Monotheism was: "admittedly syncretistic..

Jonathan D. Safren yon_saf at bezeqint.net
Thu Jan 24 12:54:07 EST 2002


..
> Edom and Moab each only worshipped one god (Qos and Kemosh, respectively),
> we don't know the relationship between these peoples and their gods, but
> why wouldn't it have been similar?

These were religions with national gods, similar to Ashur in Assyria and
Marduk in Babylonia. They worshipped other gods as well. I don't know what
bearing the Deir Ala Plaster Inscription has on Ammonite religion, but it
mentions Shaddais and Ashtarot.

> >
> > The only possibility I can see for the origins of such an idea,
> > if it is not
> > purely Israelite, is the worship of Baal Berith in Shechem,
> > where, according
> > to Josh. 24, the Israelites made a covenant with YHWH.
> Yes, but when do you date this passage?

Earlier than the hypothetical Deuteronomistic History. Josh 24 mentions a
holy tree and a holy stone in the temple of YHWH in Shechem - both practices
outlawed by Deuteronomy.
In the story of Abimelech, Jud. 9, the Shechemites have a temple to Baal
Berith. There must be some relationship between the two chapters. More than
that I cannot say.
Jonathan
---
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
>
> Liz
> >
> > Sincerely,
> > Jonathan
> >
> > ---
> > Jonathan D. Safren
> > Dept. of Biblical Studies
> > Beit Berl College
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Rolf Furuli" <r.j.furuli at east.uio.no>
> > To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
> > Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2002 12:40 PM
> > Subject: Monotheism was: "admittedly syncretistic..
> >
> >
> > >
> > > Dear Jonathan,
> > >
> > > As to the concept "monotheism" it depends on what you mean. In 2.
> > > Corinthians 4:4 (New Testament) we read about "the god (QEOS)
> > of this age"
> > > who is identified as Satan. The writer and his audience believed in
the
> > > *existence* of many  gods, but they did not worship them; so these
> > > Christians neither advocated polytheism or henotheism. To abandon
> > > monotheism one must, as I understand the concept, both believe in and
> > > worship more than one god.
> > >
> > > I find exactly the same situation in the Pentateuch. The commandment
> > > against )E:LOHIM )A:XERIM in Exodus 20:2 implies that other
> > (living) gods
> > > existed, but it need not necessarily imply polytheism. In
> > Deutronomy 32:17
> > > and Psalm 106:36,37 the writers tell that behind the carved images
were
> > > living gods, the $EDIM. We find exactly the same thought in 1
> > Corinthians
> > > 8:5,6 and 10:20 where the Greek equivalent DAIMONIOIS is found.
> > >
> > > I am not aware of a single passage in the Pentateuch where the writer
> > > writes in favor of polytheism or henotheism (even though angels
> > are called
> > > "gods" both in the Tanach and in the NT (Psalm 8:6- Hebrews 2:7, Psalm
> > > 97:7; 138:1), or where he himself implies that he has abandoned
> > monotheism
> > > and in reality is a polytheist.
> > >
> > > I believe that one of the most important sides of the Shema of
> > Deuteronomy
> > > 6:4 is that it is directed against polytheism , because the most
natural
> > > translation of YHWH )E:LOHENU YHWH )EXFD is not. "YHWH our God is
one."
> > but
> > > rather "YHWH our God is one YHWH:" The expression "one YHWH" can be
> > > directed against Ba`al Peor, Ba`al Berit, YHWH Shomron, YHWH
> > Tema etc. So
> > > the writer wants to stress: There is just one YHWH for us.
> > >
> > > Regards
> > >
> > > Rolf
> > >
> > > Rolf Furuli
> > > University of Oslo
> > >
> > >
> > > >In view of all the studies on ANE suzerainty treaties, does
> > anyone still
> > > >seriously claim that the Ten Commandments are monotheistic?
> > > >Jonathan D. Safren
> > > >Dept. of Biblical Studies
> > > >Beit Berl College
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ---
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> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > ---
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>
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