lane Craig's website Reasonable Faith (http://reasonablefaith.org/jewish-beliefs-about-god).

This was an argument against the positon that Exodus 6 shows that the name YHWH was not known before that point.
I'll quote it specifically.
"Exodus 6:2c–3 appears to be a straightforward assertion that the patriarchs did not know the name Yahweh. Most translations are similar to the following:

“I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name Yahweh I did not make Myself known to them.”

But the Hebrew text, as Francis I. Andersen points out, contains a case of noncontiguous parallelism that translators have not recognized: “I am Yahweh...and my name is Yahweh.” The “not” is therefore assertative in a rhetorical question rather than a simple negative, and it should not be connected to what precedes it (1974:102). In fact, the whole text is set in a poetic, parallel structure beyond what Andersen notes (see fig. 1).

The text does not assert that the patriarchs had never heard of Yahweh or only knew of El Shaddai, although it does say that God showed them the meaning of his name El Shaddai. El Shaddai is preceded by the b essentiae, which implies that God filled the name with special significance for them when He made a covenant with them and promised the land of Canaan as their inheritance (v. 4). Now He is going to fill the name Yahweh with significance (“And My name is Yahweh”) in the even greater deliverance of the Exodus (v. 5). Even so, the text stresses the continuity between the revelation to the patriarchs and the revelation of the Exodus rather than any discontinuity (“Did I not make Myself known to them?”). Andersen’s comments are to the point:

“There is no hint in Exodus that Yahweh was a new name revealed first to Moses. On the contrary, the success of his mission depended on the use of the familiar name for validation by the Israelites” (1974:102).

Figure 1

The Structure of Exodus 6:2c–3

A I am Yahweh.

B And I made myself known to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai.

A’ And My name is Yahweh;

B’ Did I not make Myself known to them?" End Quote
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/09/24/The-Documentary-Hypothesis.aspx#id_7d3177ba-5c2d-45b0-aa46-f6f499fc2d69





I quoted the NRSV; you quoted the NIV. More importantly for this discussion, both the Septuagint and the Qumran scrolls read sons of god in verse nine whereas the Masoretic text reads sons of Israel; I am in agreement with Emanuel Tov that the Masoretic 'sons of Israel' is a theological gloss.
Yeah it is an explanatory note based on Deut 14:1. Since it uses the language of the writer to interpret the language of the writer, this gloss is likely correct in explaining what sons of God meant. (BTW I think these sons of God are the sons of Exodus 1:5 which are 70 in number agreeing with Genesis 11)



I have not read Stark, and will not engage in discussion about his exegesis until I have read his work. .

The argument was against polytheism in Deut 32:8-9.





Interesting article. Note that this is dealing with Chaoskampf mainly in the creation account in Genesis. He is interested in cosmogony. A few quick notes: The connection is made when all three Storm, Sea, and Dragon are coupled together...because they utilize the names and/or characteristics of the deities involved in the West Semitic Combat Myth. YHWH and Baal are interchangeable as the Storm God, Yam or Sea is the antagonist and is often manifest in the Dragon; more specifically the fleeing and twisting serpent (these are used verbatim in the bible to discuss Leviathan. Yahweh took on characteristics of both EL, and there is a lack of polemic against EL in the Bible, but he also took on much of the characteristics of Baal. YHWH is a conglomeration. Peal off the layers of YHWH which were originally associated with El or Baal and what is left?
Once again, just because similar imagery is used doesn't mean that one deity came from another. How do we know that YHWH took on these characteristics as time went on as opposed to originally having them? How do you establish the existence of "layers"?



Sorry, Job 38. The binding of the Sea is coupled with creation.

Where? Job 38:8-11 fit up better with Genesis 1:9-10 and Proverbs 8:29 as opposed to being some "battle".

showmeproof
01-20-2014, 07:47 PM
Ok they're not generic but they are not proper names. They're descriptive titles of a Deity, not the Deity's actual name. Like Adonai. That's why YHWH modifies EL Elyon in verse 22. Why can't you be a priest of God Most High where God Most high is just a title for YHWH?
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+2&version=YLT

If the patriarchs lived in the Late Bronze Age and in the Levant, El would have been known to them as a proper name of a specific god as well as with its generic use. The El of Canaanite religion revealed himself in oracular dreams, lived in a tent/tabernacle on a mountain at the source of the rivers, blessed aging patriarchs with heirs, and had titles like Creator of Creatures, Father of the Gods, Father of Mankind, Eternal One. These are consonant with the use of EL and YHWH within the Hebrew Bible. Do you think it improbable that individuals in Canaan during the late Bronze Age would associate El Shaddai, El Elyon etc. with El? Did all such occurrences really mean Yahweh? Could it have meant Yahweh at that specific time and place?

I agree Elyon is a title, but it is used in combination with EL as well as YHWH. EL and YHWH became equated and were used interchangeably in the Iron Age. In the Late Bronze Age it is an entirely different story. By the Bible's own account Abram was an alien in the land of Canaan...what would make you think that the King of Salem in the Bronze Age worshiped Yahweh?


This was an argument against the positon that Exodus 6 shows that the name YHWH was not known before that point.
I'll quote it specifically.
Figure 1

The Structure of Exodus 6:2c–3
A I am Yahweh.
B And I made myself known to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai.
A’ And My name is Yahweh;
B’ Did I not make Myself known to them?" End Quote
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/09/24/The-Documentary-Hypothesis.aspx#id_7d3177ba-5c2d-45b0-aa46-f6f499fc2d69

This breakdown still supports that God was known by two names; in fact, this verse is a clarification that they, El Shaddai and YHWH, are one and the same. I am not arguing that the Israelites worshiped two different deities; on the contrary El and YHWH were already equated in the Iron Age (the earliest writings of the Hebrew Bible). However, what is interesting is understanding who EL was prior to the conflation. Who El was in the Bronze Age. Who El was in a specific time and place. The Ugaritic texts provide us extra-biblical evidence of El and other gods that predate the Bible. We obviously disagree that the Israelites used El as a proper name; I think there is abundant evidence whereas you only think of El as a title of Yahweh. Historically speaking, how far back do you, and what evidence do you use to support it, trace back the worship of YHWH?


Yeah it is an explanatory note based on Deut 14:1. Since it uses the language of the writer to interpret the language of the writer, this gloss is likely correct in explaining what sons of God meant. (BTW I think these sons of God are the sons of Exodus 1:5 which are 70 in number agreeing with Genesis 11)
It surely explains what the sons of god meant at a certain time (most specifically at the time of the Masoretic text was written 1000 C.E.), but not what it meant in its earliest use. I think the original meaning refers to the sons of EL; other gods. This is evident in explicitly calling them gods, sons of Elyon, in Psalm 82.


Once again, just because similar imagery is used doesn't mean that one deity came from another. How do we know that YHWH took on these characteristics as time went on as opposed to originally having them? How do you establish the existence of "layers"?

Similar imagery certainly means that it was appropriate to use even though it was associated with other gods. You establish the existence of layers by comparing the archaeological and literary record. We have records of other gods with these specific characteristics prior to YHWH. We have records of how this imagery was used by the Israelites. Could evidence be found where YHWH was an entity worshiped with these characteristics prior to our current evidence; sure and it would be fascinating. As it stands the evidence supports that YHWH is imbued with Baal's storm imagery and his defeat of Sea (Yam)/River (Nahar)/Leviathan (Lotan) and Death (Mot).

showmeproof
01-20-2014, 07:55 PM
Thanks for posting this, you are far better read on this than I, but I took a lot of similarities in the characteristics of Baal and Jesus, Particularly with the sacrifice of Baal and his triumph over Mot. That would be New Testament lore as a derivative of Caanonite.

Have you read anything on this comparison/suggested readings?

Forgot other suggested readings for this.

The Apocalyptic Imagination by J.J. Collins
He that Cometh by Sigmund Mowinckel
King and Messiah as Son of God by Adela Yarbro Collins and J.J. Collins
The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son by Jon D. Levenson
also, in Slaying the Dragon, Bernard Batto in an afterword deals specifically with the New Testament (I'll take a look at his bibliography for that chapter to see if there are other good suggested readings that aren't too technical)

damanar
01-20-2014, 08:16 PM
Forgot other suggested readings for this.

The Apocalyptic Imagination by J.J. Collins
He that Cometh by Sigmund Mowinckel
King and Messiah as Son of God by Adela Yarbro Collins and J.J. Collins
The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son by Jon D. Levenson
also, in Slaying the Dragon, Bernard Batto in an afterword deals specifically with the New Testament (I'll take a look at his bibliography for that chapter to see if there are other good suggested readings that aren't too technical)

Thanks, that definitely gives me a starting point. I, too, find the evolution of religions fascinating.

Abigail
01-21-2014, 05:16 AM
The text does not assert that the patriarchs had never heard of Yahweh or only knew of El Shaddai, although it does say that God showed them the meaning of his name El Shaddai. El Shaddai is preceded by the b essentiae, which implies that God filled the name with special significance for them when He made a covenant with them and promised the land of Canaan as their inheritance (v. 4). Now He is going to fill the name Yahweh with significance (“And My name is Yahweh”) in the even greater deliverance of the Exodus (v. 5). Even so, the text stresses the continuity between the revelation to the patriarchs and the revelation of the Exodus rather than any discontinuity (“Did I not make Myself known to them?”). Andersen’s comments are to the point:

“There is no hint in Exodus that Yahweh was a new name revealed first to Moses. On the contrary, the success of his mission depended on the use of the familiar name for validation by the Israelites” (1974:102).



Yes, I would agree with this.

Whatever gods were in the Canaanite pantheon, there would be some overlap with the God of the Bible in descriptions and acts because of the very nature of the way things are. However in the pantheon these are all separate entities (gods) whereas the God of Israel - by definition - contains within Himself all the (good)functions that any god of the pantheon might have had. For example they have a head of the gods and God by definition is head so here we have a 'natural' overlap. The difference is that God gives proof that he is these things by His acts. Abraham knows God as God Most High, God Almighty and this is shown by God making him victorious in battle and giving him a son with Sarah etc. The fact that Abraham calls Him Lord seems consistent with Abraham knowing that all the functions are contained in God. To Moses God reveals Himself specifically as Yahweh because it is in that capacity He is going to do mighty deeds by deliverance from captivity in Egypt and escalating to Jesus' delivering us from sin and death. The imagery in Psalm 74:13-14 can be seen in light of their deliverence from Egypt. God dividing the sea and then letting it fall back over the chariots (sea monsters - not a great leap of logic for them to think of battle transport in this way when you look at imagery on pictures on Phonecian coins of ships with dragon looking heads) and crushing 'the heads of Leviathan' as the death of the eldest sons of the Egyptians (Egyptian headress depicted serpents). It also foreshadows the phrophecy of Christ as given in Genesis 3:15. These seem adequate to explain the imagery.

showmeproof
01-21-2014, 06:33 PM
Yes, I would agree with this.

The difference is that God gives proof that he is these things by His acts. The imagery in Psalm 74:13-14 can be seen in light of their deliverence from Egypt. God dividing the sea and then letting it fall back over the chariots (sea monsters - not a great leap of logic for them to think of battle transport in this way when you look at imagery on pictures on Phonecian coins of ships with dragon looking heads) and crushing 'the heads of Leviathan' as the death of the eldest sons of the Egyptians (Egyptian headress depicted serpents). It also foreshadows the phrophecy of Christ as given in Genesis 3:15. These seem adequate to explain the imagery.

Many acts of God, especially the ones called upon for God to remember, awake, or repeat, are written in the structure of the Combat Myth. Yes, Psalm 74 is recalling the Exodus by utilizing the Combat Myth. There are few theologically more important stories in the Hebrew Bible than the Exodus; why would it be explained in terms that is reminiscent of Baal's victory over the Sea and Leviathan...especially if Baal was a foreign and unacceptable god. YHWH's greatest deeds are remembered in terms of Baal's victory. That is significant. It would be like remembering Jesus' greatest deeds in terms of Satan's deeds. (Quite literally, as Baal is lumped into the figure that we know as Satan)

The dragon imagery has nothing to do with the Egyptian uraei. --For imagery I suggest Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God In Ancient Israel by Keel and Uehlinger.

When would you date the Exodus?

robrecht
01-21-2014, 06:40 PM
Ugaritic. I never got around to learning Ugaritic but some of my closest friends did. And Akkadian, which is much more difficult. I did study Moabite, though, which is very easy. As a Christian who loves the Jewish scriptures, which are also Christian scriptures, there is no reason to fear these ancient texts that cast some light on the background of our scriptures. That is all. Carry on.

showmeproof
01-21-2014, 07:04 PM
Ugaritic. I never got around to learning Ugaritic but some of my closest friends did. And Akkadian, which is much more difficult. I did study Moabite, though, which is very easy. As a Christian who loves the Jewish scriptures, which are also Christian scriptures, there is no reason to fear these ancient texts that cast some light on the background of our scriptures. That is all. Carry on.

I only know how to pick up on some of the more common transliterations, after having read so much. I have not read one of the available grammars. I am fascinated in the texts, quite apart from the content, in that they are alphabetic cuneiform and utilize much of the same poetic meter as early Hebrew. While Proto-Canaanite is most probably older, there are only inscriptions and not a literary corpus (so far). Dennis Pardee's book The Ugaritic Texts and the Origin of West Semitic Literary Composition is very insightful. The Ugaritic Texts provide us the first known alphabetic literature.

Pardee states, "Ugaritic is linguistically archaic...it is demonstrably more closely related to the Canaanite languages than to Aramaic or to Arabic, though its archaic phonology and morphology show significant similarities with both proto-Aramaic and Arabic. They dynasty on the throne of Ugarit was of Amorite origin as is indicated by the onomastic tradition, but we know nothing of the geographical origin of the new dynasty. On this precarious basis, we might expect the culture of Ugarit to show similarities with taht of their Amorite forebears as well as with that of their linguistic cousins, the Canaanites." (pg 25)

Abigail
01-22-2014, 02:48 AM
Many acts of God, especially the ones called upon for God to remember, awake, or repeat, are written in the structure of the Combat Myth. Yes, Psalm 74 is recalling the Exodus by utilizing the Combat Myth. There are few theologically more important stories in the Hebrew Bible than the Exodus; why would it be explained in terms that is reminiscent of Baal's victory over the Sea and Leviathan...especially if Baal was a foreign and unacceptable god. YHWH's greatest deeds are remembered in terms of Baal's victory. That is significant. It would be like remembering Jesus' greatest deeds in terms of Satan's deeds. (Quite literally, as Baal is lumped into the figure that we know as Satan)

Yes the Exodus was very significant and especially significant in my opinion is the connection of the name Yahweh to the deliverance of Israel from bondage. However Noah's flood is also significant - here we have the defeat of violent mankind. Also the account of Babel. In these we have sea and storm and vanquishing of lethal opponents and people who want to replace God with themselves. These are common stories to a time before God called Abraham and so it is not so unlikely that there will be common themes and accounts. Further the location of people will often dictate the imagery they use and in the case of serpents and dragons these seem to have universal appeal as images of power and fear etc. I think you are making a mistake to assume that anyone else using these motifs is a worshipper of the Canaanite gods. My opinion is that these people do have a common root but that their witness of God had become corrupted and this resulted in systems like the Canaanite pantheon which would have been a synthesis of everything and more. There were obviously some who kept truth (Melchizedek). So then it was not Baal who had victory over Sea but God. Should God not use the imagery because someone set up a statue called Baal and attributed God's acts to it.



The dragon imagery has nothing to do with the Egyptian uraei. --For imagery I suggest Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God In Ancient Israel by Keel and Uehlinger.

When would you date the Exodus?

Dragon is an image of speed and strength ie a killing machine

Quantum Weirdness
01-22-2014, 09:38 AM
If the patriarchs lived in the Late Bronze Age and in the Levant, El would have been known to them as a proper name of a specific god as well as with its generic use.

What is in bold is a big assumption and I'm not so sure it is correct.

Quote
"The story of Abram begins in Genesis 11, where his family relationships are recorded (Gn 11:26–32). Terah, Abram’s father, was named after the moon deity worshiped at Ur. Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran, the father of Lot, died before the family left Ur for Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Terah took Lot, Abram, and Abram’s wife Sarai from Ur to go to Canaan, but settled at the city of Haran (Gn 11:31).

And
"Much of the contemporary cultural background has been illumined by archeological discoveries relating to the Middle Bronze period (ca 1950–1550 b.c.) in which Abraham lived. He was apparently born at Ur somewhat after the close of the magnificent 3rd Dynasty (ca 2070–1960 b.c.), and migrated early in the 19th cent b.c. when northern Mesopotamia was under strong Amorite influence. In the Balikh Valley S of Harran sites such as Peleg, Serug, and Terah preserved the names of certain patriarchs, while Nahor occurred in the Mari texts as Nakhur, the location of some Habiru. ... From the archeological evidence it is apparent that Abraham was the product of an advanced culture, and was typical of the upper-class patriarch of his day. His actions are set against a well-authenticated background of non-biblical material, making him a true son of his age who bore the same name and traversed the same general territory, as well as living in the same towns as his contemporaries. He is in every sense a genuine Middle Bronze Age person..

Also
"The Mari texts reflect life in the area during the early 2nd millennium b.c. very similar to that of the biblical patriarchs. Its continuous occupation may be due to its strategic position at the crossroads of trade routes going between the major commercial centers of that part of the world. This fits well with the biblical account of Abraham’s prosperity, and the ease with which the patriarchs traveled and sent messengers to the area after settling in Canaan (cf. Gen. 24)"

Finally
""Abraham then moved to Harran in northern Syria (upper Mesopotamia), and it is to this region that he sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac and to which Jacob went for the same purpose. Once again, personal and place names found in this area (e.g., Serug, Terah, Nahor, Jacob) echo those in Genesis. Particularly striking proof of the antiquity of the biblical tradition are names like Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob, which are Amorite imperfects. De Vaux observes that the names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob “belong to onomastic types which were well known before the Israelites emerged as a people and, what is more, they appeared in the very regions from which the patriarchs came according to the Bible.” “One is bound to conclude that these traditions have a firm historical basis” (Early History, 199, 200). More recently A. Malamat (Mari, 31) has affirmed that the patriarchal names common to Mari and the OT constitute “a most potent argument in favour of the antiquity of Israel’s proto-historical core.”.. The Amorite background of the patriarchs may explain their close relationship with the Arameans (e.g., Laban’s family), who were probably descended from the Amorites who appeared to have settled in this area in the early second millennium (cf. de Vaux, Early History, 200–209). Another striking feature of the patriarchs is their lifestyle. They are not bedouin who migrate across deserts on camels, nor are they traders on donkeys, although they own donkeys and keep to the trade routes. Rather, they are seminomadic: they move from place to place when the situation demands it but stay for longish periods in one place making agreements with local townspeople. Their main occupation is keeping flocks and herds, but sometimes they sow and raise crops. Studies by Rowton (OrAnt 15 [1976] 17–31) and Malamat (JNES 35 [1976] 13–20) suggest that patriarchal society was dimorphic, i.e., a tribal grouping partially settled in towns or villages but partially on the move with their flocks. Such social groupings have doubtless existed throughout Middle Eastern history, but it is striking that the texts from Mari (c. 1700 b.c.), which lies between Ur and Harran, exemplify this type of existence. Not only does patriarchal society seem to be organized like Mari’s, but many Mari terms (e.g., pasture land, inheritance, tribes, leaders; cf. Malamat, Mari, 33) find parallels in the Bible. While it would be wrong to insist that these parallels demonstrate that the patriarchal age is contemporary with Mari, as dimorphism is a recurrent phenomenon, the differences between patriarchal society and that of the monarchy period in Israel suggest that Genesis enshrines valid historical reminiscence of earlier times." End Quote
http://www.christianthinktank.com/abespeak.html

And yeah, I'm fairly sure the Israelites knew of El (the Canaanite god?).

Rational Gaze
01-22-2014, 02:18 PM
Please share the sizeable body of evidence that contradicts this hypothesis.
You mean aside from the fact that the differences between the Bible and the written texts you are comparing them to considerably outweigh the similarities?


Which assumptions are unwarranted, which are highly questionable? Please be precise.
Well, you've made the assumption that the existence of similarities necessarily entails copying or borrowing. You've made the assumption that El refers exclusively to the head of the Canaanite pantheon. What if it is being used in the same way as the word God? The name Baal, for example, referred to a variety of deities and could simply mean 'Lord' (i.e. in the religious sense.) Modern Arabs who aren't Muslims use the name Allah to refer to the God they believe in (which has led to certain Muslim authorities seeking to protect usage of the name Allah.)


Myth will here be defined, following Bernard Batto, "A narrative (story) concerning fundamental symbols that are constitutive of or paradigmatic for human existence." In our discussion here I argue that The West Semitic Combat Myth is the fundamental set of symbols used to describe Israelite existence.
Ah, good. Just as long as you're not fallaciously using the term 'myth' as a synonym for 'fiction.' I'm too used to dealing with historically illiterate buffoons who just through the term around unqualified as if just saying the word means that the Biblical accounts are necessarily false.

I see no problem with the claim that certain parts of the Bible follow certain narrative forms, and bears similarities with literature from the same regions. It's where one goes from there, however, that I am concerned with. I find it questionable that a single narrative form could be the basis for an entire body of literature, a body of literature that covers a variety of genres and spans multiple centuries.

Quantum Weirdness
01-22-2014, 06:11 PM
The El of Canaanite religion revealed himself in oracular dreams, lived in a tent/tabernacle on a mountain at the source of the rivers, blessed aging patriarchs with heirs, and had titles like Creator of Creatures, Father of the Gods, Father of Mankind, Eternal One. These are consonant with the use of EL and YHWH within the Hebrew Bible. Do you think it improbable that individuals in Canaan during the late Bronze Age would associate El Shaddai, El Elyon etc. with El? Did all such occurrences really mean Yahweh? Could it have meant Yahweh at that specific time and place?).


-YHWH didn't live in a tent/tabernacle on a mountain at the source of rivers (at least according to the biblical texts).
-But YHWH didn't just reveal himself in oracular dreams. He actually spoke with Moses face to face. Besides, aren't a large number of deities supposed to communicate with dreams. I'm not so sure how good a parallel this is.
-Heirs were one of the most important things in the ANE. Any head God would be expected to do this. Not a strong parallel at all.
-Of the four titles given, only the last one applies to YHWH. I'm not so sure he was given any of the other titles.



I agree Elyon is a title, but it is used in combination with EL as well as YHWH. EL and YHWH became equated and were used interchangeably in the Iron Age. In the Late Bronze Age it is an entirely different story. By the Bible's own account Abram was an alien in the land of Canaan...what would make you think that the King of Salem in the Bronze Age worshiped Yahweh?

Well the text identifies God most high with YHWH so I would say that makes me think he worshipped YHWH. Also, there are a couple names in Genesis based on YHWH so I wouldn't say that the name YHWH was not known during the time period. However, I will say that there is no extrabiblical reference to YHWH in the Middle Bronze age. Apparently the earliest we have is in Egypt around 1300-1400 B.C.
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/03/08/The-Name-Yahweh-in-Egyptian-Hieroglyphic-Texts.aspx

I don't think there is any evidence to split El and YHWH. Since YHWH is used in combination with El Elyon in Genesis 14:22, it seems that either YHWH or El was the name of the deity. And since we know El can be generic, I say YHWH is the name of the deity.




This breakdown still supports that God was known by two names; in fact, this verse is a clarification that they, El Shaddai and YHWH, are one and the same. I am not arguing that the Israelites worshiped two different deities; on the contrary El and YHWH were already equated in the Iron Age (the earliest writings of the Hebrew Bible). However, what is interesting is understanding who EL was prior to the conflation. Who El was in the Bronze Age. Who El was in a specific time and place. The Ugaritic texts provide us extra-biblical evidence of El and other gods that predate the Bible. We obviously disagree that the Israelites used El as a proper name; I think there is abundant evidence whereas you only think of El as a title of Yahweh. Historically speaking, how far back do you, and what evidence do you use to support it, trace back the worship of YHWH?

Again, not so sure there is a conflation at all. To show that there is, you need to show very specific matches between the deities and not just generic ones that would be expected by any supreme God.
On evidence, I'll say as far back as Abraham on the basis of the book of Genesis (It already got other characteristics right about the Middle bronze age).



It surely explains what the sons of god meant at a certain time (most specifically at the time of the Masoretic text was written 1000 C.E.), but not what it meant in its earliest use. I think the original meaning refers to the sons of EL; other gods. This is evident in explicitly calling them gods, sons of Elyon, in Psalm 82.

The word for "gods" isn't just used for "supernatural" (for lack of a better term) beings. It is also used of humans (the word for judges)
Exodus 22:8-9
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+22%3A8-9%2CDeuteronomy+17%3A9%2CDeuteronomy+19%3A17%2CDeu teronomy+25%3A1&version=NIV
http://www.studylight.org/lex/heb/hwview.cgi?n=430
Also, Exodus 7:1

Also in light of what Jesus said, it's likely a reference to humans who had been appointed gods (like Moses)



Similar imagery certainly means that it was appropriate to use even though it was associated with other gods. You establish the existence of layers by comparing the archaeological and literary record. We have records of other gods with these specific characteristics prior to YHWH. We have records of how this imagery was used by the Israelites. Could evidence be found where YHWH was an entity worshiped with these characteristics prior to our current evidence; sure and it would be fascinating. As it stands the evidence supports that YHWH is imbued with Baal's storm imagery and his defeat of Sea (Yam)/River (Nahar)/Leviathan (Lotan) and Death (Mot).

Yes similar cultures use similar imagery precisely because they come from similar cultures. You would expect YHWH to have the same powers as a storm god if he was omnipotent but also much more. Saying that YHWH did something that Baal supposedly did served as polemic against Baal, not a copying or modification of Baal.
It shows YHWH superior to Baal and this is to be expected since the Israelites lived around Baal-worshippers.

On the bolded part
Is this the JEDP thesis?

showmeproof
01-23-2014, 05:06 PM
Quantum Weirdness,

Just acknowledging your post. Do not have time for a substantive reply until maybe Saturday.

showmeproof
01-24-2014, 09:34 PM
What is in bold is a big assumption and I'm not so sure it is correct.
"Much of the contemporary cultural background has been illumined by archeological discoveries relating to the Middle Bronze period (ca 1950–1550 b.c.) He is in every sense a genuine Middle Bronze Age person..
I can agree with this statement in a narrative sense. However, historically speaking we do not have evidence for the Abraham. We can certainly discuss the culture of that era; and the Bible does contain narratives consistent with familiarity with the Bronze Age. My statement indicating the Late Bronze Age had not to do with Abraham himself, but rather Abraham and his sons up to the point of an Exodus tradition. Just for clarification what date for the Exodus do you think the evidence supports?


Also
"The Mari texts reflect life in the area during the early 2nd millennium b.c. very similar to that of the biblical patriarchs.
Mari is a very interesting place for a variety of reasons. There are personal names that include the same root, *hwy, as Yahweh. Although we do not have evidence for a deity Yahweh being worshiped at that time, these names can be argued to be Yahwistic on semantic grounds. (Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts, Huffmon pg 72). Also the mural of the Investiture of Zimri-Lim is very reminiscent of an Eden-like narrative--though in a non-Yahwistic context. Abraham Malamaat goes as far as declaring it a "veritable garden of Eden" in Mari and the Early Israelite Experience. Ugarit was known in the texts at Mari and Mari likewise at Ugarit. My point remains that the patriarchs would have been familiar with the gods and stories, including the Combat Myth, that was indicative of Bronze Age Semites. The Combat Myth predates the earliest Yahwist and was originally associated with other gods.

showmeproof
01-24-2014, 11:08 PM
YHWH didn't live in a tent/tabernacle on a mountain at the source of rivers (at least according to the biblical texts).
-But YHWH didn't just reveal himself in oracular dreams. He actually spoke with Moses face to face. Besides, aren't a large number of deities supposed to communicate with dreams. I'm not so sure how good a parallel this is.
-Heirs were one of the most important things in the ANE. Any head God would be expected to do this. Not a strong parallel at all.
-Of the four titles given, only the last one applies to YHWH. I'm not so sure he was given any of the other titles.
Yahweh lived in a tent/tabernacle (Exodus 26) it is called the tent of meeting (exodus 33:7-11; Numbers 12:5,10; Deut. 31:14,15) and revealed himself on Sinai/Horeb/Zion. The temple replaces the tent of meeting and its eshatological replacement in Ezekiel 47 explicitly has a spring ushering forth that brings Yahweh's blessings. "Furthermore, the dwelling of El is set amid the cosmic waters (KTU 12 III4; 1.3 V 6; 1.4 IV 20-22; 1.17 V 47-48), a them evoked in descriptions of Yahweh's abode in Jerusalem (Pss. 47:5; 87; Isa. 33:20-22; Ezek.47:1-12; Joel 4:18; Zech. 14:8) (The Early History of God, Smith pg 39-40). Yes many of these are descriptive of the Head God of ANE cultures; Yahweh included.


Well the text identifies God most high with YHWH so I would say that makes me think he worshipped YHWH. Also, there are a couple names in Genesis based on YHWH so I wouldn't say that the name YHWH was not known during the time period. However, I will say that there is no extrabiblical reference to YHWH in the Middle Bronze age. Apparently the earliest we have is in Egypt around 1300-1400 B.C.

Yes the text does equate El Elyon and El Shaddai with YHWH. This is not disputed. The dispute is whether when this equation occurred. The texts of the Hebrew bible were not written in any part of the Bronze Age. They start being written in the Early Iron Age and continued to be written for another thousand years. The traditions go back further and this is why we see EL in the Hebrew Bible and why the clarification is needed in Exodus 6:2-3.


I don't think there is any evidence to split El and YHWH. Since YHWH is used in combination with El Elyon in Genesis 14:22, it seems that either YHWH or El was the name of the deity. And since we know El can be generic, I say YHWH is the name of the deity.
The evidence is that we know of a deity EL separate from YHWH; a deity whose provenance as evidenced by archaeology goes back further than YHWH's roots . Furthermore, we can see the conglomeration of characteristics of both El and Baal in the figure of YHWH. El is the acceptably used by the Israelites to denote and describe YHWH , the real interesting part is in YHWH's appropriation of Baal's exploits, contrasted against Baal's heavy polemicization in the Hebrew Bible, as evidenced in his storm theophany and the Combat Myth. El can be specific, El can be a proper name, and it is this name that is said to have been known by the patriarchs in Ex. 6:2-3. I do not dispute that the name YHWH appears in Genesis. I am merely talking of the evidence we have available for the Middle to Late Bronze Age.


The word for "gods" isn't just used for "supernatural" (for lack of a better term) beings. It is also used of humans (the word for judges)
Exodus 22:8-9 You did not deal with the sons of god as used in Deuteronomy 32:7-8 or Psalm 89. These sons of god, who are in the divine circle, are not referent to humans.


Also in light of what Jesus said, it's likely a reference to humans who had been appointed gods (like Moses)
we're not talking Jesus right now. He's still >1,000 years after the discussion at hand. We can, and I intend to, discuss Jewish and Christian apocalyptic and Jesus' rebuking the sea and defeating death in detail later.



Yes similar cultures use similar imagery precisely because they come from similar cultures. You would expect YHWH to have the same powers as a storm god if he was omnipotent but also much more. Saying that YHWH did something that Baal supposedly did served as polemic against Baal, not a copying or modification of Baal.
It shows YHWH superior to Baal and this is to be expected since the Israelites lived around Baal-worshippers. Again, I am not arguing that the Israelites of the Iron Age thought that YHWH wasn't superior to Baal (though Hosea and some of the other prophets were awfully concerned that Baal was so elevated)...I am concerned with the cultural background from which the Israelites drew their imagery from and why they chose to do so and why they thought it appropriate. You wouldn't appropriate Satan's imagery for Jesus would you?
On the bolded part
Is this the JEDP thesis?[/QUOTE]
No. This is what Ziony Zevit would term a Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches. Use all the data you can from as many fields of study as you can to shed light on historical reconstructions. You are starting from a perspective that YHWH is projected back to the beggining of time, when this is clearly not the case archaeologically speaking. You are correct in stating that the Shasu of YW is the earliest attestation of Yahweh (though see the personal names from Mari), but you go further and make a theological claim that YHWH always was. Let's talk history and history of theology and implications of these on theology.

Quantum Weirdness
01-25-2014, 06:50 AM
I can agree with this statement in a narrative sense. However, historically speaking we do not have evidence for the Abraham. We can certainly discuss the culture of that era; and the Bible does contain narratives consistent with familiarity with the Bronze Age. My statement indicating the Late Bronze Age had not to do with Abraham himself, but rather Abraham and his sons up to the point of an Exodus tradition. Just for clarification what date for the Exodus do you think the evidence supports?


The exodus in my opinion occurred nearing the end of the Middle Bronze age.
see http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?119-The-Exodus-and-the-Conquest-s-Historicity



Mari is a very interesting place for a variety of reasons. There are personal names that include the same root, *hwy, as Yahweh. Although we do not have evidence for a deity Yahweh being worshiped at that time, these names can be argued to be Yahwistic on semantic grounds. (Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts, Huffmon pg 72). Also the mural of the Investiture of Zimri-Lim is very reminiscent of an Eden-like narrative--though in a non-Yahwistic context. Abraham Malamaat goes as far as declaring it a "veritable garden of Eden" in Mari and the Early Israelite Experience. Ugarit was known in the texts at Mari and Mari likewise at Ugarit. My point remains that the patriarchs would have been familiar with the gods and stories, including the Combat Myth, that was indicative of Bronze Age Semites. The Combat Myth predates the earliest Yahwist and was originally associated with other gods.

Didn't know that (the stuff you wrote in the bolded part). Apparently, Abraham knew the name of YHWH
Genesis 22:14
http://www.studylight.org/lex/heb/hwview.cgi?n=3068

They definitely were familiar with the gods and stories. Like I am familiar with Hindu stories of gods. That doesn't mean that their God is derived from other deities.

Quantum Weirdness
01-25-2014, 06:54 AM
Yahweh lived in a tent/tabernacle (Exodus 26) it is called the tent of meeting (exodus 33:7-11; Numbers 12:5,10; Deut. 31:14,15) and revealed himself on Sinai/Horeb/Zion. The temple replaces the tent of meeting and its eshatological replacement in Ezekiel 47 explicitly has a spring ushering forth that brings Yahweh's blessings. "Furthermore, the dwelling of El is set amid the cosmic waters (KTU 12 III4; 1.3 V 6; 1.4 IV 20-22; 1.17 V 47-48), a them evoked in descriptions of Yahweh's abode in Jerusalem (Pss. 47:5; 87; Isa. 33:20-22; Ezek.47:1-12; Joel 4:18; Zech. 14:8) (The Early History of God, Smith pg 39-40). Yes many of these are descriptive of the Head God of ANE cultures; Yahweh included.

The bolded seems a strained parallel. YHWH was present in the tent/tabernacle but in the form of a Hypostasis. If El was ever worshipped in a temple, I would expect El to be conceived of in a similar manner because other pagan deities were worshipped in the same way.
Quote:

""The ancient Mesopotamians had a very concrete concept of those images: mysteriously, they were, or contained, the personality they represented. The entire beginning of the poem How Erra Wrecked the World details the efforts of that god of sinister designs to convince Marduk to "leave" his cult statue (a core of rare wood, covered with sheets of stamped precious metal), so that, Erra suggested, it might be conveniently "cleaned" and restored to all its former brilliance, tarnished over time. When, in the end, Marduk allowed himself to be convinced, "he arose from his dwelling," both his statue and the sanctuary that sheltered it, thus opening the way for the misdeeds of the violent Erra, whom his presence would have deterred. Mysteriously, but true, in fact, in the eyes of the faithful, the god's image "enclosed" his person and ensured his "true presence." It was in the name of the same "realism" that, for example, the gods were moved around, in the form of their images, transported by cart or by boat, intra muros or beyond, to visit other divinities or even, lying side by side in their closed "bedroom," to spend their honeymoon night together, as in the hieros gamos of the first millennium. In the case of military defeat, the gods' images—as well as the kings'— were deported abroad by the conquerors." [OT:RIAM, 65; Bottero]

"The form of the image, especially of the theriomorphic examples, frequently represented some prominent characteristic of the particular deity; thus an image of a bull (e.g. of El in Cannann) (MY NOTE : I presume this to be a misspelling or alternate spelling of Canaan) portrayed the god’s power and fertility. The image was not primarily intended as a visual representation of the deity, but as a dwelling-place of the spirit of the deity enabling the god to be physically present in many different places simultaneously. A worshipper praying before an image would not necessarily accept that his prayers were being offered to the figure of wood or metal itself, but would probably have regarded the image as a ‘projection’ or embodiment of the deity. Of course, those in Israel who denied any reality to the deity represented by the image maintained that the worshippers of foreign deities were paying homage to mere wood and stone." [Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (498–499). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.]

"ancient Near Eastern beliefs about and treatment of idols. Idols came in a variety of shapes and sizes in the ancient Near East. They were typically carved of wood and overlaid with hammered-out sheets of silver or gold. Basically human in appearance (except those from Egypt, which combined human and animal characteristics), they had distinctive, even formalized, poses, clothing and hairstyles. Images of deity in the ancient Near East were where the deity became present in a special way, to the extent that the cult statue became the god (when the god so favored his worshipers), even though it was not the only manifestation of the god. Rituals were performed to bring the god to life in its idol. As a result of this linkage, spells, incantations and other magical acts could be performed on the image in order to threaten, bind or compel the deity. In contrast, other rites related to the image were intended to aid the deity or care for the deity. The idols then represent a worldview, a concept of deity that was not consistent with how Yahweh had revealed himself. The idol was not the deity, but the deity was thought to inhabit the image and manifest its presence and will through the image. Archaeologists have found very few of the life-sized images that the texts describe, but there are renderings of them that allow accurate knowledge of details. The images of deities in Mesopotamia were fed, dressed and even washed daily. Food sacrifices were brought to the deity on a daily basis (and were no doubt eaten by the temple technicians). Other attendants were required to dress and undress the statue, and still others were employed to wash the statue and transport it in times of celebration." [Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary : Old Testament (electronic ed.) (Je 10:5). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

"…the construction of Babylonian cult images. The images were made from the wood of special trees, generally that of the mesu or binu trees. The shapes of the images followed some acknowledged conventions. They generally had human shapes and proportions; they were manufactured in special temple workshops; they underwent secret nocturnal ceremonies in which they were "endowed with life;" their eyes and ears were "opened" so that they could see and eat; and in a ceremony described as "washing of the mouth" or "opening of the mouth," they were invigorated, endowed with a special sanctity. In this manner, they became animated, sacrilized and operative in a cultic sense. The objective of these ceremonies was to return the man-made image to the mythic origins of the deity represented, to ritually purge any connection with human manufacture through rituals and recitations, to empower its senses, to determine its destiny and thus to effect a change in the substance of the image. Once transubstantiated, it became the god that it represented. … Although the cult statue was completely identified with the god, the ubiquitous god was not restricted to the local image. The image, mystically united with the god, was his local theophany, the real, immanent presence of transcendent reality. Its manufacture was explained mythically as an expression of divine will and according to divine design" [OT:RAI, 525f]

"They cut a tree … a craftsman shapes it with his chisel (10:3). The manufacture of idols was common in the ancient Near East. Images of deities were hewn out of stone, carved out of wood, modeled in clay, or cast in bronze. Some were four to ten inches high; others were life-size. Here Jeremiah refers to images chiseled out of wood and then overlaid with silver and gold and clothed in blue and purple. These idols were seen as more than merely representing a deity, but at the same time they were not identified wholly with the deity. The ancient Near Eastern person worshiped the deity they believed was present in the image, not the image itself." [fn: T. Jacobsen, “The Graven Image,” in Ancient Israelite Religion, ed. P. Miller, P. Hanson and S. D. McBride (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1987),p18] [Walton, J. H. (2009). Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament) Volume 4: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel (260). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

"The impression above is from a cylinder seal of the time of Naram-Sin engraved at Lagash. A believer followed by a goddess approaches a seated vegetation and fertility goddess. Behind her on a high socle stands a miniature image of the same deity. As the original publisher of this seal observed, "une statue, une veritable idole, a cote de la representation en quelque sorte vivante de la divinite." This seal graphically highlights the complex relationship between the cult image and the deity represented, one of identity and difference." [OT:ILANE, pp 111-116, "The Relationship between the Cult Image and the Deity in Mesopotamia" by Michael B. Dick]

"Therefore it seems that generally the gods may have a (superhuman shape, but that they also remain invisible in their heaven. This brings us to a difficulty: what is the status of the statues of the gods? We know that they were regarded as somehow identical to the gods themselves: they are clothed and fed and generally cared for as if they were living beings. " [OT:WIAG, Herman Vanstiphout, "Die Geschopfe des Prometheus, or How and Why Did the Sumerians Create their Gods", 25-27]
http://www.christianthinktank.com/idle1.html
End Quote

Note the one about El. This is what is comparable to YHWH being in the tent/tabernacle. However, this parallel is generic and is not useful in making the case that YHWH was derived (in some way) from El.

He also revealed himself in other places. The fact that he revealed himself on Sinai is not special at all. Interestingly, the text that says he revealed himself on Sinai (Exodus 19) implies that he didn't live on Sinai.

The water in Ezekiel is likely symbolic as in Joel 3:18

http://www.studylight.org/lex/heb/hwview.cgi?n=4599

Regarding the titles, it is expected that deities like El and YHWH would share certain generic titles (such as Eternal One) even if they didn't influence each other (this is primarily due to their characteristics). But that seems to be the only one they share. We also have differences such as El having sex to create other gods and goddesses and getting drunk.

showmeproof
01-25-2014, 09:01 AM
The bolded seems a strained parallel. YHWH was present in the tent/tabernacle but in the form of a Hypostasis. If El was ever worshipped in a temple, I would expect El to be conceived of in a similar manner because other pagan deities were worshipped in the same way.
The bolded does not seem strained to historians of the ANE. What is your point in the large blocks of quotes? Yahweh was manifest in his tabernacle and the arc was capped by a mercy seat where he could 'sit'. The arc and the tabernacle were moved and when enemies defeated Israel they took the arc.


The idols then represent a worldview, a concept of deity that was not consistent with how Yahweh had revealed himself.
Although an anionic tradition was developed he was still thought to be manifest in his holies of holies, when he pleased, just like other ANE gods; and was provided a throne on which to sit. Blood, burnt animal, and drink offering were given Yahweh.



Note the one about El. This is what is comparable to YHWH being in the tent/tabernacle. However, this parallel is generic and is not useful in making the case that YHWH was derived (in some way) from El.
Not alone, but given that he is explicitly equated with EL in the Bible, that he had asherah in his temple (which I will argue are the lampstand/menorah based on the imagery of the reverse side of Pithos A, Lachish ewer, the Tanaach Cult Stand, the arch of Titus, and the description given in both Exodus 25:31-39 and their number given in 1 King 7:49 [10 lampstands with 7 lamps apiece=70] that he is coupled with Asherah in the Kuntillet Arjud and Khirbet el'Qom inscriptions), that he is described as an "aged patrarchial god (ps. 102:28; job 36:26; Isa. 40:28; Ps 90:4-6; Isa. 57:15; Hab. 3:6; Dan. 7:9; 2 Esdras 8:20; Tobit 13:6, 10; Ben Sira 18:30), enthrnoned amidst the assembly of divine beings (1 Kings 22:19; Isa. 6:1-8; Ps 29:1-2, 82:1; 89:5-8; Isa. 14:13; Jer. 23:18,22; Zechariah 3; Dan. 3:25). Daniel 79-14,22 describe Yahweh as bearded, Ancient of Days, and Elyon while being enthroned before the assembly who are literally called the holy ones of the Elyon the same term used in Ps 89:6; Hos 12:1, Zech. 14.5 and which is also used to describe the sons of Elyon in Canaanite literature. (Mark S. Smith)


Regarding the titles, it is expected that deities like El and YHWH would share certain generic titles (such as Eternal One) even if they didn't influence each other (this is primarily due to their characteristics). But that seems to be the only one they share. We also have differences such as El having sex to create other gods and goddesses and getting drunk.
El is indeed described as getting drunk in a text that includes a remedy to hangover; this is not in the mythological texts proper, the cycles, but is included in magical texts with incantation. We have no reason to suspect from the mythological texts that his is a drunkard. They do have differences and that is part of the fun of tracking how the two do differ in order to see what of EL was retained in the figure of YHWH. While we do not have an explicit sex scene with Yahweh in the Bible, he is the Father of the sons of god whom he allots inheritance. He is also coupled with Asherah, El's consort, in extra-biblical evidence.

shunyadragon
01-25-2014, 12:19 PM
The exodus in my opinion occurred nearing the end of the Middle Bronze age.
see http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?119-The-Exodus-and-the-Conquest-s-Historicity

The first reference to Israelites in Egypt is ~1200 BCE, see response in your thread. When Egypt conquered Canaan and the region.




Didn't know that (the stuff you wrote in the bolded part). Apparently, Abraham knew the name of YHWH
Genesis 22:14
http://www.studylight.org/lex/heb/hwview.cgi?n=3068

They definitely were familiar with the gods and stories. Like I am familiar with Hindu stories of gods. That doesn't mean that their God is derived from other deities.

The reference to Gods is within the early culture and not an awareness of other beliefs.

Quantum Weirdness
01-25-2014, 02:32 PM
Yes the text does equate El Elyon and El Shaddai with YHWH. This is not disputed. The dispute is whether when this equation occurred. The texts of the Hebrew bible were not written in any part of the Bronze Age. They start being written in the Early Iron Age and continued to be written for another thousand years. The traditions go back further and this is why we see EL in the Hebrew Bible and why the clarification is needed in Exodus 6:2-3.

That in bold is disputable. About Exodus 6:2-3, see below.



The evidence is that we know of a deity EL separate from YHWH; a deity whose provenance as evidenced by archaeology goes back further than YHWH's roots . Furthermore, we can see the conglomeration of characteristics of both El and Baal in the figure of YHWH. El is the acceptably used by the Israelites to denote and describe YHWH , the real interesting part is in YHWH's appropriation of Baal's exploits, contrasted against Baal's heavy polemicization in the Hebrew Bible, as evidenced in his storm theophany and the Combat Myth. El can be specific, El can be a proper name, and it is this name that is said to have been known by the patriarchs in Ex. 6:2-3. I do not dispute that the name YHWH appears in Genesis. I am merely talking of the evidence we have available for the Middle to Late Bronze Age.

Again El Elyon/Shaddai is not a name but a title. And yes, it seems clear that they did know the name YHWH (Genesis 22:14 for instance). About that Exodus 6 thing. Again.
Quote

"In Exodus 3:13–15, Moses asks God His name, and is told first that God is the “I am,” and then that he should tell the Israelites that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, sent Moses to them. God adds that Yahweh is the name by which He is to be worshiped forever.

The text hardly says that no one had ever heard the name Yahweh before this time. If that were the intention, one would find something like, “No longer will you call Me the God of your fathers; from now on My name is Yahweh,” similar to Genesis 17:5, 15. Rather, the text asserts that the name Yahweh will have new significance because of the mighty act of the Exodus. The people will now see that Yahweh is present with them.

Exodus 6:2c–3 appears to be a straightforward assertion that the patriarchs did not know the name Yahweh. Most translations are similar to the following:

“I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name Yahweh I did not make Myself known to them.”

But the Hebrew text, as Francis I. Andersen points out, contains a case of noncontiguous parallelism that translators have not recognized: “I am Yahweh...and my name is Yahweh.” The “not” is therefore assertative in a rhetorical question rather than a simple negative, and it should not be connected to what precedes it (1974:102). In fact, the whole text is set in a poetic, parallel structure beyond what Andersen notes (see fig. 1).

The text does not assert that the patriarchs had never heard of Yahweh or only knew of El Shaddai, although it does say that God showed them the meaning of his name El Shaddai. El Shaddai is preceded by the b essentiae, which implies that God filled the name with special significance for them when He made a covenant with them and promised the land of Canaan as their inheritance (v. 4). Now He is going to fill the name Yahweh with significance (“And My name is Yahweh”) in the even greater deliverance of the Exodus (v. 5). Even so, the text stresses the continuity between the revelation to the patriarchs and the revelation of the Exodus rather than any discontinuity (“Did I not make Myself known to them?”). Andersen’s comments are to the point:

“There is no hint in Exodus that Yahweh was a new name revealed first to Moses. On the contrary, the success of his mission depended on the use of the familiar name for validation by the Israelites” (1974:102).

Figure 1

The Structure of Exodus 6:2c–3

A I am Yahweh.

B And I made myself known to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai.

A’ And My name is Yahweh;

B’ Did I not make Myself known to them?"
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/09/24/The-Documentary-Hypothesis.aspx#id_7d3177ba-5c2d-45b0-aa46-f6f499fc2d69
End Quote



You did not deal with the sons of god as used in Deuteronomy 32:7-8 or Psalm 89. These sons of god, who are in the divine circle, are not referent to humans.

I did deal with Deut 32:8-9 by comparing it to Deut 14:1
Psalm 89 uses it in the sense of Angels. (Sons of God had two meanings: 1) Angels and 2) Human beings [e.g. Deut 14:1])

N.B. Psalm 82 said "you are gods" which seems to allude back to Exodus 22 which refers to human judges.



we're not talking Jesus right now. He's still >1,000 years after the discussion at hand. We can, and I intend to, discuss Jewish and Christian apocalyptic and Jesus' rebuking the sea and defeating death in detail later.

I'm using Jesus' interpretation because he would have likely known the Jewish traditions behind this passage.



. Again, I am not arguing that the Israelites of the Iron Age thought that YHWH wasn't superior to Baal (though Hosea and some of the other prophets were awfully concerned that Baal was so elevated)...I am concerned with the cultural background from which the Israelites drew their imagery from and why they chose to do so and why they thought it appropriate. You wouldn't appropriate Satan's imagery for Jesus would you?


No because Jesus and Satan would have extremely little in common and thus, would have different imagery associated with each of them. On the other hand, YHWH and Baal are both deities so they would have things in common and thus, similar imagery to compare.
To put it another way, comparing Jesus and Satan is like comparing apples and oranges and comparing YHWH and Baal is like comparing different T.V sets.
If Jesus and Satan were ever said to have comparable characteristics, then I would have no problem with comparing Jesus and Satan.



No. This is what Ziony Zevit would term a Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches. Use all the data you can from as many fields of study as you can to shed light on historical reconstructions. You are starting from a perspective that YHWH is projected back to the beggining of time, when this is clearly not the case archaeologically speaking. You are correct in stating that the Shasu of YW is the earliest attestation of Yahweh (though see the personal names from Mari), but you go further and make a theological claim that YHWH always was. Let's talk history and history of theology and implications of these on theology.

Yes use all the data, including the literary ones (e.g. Genesis 22:14). And if the root is found as far back as Mari and Genesis suggests that Abraham knew of YHWH, then I'm not so sure it's a stretch to say that YHWH was quite possibly known at the time of Abraham.

Quantum Weirdness
01-25-2014, 04:54 PM
The bolded does not seem strained to historians of the ANE. What is your point in the large blocks of quotes? Yahweh was manifest in his tabernacle and the arc was capped by a mercy seat where he could 'sit'. The arc and the tabernacle were moved and when enemies defeated Israel they took the arc..

The point was that the "parallel" here is not exactly good. If we had something saying that YHWH dwelt on Mount Lel, then it would be good. But we have YHWH doing a different action (revelation as opposed to dwelling) on a different mountain (Mount Sinai vs Mount Lel). The parallel would then be something like
"Both YHWH and El had associations with mountains and both were worshipped in a temple/tabernacle where they were believed to be present"
which is just too meaningless a good parallel. Even then, you had to perform a ritual for El to be present while YHWH seems to be present all the time. As for scholars of the ancient ANE supporting this, there were also scholars who supported the pagan copycat thesis. Most no longer do.



Although an anionic tradition was developed he was still thought to be manifest in his holies of holies, when he pleased, just like other ANE gods; and was provided a throne on which to sit. Blood, burnt animal, and drink offering were given Yahweh. .
Yep. But for different reasons. Pagan deities were hungry and thirsty. YHWH wasn't. It was for atonement for sin generally. He was conceived of as a king, so it's obvious that kingly imagery would be used for him.



Not alone, but given that he is explicitly equated with EL in the Bible, that he had asherah in his temple (which I will argue are the lampstand/menorah based on the imagery of the reverse side of Pithos A, Lachish ewer, the Tanaach Cult Stand, the arch of Titus, and the description given in both Exodus 25:31-39 and their number given in 1 King 7:49 [10 lampstands with 7 lamps apiece=70] that he is coupled with Asherah in the Kuntillet Arjud and Khirbet el'Qom inscriptions),.

Good luck with this since the Torah explicitly condemns Asherah. Yes he is coupled with Asherah in other places but this represents a departure from a religious tradition according to the biblical text (see Jeremiah for instance)



that he is described as an "aged patrarchial god (ps. 102:28; job 36:26; Isa. 40:28; Ps 90:4-6; Isa. 57:15; Hab. 3:6; Dan. 7:9; 2 Esdras 8:20; Tobit 13:6, 10; Ben Sira 18:30), .

Wisdom is something expected of a Deity like him (omniscience and all). Wisdom was also a good thing for Good Kings to have. (YHWH was more or less conceived of as a good King). Not a good parallel. As for patriarchy, God is a Oriental king as conceived by the Israelites, so it is obvious he would have these qualities. The passages cited above refer to timelessness, not oldness (the vision in Daniel is symbolic of a wise king)


enthrnoned amidst the assembly of divine beings (1 Kings 22:19; Isa. 6:1-8; Ps 29:1-2, 82:1; 89:5-8; Isa. 14:13; Jer. 23:18,22; Zechariah 3; Dan. 3:25). Daniel 79-14,22 describe Yahweh as bearded, Ancient of Days, and Elyon while being enthroned before the assembly who are literally called the holy ones of the Elyon the same term used in Ps 89:6; Hos 12:1, Zech. 14.5 and which is also used to describe the sons of Elyon in Canaanite literature. (Mark S. Smith).

The bolded part sounds like the court of a normal Oriental King. So?
Wasn't a beard a sign of Wisdom and age? Anyways, he was conceived of as a king so he would have messengers (aka divine beings). As for the holy ones, the term was something the Israelites liked so they applied it to the angels of their God. They took the imagery and applied it to their own religion. So?

All these things are things you would expect an Ancient Oriental King God to be like. They're not good parallels. Besides, didn't many other religions have these beings?



El is indeed described as getting drunk in a text that includes a remedy to hangover; this is not in the mythological texts proper, the cycles, but is included in magical texts with incantation. We have no reason to suspect from the mythological texts that his is a drunkard. They do have differences and that is part of the fun of tracking how the two do differ in order to see what of EL was retained in the figure of YHWH. While we do not have an explicit sex scene with Yahweh in the Bible, he is the Father of the sons of god whom he allots inheritance. He is also coupled with Asherah, El's consort, in extra-biblical evidence.

Yeah but there are also other things (like YHWH never dwelt on a mountain and had a continual presence in the temple without needing an incantation). When God is described as creating heaven and earth, there is no sexual terminology used. YHWH was never castrated by any of his sons either.
Sons of God are not necessarily literal sons (son was used in more than one way in the ANE eg Deut 14:1).

Quantum Weirdness
01-25-2014, 05:00 PM
The first reference to Israelites in Egypt is ~1200 BCE, see response in your thread. When Egypt conquered Canaan and the region.


Absence of evidence=/= Evidence of absence



The reference to Gods is within the early culture and not an awareness of other beliefs.

He named the place " The LORD (YHWH) will provide" which is a very specific name and implies that Abraham knew the name of the Israelite God.

shunyadragon
01-28-2014, 05:07 AM
Absence of evidence=/= Evidence of absence

Yes and no, claims without evidence are problematic. The evidence of the invasions in the region are Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Philistines against Canaanites, until after ~1200 BCE when the Israelites began grow in strength. The other thread I give more evidence, references, and details of possible scenarios.


He named the place " The LORD (YHWH) will provide" which is a very specific name and implies that Abraham knew the name of the Israelite God.

Yes, but the discussion here involves far more than one citation describing the beliefs at that time.

Quantum Weirdness
01-28-2014, 05:50 PM
Yes and no, claims without evidence are problematic. The evidence of the invasions in the region are Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Philistines against Canaanites, until after ~1200 BCE when the Israelites began grow in strength. The other thread I give more evidence, references, and details of possible scenarios.
.
We'll discuss it there then.




Yes, but the discussion here involves far more than one citation describing the beliefs at that time.

Ok what about names like Judah?

showmeproof
03-08-2014, 01:38 PM
Again El Elyon/Shaddai is not a name but a title. And yes, it seems clear that they did know the name YHWH (Genesis 22:14 for instance). About that Exodus 6 thing. Again.
Quote
"In Exodus 3:13–15, Moses asks God His name, and is told first that God is the “I am,” and then that he should tell the Israelites that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, sent Moses to them. God adds that Yahweh is the name by which He is to be worshiped forever.

The text hardly says that no one had ever heard the name Yahweh before this time. Rather, the text asserts that the name Yahweh will have new significance because of the mighty act of the Exodus.

You make an error in shielding Judaism from its cultural milieu. We surely have the biblical account, but we are not so limited. The problem with your assertion is that the Exodus is clearly stated in terms of the Combat Myth (which predates Yahwism).
Isaiah 51:9-10 "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in the days of old, the generations long ago! Was it not you who cut down Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over."

Even a late prophet recognized Yahweh as battling against Leviathan and the Sea in "days of old, the generations long ago". You may assert that this wasn't an original belief, but a late insertion/syncretism, even an attempt at archaizing, but the author of those words was adamant that this is one of Yahweh's deeds and that it should be reflected upon and brought forth to remembrance in hope for the future defeat of Israel's enemies and their restoration. The defeat of Yam and Leviathan is known to be a deed associated with Baal in Canaanite literature that predates any biblical text.

Psalm 114"When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became God's sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The Sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why is it O Sea that you flee? O Jordan that you turn back?...

The Battle of the Storm God, in Judaism's case Yahweh, against the Sea/River/Leviathan and Death is used repeatedly within the Bible.



Exodus 6:2c–3 appears to be a straightforward assertion that the patriarchs did not know the name Yahweh. Most translations are similar to the following:
“I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name Yahweh I did not make Myself known to them.”
But the Hebrew text, as Francis I. Andersen points out, contains a case of noncontiguous parallelism that translators have not recognized: “I am Yahweh...and my name is Yahweh.” The “not” is therefore assertative in a rhetorical question rather than a simple negative, and it should not be connected to what precedes it (1974:102). In fact, the whole text is set in a poetic, parallel structure beyond what Andersen notes (see fig. 1).

This is indeed Andersen's argument. His argument is not convincing to the majority of OT scholars in this regard. I am not a Hebraist, and I presume neither are you, so I will leave the grammar to those qualified. We can agree that the author of Exodus 6:2-3 was attempting to show a continuity between El Shaddai and Yahweh, but we know them both independently in the archaeological record.


I did deal with Deut 32:8-9 by comparing it to Deut 14:1
Psalm 89 uses it in the sense of Angels. (Sons of God had two meanings: 1) Angels and 2) Human beings [e.g. Deut 14:1])
You fail to address the context; the setting of Psalm 82 is in the divine council in the midst of the gods...this is in stark contrast to the context of Deut. 14.1.



N.B. Psalm 82 said "you are gods" which seems to allude back to Exodus 22 which refers to human judges.
Please read up on the divine council and its associated imagery.


Yes use all the data, including the literary ones (e.g. Genesis 22:14). And if the root is found as far back as Mari and Genesis suggests that Abraham knew of YHWH, then I'm not so sure it's a stretch to say that YHWH was quite possibly known at the time of Abraham.
The root *hwy is surely known at Mari, whether it refers to Yahweh the deity is at best arguable. If it does, it is associating Yahweh in the context of other deities An, Addu (Hadaad=Baal), Dagan etc. In using this method you cannot blot out or ignore evidence, as you seem to be doing in stating that Yahweh as made known through the Hebrew Bible is independent of previous deities who are attributed Yahweh's feats prior to Yahweh being attested. If you had evidence that Yahweh was the original character with whom the Combat Myth was associated then you could make a case, but there is no such evidence at hand.

shunyadragon
03-08-2014, 01:46 PM
You make an error in shielding Judaism from its cultural milieu. We surely have the biblical account, but we are not so limited. The problem with your assertion is that the Exodus is clearly stated in terms of the Combat Myth (which predates Yahwism).
Isaiah 51:9-10 "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in the days of old, the generations long ago! Was it not you who cut down Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over."

Even a late prophet recognized Yahweh as battling against Leviathan and the Sea in "days of old, the generations long ago". You may assert that this wasn't an original belief, but a late insertion/syncretism, even an attempt at archaizing, but the author of those words was adamant that this is one of Yahweh's deeds and that it should be reflected upon and brought forth to remembrance in hope for the future defeat of Israel's enemies and their restoration. The defeat of Yam and Leviathan is known to be a deed associated with Baal in Canaanite literature that predates any biblical text.

Psalm 114"When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became God's sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The Sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why is it O Sea that you flee? O Jordan that you turn back?...

The Battle of the Storm God, in Judaism's case Yahweh, against the Sea/River/Leviathan and Death is used repeatedly within the Bible.




This is indeed Andersen's argument. His argument is not convincing to the majority of OT scholars in this regard. I am not a Hebraist, and I presume neither are you, so I will leave the grammar to those qualified. We can agree that the author of Exodus 6:2-3 was attempting to show a continuity between El Shaddai and Yahweh, but we know them both independently in the archaeological record.


You fail to address the context; the setting of Psalm 82 is in the divine council in the midst of the gods...this is in stark contrast to the context of Deut. 14.1.



Please read up on the divine council and its associated imagery.


The root *hwy is surely known at Mari, whether it refers to Yahweh the deity is at best arguable. If it does, it is associating Yahweh in the context of other deities An, Addu (Hadaad=Baal), Dagan etc. In using this method you cannot blot out or ignore evidence, as you seem to be doing in stating that Yahweh as made known through the Hebrew Bible is independent of previous deities who are attributed Yahweh's feats prior to Yahweh being attested. If you had evidence that Yahweh was the original character with whom the Combat Myth was associated then you could make a case, but there is no such evidence at hand.

Good post!!!

showmeproof
03-08-2014, 01:53 PM
Note the one about El. This is what is comparable to YHWH being in the tent/tabernacle. However, this parallel is generic and is not useful in making the case that YHWH was derived (in some way) from El.

He also revealed himself in other places. The fact that he revealed himself on Sinai is not special at all. Interestingly, the text that says he revealed himself on Sinai (Exodus 19) implies that he didn't live on Sinai. Regarding the titles, it is expected that deities like El and YHWH would share certain generic titles (such as Eternal One) even if they didn't influence each other (this is primarily due to their characteristics). But that seems to be the only one they share. We also have differences such as El having sex to create other gods and goddesses and getting drunk.

Psalm 78:60,65"He abandoned his dwelling in Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mortals...Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a warrior shouting because of wine."
Yahweh is called the father of the gods by implication that he has sons (you argue they are human judges even though the context is clearly the divine council in the assembly of the gods. (Psalm 82, Deut 32)

showmeproof
03-08-2014, 02:30 PM
I have acquired and recently read Rebecca Watson's Chaos Uncreated (http://books.google.com/books?id=CAobol27FiwC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=Chaos+Uncreated&source=bl&ots=_evlNJUTuG&sig=jYXbLE1lNB35X3582qrK_q2l75Q&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oZUbU8KWMqOO2wXl84D4DA&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Chaos%20Uncreated&f=false). This is an insightful book for those of you who are in disagreement with my line of argument I have taken in this thread. In this monograph R. Watson takes on a full-out fight against associating the imagery as relating to Chaos. By Chaos she is strictly concerned with the Combat Myth and how it relates to a primordial battle as part of Creation. Her main focus seems to be that H. Gunkel's Chaos in Urzeit und Endzeit has incorrectly influence much of the current discussion regarding Chaos in the Combat Myth most forcefully argued by J. Day in God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea. In her thesis Rebecca wants to read each passage independently from external sources by casting doubt on the comparative method. She also, where it suits her needs, insists that each Psalm or section purportedly containing the theme of Chaos be treated independently of each other. This is odd to me because no writer writes in complete isolation from their experience and traditions.

Use the link above to read through the list of biblical texts she directly addresses. What I intend to do here going forward is discuss some of her conclusions based off of the specific examples she addresses in her book. Be patient as this is a meaty book and I have a busy schedule...but I'm always interested in this so I'll keep pecking away. I cannot match her scholarly accumen, I cannot deal with the grammar and translations, but I do intend to show why the comparative method is appropriate for this discussion for both the origins of this Myth and its subsequent divergent development within the Ancient Near East. I will do this by providing contra-arguments from other scholars within the field.

I do not think this just a historical curiosity, although it is fascinating, but I argue that it has (or should have) direct theological implications for current Judeo-Christian theists. My argument is: If the foundation of your story is false, everything you have built upon it, layer by layer, divergent as it may eventually be from its original formulation comes tumbling down. Rebecca Watson is right in highlighting where the Israelites diverged from its cultural predecessors, but errs in starting the discussion by excluding the importance that the story was not abandoned but tweaked many times throughout Israel's history. It is a cultural touchstone.

Quantum Weirdness
03-14-2014, 01:32 PM
You make an error in shielding Judaism from its cultural milieu. We surely have the biblical account, but we are not so limited. The problem with your assertion is that the Exodus is clearly stated in terms of the Combat Myth (which predates Yahwism).
Isaiah 51:9-10 "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in the days of old, the generations long ago! Was it not you who cut down Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over."

Great! So Isaiah calls Egypt Rahab. They used similar imagery because they were from similar cultures and liked the imagery. So?


Even a late prophet recognized Yahweh as battling against Leviathan and the Sea in "days of old, the generations long ago". You may assert that this wasn't an original belief, but a late insertion/syncretism, even an attempt at archaizing, but the author of those words was adamant that this is one of Yahweh's deeds and that it should be reflected upon and brought forth to remembrance in hope for the future defeat of Israel's enemies and their restoration. The defeat of Yam and Leviathan is known to be a deed associated with Baal in Canaanite literature that predates any biblical text.

Yeah but there is no defeat of Yam or Leviathan in the biblical text (as being literal events)


Psalm 114"When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became God's sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The Sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why is it O Sea that you flee? O Jordan that you turn back?...

From the bolded, I doubt this can be said to be literal.


The Battle of the Storm God, in Judaism's case Yahweh, against the Sea/River/Leviathan and Death is used repeatedly within the Bible.

Never literally though.




This is indeed Andersen's argument. His argument is not convincing to the majority of OT scholars in this regard. I am not a Hebraist, and I presume neither are you, so I will leave the grammar to those qualified. We can agree that the author of Exodus 6:2-3 was attempting to show a continuity between El Shaddai and Yahweh, but we know them both independently in the archaeological record.

Until they answer his argument, I'll wait


You fail to address the context; the setting of Psalm 82 is in the divine council in the midst of the gods...this is in stark contrast to the context of Deut. 14.1.

*Sigh* Didn't God allegedly dwell among them?


Please read up on the divine council and its associated imagery.
Sure why not?


The root *hwy is surely known at Mari, whether it refers to Yahweh the deity is at best arguable. If it does, it is associating Yahweh in the context of other deities An, Addu (Hadaad=Baal), Dagan etc. In using this method you cannot blot out or ignore evidence, as you seem to be doing in stating that Yahweh as made known through the Hebrew Bible is independent of previous deities who are attributed Yahweh's feats prior to Yahweh being attested. If you had evidence that Yahweh was the original character with whom the Combat Myth was associated then you could make a case, but there is no such evidence at hand.

It still mentions him though if it is a reference to him.
I'll go with the resurrection as evidence :teeth:

shunyadragon
07-14-2014, 11:09 AM
Interesting thread. I would like showmeproof to post more particularly what he found in - Rebecca Watson's Chaos Uncreated

I have acquired and recently read Rebecca Watson's Chaos Uncreated. This is an insightful book for those of you who are in disagreement with my line of argument I have taken in this thread. In this monograph R. Watson takes on a full-out fight against associating the imagery as relating to Chaos. By Chaos she is strictly concerned with the Combat Myth and how it relates to a primordial battle as part of Creation. Her main focus seems to be that H. Gunkel's Chaos in Urzeit und Endzeit has incorrectly influence much of the current discussion regarding Chaos in the Combat Myth most forcefully argued by J. Day in God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea. In her thesis Rebecca wants to read each passage independently from external sources by casting doubt on the comparative method. She also, where it suits her needs, insists that each Psalm or section purportedly containing the theme of Chaos be treated independently of each other. This is odd to me because no writer writes in complete isolation from their experience and traditions.

tabibito
07-14-2014, 12:11 PM
You make an error in shielding Judaism from its cultural milieu. We surely have the biblical account, but we are not so limited. The problem with your assertion is that the Exodus is clearly stated in terms of the Combat Myth (which predates Yahwism).
Isaiah 51:9-10 "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in the days of old, the generations long ago! Was it not you who cut down Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over."


Even a late prophet recognized Yahweh as battling against Leviathan and the Sea in "days of old, the generations long ago". You may assert that this wasn't an original belief, but a late insertion/syncretism, even an attempt at archaizing, but the author of those words was adamant that this is one of Yahweh's deeds and that it should be reflected upon and brought forth to remembrance in hope for the future defeat of Israel's enemies and their restoration. The defeat of Yam and Leviathan is known to be a deed associated with Baal in Canaanite literature that predates any biblical text.

The Battle of the Storm God, in Judaism's case Yahweh, against the Sea/River/Leviathan and Death is used repeatedly within the Bible.
Surely you jest - these are references to the crossing of the Red Sea during the Exodus from Egypt.
Isaiah 51: The tanniyn (dragon/serpent/sea monster) connects with Rahab in some way - tanniyn has no connection with the sea in this passage.




Psalm 114"When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became God's sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The Sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why is it O Sea that you flee? O Jordan that you turn back?...
From the bolded, I doubt this can be said to be literal.
no no ... it is a poetical work, so symbolism and metaphor can't possibly be expected.
Then again - each of those could be literal references. (except the part where the sea "looked", that is).
If so
The sea fled - Red Sea
Jordan - The crossing by who was it now ... oh yes, Joshua. (Joshua 3)
Mountains and hills skipping - major earthquake. Perhaps 1 Kings 19, Elijah.

Though it has to be admitted that Elijah would be unlikely - an earthquake during the time between the Exodus from Egypt and entry to the promised land or shortly thereafter is more likely.

showmeproof
07-21-2014, 05:49 PM
I haven't been on TWEB much lately. I would like to go more in depth about Rebecca Watson's book as well and intend to as I find the time. The title Chaos Uncreated, speaks to Watson's thesis that the Chaos theme as used in the bible is not truly related to Creation and is therefore not the chaos them as defined in Gunkel's major work Schöpfung und chaos in urzeit und endzeit.

showmeproof
07-21-2014, 06:09 PM
Surely you jest - these are references to the crossing of the Red Sea during the Exodus from Egypt.
Isaiah 51: The tanniyn (dragon/serpent/sea monster) connects with Rahab in some way - tanniyn has no connection with the sea in this passage.

I do not jest in this case. And you are right, it is a clear reference to the crossing of the Red Sea. My point being that the Combat Myth predates any possible crossing of the Red Sea and was a literary motif used and reworked by the Israelites.

showmeproof
02-16-2015, 12:18 PM
After taking a hiatus to focus on other things, my attention has peaked again in this topic. Being the dork that I am I was thinking, how cool would it be to actually see Mount Aqraa, Mount Zaphon; especially with a thunderhead passing over? Pragmatically this will not be an option any-time soon with the craziness going on in that part of the world. However, we have satellites with multiple time-stamped photos, and even uploaded photos from individuals who were there. While taking a virtual 3D tour via Google Earth I noticed something cool.
4025
See the two outlines (ruins) of separate complexes...not sure what they are. This was a holy mountain to a diverse group of peoples over a long time span. The top complex, is approximately (starting from the left and working clockwise at each angle) 314ft (left) x 250ft (top) x 325ft (right) x150ft (bottom). The lower complex is approximately 310ft x 83ft x 75ft x 189ft x 220ft x 175ft. Pure speculation, but it would be cool if these were temple complexes (of unknown origin). The complexes are about 260ft apart. Note the date stamp. There is a newer photo available:
4026
Notice a road has been cut through the bottom of the lower complex and right through the middle of the upper complex.

showmeproof
02-16-2015, 12:38 PM
While taking this satellite tour, I scanned over some nearby cities and towns, mostly on the Syrian side of the mountain. Some very interesting and highly suggestive toponyms. First, let me preface this with a quote from Richard Hess regarding the toponyms of Israel, "Of the 502 place names in the Bible, none are Yahwistic. Toponyms with b'l are found in the time of ancient Israel..yet they are unattested in Canaanite toponyms from Egyptian sources during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages." He goes on to state that the b'l theophoric toponyms were most likely introduced by the Israelites.

Conversely lets take a look at the toponyms in Syria in an around Ugarit and all the way up close to Mount Aqraa:

Al-Shabatliyah
Al-Shamiyah
Latakia
Al-Shilfatiyah
Al-Malikiyah
Al-Suqaylabiyah
Al-Darbasiyah
Dayr 'Atiyah
Al-Bahluliyah
Ayn-al-Shaqiyah
Al-Qutilabiyah
Tertyah
Al-Nashabiyah
Al-Ghazlaniyah
Al-Sisaniyah
Deir Atiyah
Al-Hamadiyah
Al-Bariqiyah
Al-Sisiniyah
Al-Qamsiyah
Al-Khishniyah
Mishteyah

Very interesting. I do not know when these toponyms were set, and I intend to do what digging I can into that, but I would hypothesize these are old Late Bronze names carried over through time and that they are yahwistic toponyms. The reasoning being that this area has been Muslim for a decent amount of time and it would be unlikely to name new cities with a yah theophoric element. Let me see what I can find.

showmeproof
02-16-2015, 03:42 PM
Of course it could be just a naming convention. I haven't been able to find much either way.

showmeproof
02-16-2015, 06:59 PM
Still checking, but also gathering other toponyms ending in yah. Interesting, but still need to do the homework. So far these place names follow the Tigris and Euphrates and are clustered in Syria.
4033

showmeproof
02-18-2015, 08:19 AM
The list keeps growing. So far as I can tell, cities necessarily develop along the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates and this is a Arabic convention in naming cities; nothing at all to do with yahweh. It is always important to be aware of our own biased hypotheses and how we apply them. Still very excited about the ruins on the slope of Mount Aqraa.

shunyadragon
02-18-2015, 09:51 AM
The list keeps growing. So far as I can tell, cities necessarily develop along the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates and this is a Arabic convention in naming cities; nothing at all to do with yahweh. It is always important to be aware of our own biased hypotheses and how we apply them. Still very excited about the ruins on the slope of Mount Aqraa.

Interesting

showmeproof
06-15-2015, 05:49 PM
After many years of searching, I have finally acquired a copy of John Day's God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea. This is one of the most quoted books and one of the hardest to find regarding this topic. Excited!

shunyadragon
06-15-2015, 07:49 PM
After many years of searching, I have finally acquired a copy of John Day's God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea. This is one of the most quoted books and one of the hardest to find regarding this topic. Excited!

congratulations!! Looking forward to any insight you acquire from this book.

Rodney
06-25-2015, 08:34 PM
showmeproof, is it true that the name Israel was named after El (Isra-El) the Canaanite deity?

Juvenal
06-26-2015, 05:03 AM
showmeproof, is it true that the name Israel was named after El (Isra-El) the Canaanite deity?

While SMP could give you a better response, the answer is clearly "yes, but ..."

El of Isra'el descends from the Ugaritic El just as the Hebrew Elohim descends from the Ugaritic 'lm. So yes, but ... I haven't seen any evidence that the Ugaritic El was ever worshiped in Isra'el after it became a nation. There are place names that suggest this, such as Bethel, but these could have been named prior to the birth of Isra'el itself, which could also be carried over from a place name. By the time Israel appeared as a nation, El had been supplanted by his divine descendants, and his divine council, the 'lm, had become a singular entity, the Elohim, identified and worshiped as the god of Isra'el.

I think El's inclusion in the name, Isra'el, is an anachronism, carried over from a time when the cult of El was much more prominent.

I look forward to any correction.

robrecht
06-26-2015, 05:28 AM
While SMP could give you a better response, the answer is clearly "yes, but ..."

El of Isra'el descends from the Ugaritic El just as the Hebrew Elohim descends from the Ugaritic 'lm. So yes, but ... I haven't seen any evidence that the Ugaritic El was ever worshiped in Isra'el after it became a nation. There are place names that suggest this, such as Bethel, but these could have been named prior to the birth of Isra'el itself, which could also be carried over from a place name. By the time Israel appeared as a nation, El had been supplanted by his divine descendants, and his divine council, the 'lm, had become a singular entity, the Elohim, identified and worshiped as the god of Isra'el.

I think El's inclusion in the name, Isra'el, is an anachronism, carried over from a time when the cult of El was much more prominent.

I look forward to any correction.I would not really distinguish 'el and 'lim as separate roots; the later is probably simply a plural form of the first, ie, God, gods, great ones.

Juvenal
06-26-2015, 06:22 AM
I would not really distinguish 'el and 'lim as separate roots; the later is probably simply a plural form of the first, ie, God, gods, great ones.

Thank you for that, and I agree. But I hadn't intended to suggest separate roots, but rather separate usages, and especially in the case of the early Israelites, a convergence between them. The Ugaritic 'il and 'ilm differentiate between the singular god El and a plural assemblage, whereas the Hebrew Elohim of the Bible is surely singular. I could elaborate that 'ilm is not the most common Ugaritic construction when speaking of divine assemblages.


Apart from the expression "meeting of the gods ('dr 'ilm), which is confined to one section of Kitta (1.15 II 7, 11), the terminology for the general assembly invoves the root, *phr. [lao tzu: add a double vowel-point on "h" here.]

Mark Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, Part 1, The Structures of Divinity, Chapter 2, The Divine Council

Rodney
06-26-2015, 08:28 AM
While SMP could give you a better response, the answer is clearly "yes, but ..."

El of Isra'el descends from the Ugaritic El just as the Hebrew Elohim descends from the Ugaritic 'lm. So yes, but ... I haven't seen any evidence that the Ugaritic El was ever worshiped in Isra'el after it became a nation. There are place names that suggest this, such as Bethel, but these could have been named prior to the birth of Isra'el itself, which could also be carried over from a place name. By the time Israel appeared as a nation, El had been supplanted by his divine descendants, and his divine council, the 'lm, had become a singular entity, the Elohim, identified and worshiped as the god of Isra'el.

I think El's inclusion in the name, Isra'el, is an anachronism, carried over from a time when the cult of El was much more prominent.

I look forward to any correction.

Thanks! Yeah, I've been doing some Googling. You sure can learn a lot from the Google Book previews! Found this interesting bit of info.

"Of the thirty-three theophoric names from the period of the Judges attested for the areas of Manasseh, Ephraim and Benjamin, only seven refer to Yahweh as god; sixteen have the name El as theophoric element; and ten contain a reference to other gods, most notably Baal (Jerubbal, Judges 6:32; Ishbaal, 2 Samuel 2:8). Though the sample is admittedly small IT CONTAINS THE UNMISTAKABLE SUGGESTION THAT THE WORSHIP OF YAHWEH......WAS THE RELIGION OF A MINORITY OF THE POPULATION. The majority of the earliest Israelites (or proto-Israelites) were devoted to a god they referred to in their personal names as el. Though the noun el is occasionally used as a generic designation, it functions mostly as a proper name in texts from the Late Bronze and the Early Iron Ages. A similar observation is valid in respect to the term baal "lord". In view of the historical context of the names it must be assumed that important groups of the early Israelites worshipped the gods El and Baal."
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VSJWkrXfbLQC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA238#v=onepage&q&f=false

"The occurrence of El toponyms is hardly surprising in view of the prominence of the god in theophoric personal names. Unlike the Baal toponyms, the El toponyms are not specifically Israelite. Most of them are pre-Israelite. They were simply maintained in the early Israelite period, which suggests, also in view of the El anthroponyms, religious continuity in the worship of El on the part of the early Israelites. The complete absence of the name Yahweh from the Early Iron Age toponyms is striking. Since theological considerations fail to explain this fact, IT MUST BE TAKEN AS A REFLECTION OF THE RELATIVE UNIMPORTANCE OF THE WORSHIP OF YAHWEH AMONG THE EARLY ISRAELITES." http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VSJWkrXfbLQC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA240#v=onepage&q&f=false

Adrift
06-26-2015, 08:36 AM
Just curious Rodney, were you using the handle OT in the other thread on this topic?

Rodney
06-26-2015, 08:42 AM
Just curious Rodney, were you using the handle OT in the other thread on this topic?

Sorry I don't understand what you mean...

showmeproof
06-26-2015, 04:39 PM
It is hypothesized that the toponym Israel is indeed an indication of the original god of the people of the same name. Mark S. Smith flat out states it, "The Original god of Israel was El." (Early History of God pg 32).

Other biblical indications that this is the case is Exodus 6:2-3. Where Yahweh is telling Moses that he wasn't known by Yahweh amongst the Patriarchs, but rather El-Shaddai.

Deuteronomy 32: 7-9 gives us much the same picture
"Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you. When El-Elyon apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; Yahweh's portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share." The LXX and the 4QDeut read "sons of god" whereas the MT reads sons of Israel.

El could indeed be a common noun meaning 'god,' but it is clear that the characteristics of El the Canaanite god are retained in the figure of Yahweh. Even Richard Hess the conservative biblical scholar from Denver Theological Seminary admits this.

The lack of a polemic of EL the Canaanite god in the bible is another indication. One can argue, "no they just borrowed the name to one-up," but even if they had they still did not attack the Canaanite El in the Bible. They saved their polemics for Baal.

showmeproof
06-26-2015, 04:48 PM
Other example include the name of the altar at Shechem

El-Elohim-Israel this could be generic god The God of Israel, but this is unlikely. Jeffery Tigay's study of names in Israel during the monarchy indicates that 557 had the theophoric indicating yahweh, 77 indicated EL, and a handful indicated Baal. This is consistent with Yahweh having been already identified with EL by the time of the early monarchy.

robrecht
06-27-2015, 04:30 AM
Thank you for that, and I agree. But I hadn't intended to suggest separate roots, but rather separate usages ...Sorry, I actually was not sure whether you were considering them to be separate roots and should have said so.


... separate usages and especially in the case of the early Israelites, a convergence between them. The Ugaritic 'il and 'ilm differentiate between the singular god El and a plural assemblage, whereas the Hebrew Elohim of the Bible is surely singular. I could elaborate that 'ilm is not the most common Ugaritic construction when speaking of divine assemblages.


Apart from the expression "meeting of the gods ('dr 'ilm), which is confined to one section of Kitta (1.15 II 7, 11), the terminology for the general assembly invoves the root, *phr. [lao tzu: add a double vowel-point on "h" here.]

Mark Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, Part 1, The Structures of Divinity, Chapter 2, The Divine Council'Elohim is indeed singular in many respects, but there are some indications of plurality as well, eg, the so-called royal we, 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness ... ' and the royal court of the divine beings. From the beginnings of Christianity, the various pluralities found in the Jewish Scriptures were exploited as prefiguring the divinity of Christ or the Trinity. That is not my point here, but rather a more basic one, ie, that monotheism has a very rich history that is sometimes obscured. One of my favorite Jewish theologians even speaks of the incarnation of God in Judaism. The fundamental view of God as in some way plural and relational, if only in relation to his own creation, or in relation to him- and her-self is very profound. In this way, the early Israelites were still very much related to the religious imaginations of their preceding and contemporary neighboring tribes and civilizations.

shunyadragon
02-06-2016, 11:13 AM
I am bringing up this thread because of its relevance to the thread 'pagan origins of Judaism.'