Monotheism was: "admittedly syncretistic..

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Sat Jan 26 14:06:59 EST 2002


RE: Monotheism was: "admittedly syncretistic..
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Rolf Furuli [mailto:furuli at online.no]
  Sent: Sat, January 26, 2002 5:00 AM
  To: Biblical Hebrew
  Subject: RE: Monotheism was: "admittedly syncretistic..


      Dear Liz,



  I appreciate that you bite, when you do it in a scolarly way, as is the
case. Your respectful suggestion that I am colored by Christian conceptions
is probably correct; but hardly Hellenistic conceptions (I have criticized
several fundamental Christian concepts where NT and Hellenistic thoughts are
fused). However, who is not colored by something, and is another coloring
better that a Christian one? The main problem is not that we are colored by
something, but rather that we do not realize that we are; and in addition,
when we sacrifice our scholarly integrity on the altar of a certain
ideology.
  [LSF] Yes, absolutely true


   The point I tried to convey to Jonathan was that atheists may be just as
dogmatic and religious as fundamentalists, and that critical scholarship can
be just as colored as the scholarship that use "God" as a point of
reference. I think that many list members will agree in the following words
of Jesus that illustrate the case (John 9:41NIV):
  "Jesus said,  "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now
that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

  [LSF] I'm guilty of sins I don't know I'm committing. If I eat pork
thinking its
  chicken, I'm still guilty. But maybe that's not what you mean.





      The Babylonian gods are clearly the invention of men, having all the
degraded characteristics of men ##., while my judgement is that the God in
the Genesis account is  of a completely different nature.

      OK, I'll bite, What is the difference between the god(s) in Genesis
and the gods in the Atrahasis account?


  I suggest that you read Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, and Inuma Elish again. The
accounts are pure mythology. A God was slaughtered to create mankind,

  [LSF] So here you have a huge gigantic god, about 60 feet high scooping up
a
  handfull of clay, making a person, and breathing into it.
  What's the difference? Why is one better than the other?

   there are intrigues between the gods, some cheat others, and there is
fighting and streaf;

  [LSF]
  [I admit it's easier when you're the only god in the pantheon. However,
the only reason
  there are no other gods in it is because YHWH is a jealous god. There
would have been
  problems (caused by jealousies) had there been other gods.
  I think the Mesopotamian gods get along remarkably well. I was shocked
when I
  read the inscription of Yahdum Lim for the temple of Shamash asking all
the other
  gods to bless the temple to the sun god. I was completely shocked that
there
  was no jealousy assumed, since I'm used to a having a jealous god.

   the great flood was caused by Enlil simply because mankind became so
numerous and made so much noise that he could not sleep.

  [LSF] I suppose it's a step up to want to kill everyone, babies, animals,
because the
  people are evil.


  In Genesis we meet YHWH who creates the universe, the earth and mankind;
we learn how the first men are allowed to decide their course, how they
transgress, and how the great flood is caused because  of the vicked deeds
of mankind. We also learn that YHWH has a purpose, and we learn about his
sublime attributes such as love and compassion. This is a completely
different account than Atrahasis, and you need not read the Tanach in the
light of Christian values to realize that.

  [LSF} But why does God promise not to bring a flood again??? It is not
because he thinks
  that mankind will be good now. His opinion of mankind had not changed
(8:21), so why
  did God promise not to destroy mankind again?




  To bite back I ask a philological/linguistic question: Given the stock of
phonemes and the use of consonants in Hebrew and Accadian, do you accept the
popylar view that the Genesis TEHOM  is lent from Accadian TIAMAT ?
  [ LSF] Philology is not my forte, I'll leave that to someone else.

   <snip the rest for later>

    Best,
    Liz
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