[b-hebrew] Akhenaten and Hebrew religion

Patrina patrina at bestmail.us
Sun Jul 18 20:38:36 EDT 2004

G'day Uri

On Sun, 18 Jul 2004 09:18:24 -0700 (PDT), "Uri Hurwitz"
<uhurwitz at yahoo.com> said:
>   Your first point: correct, I too don't remember Aten mentioned in the
>   Canaan EA letters. But the issue, as I understand it, is diffrerent.
>   Both  Aten worship and Yahwism share an important aspect , that is
>   intolerance of other deities. And since by biblical tradition this
>   intolerance started in the Egyptian sojourn  - a tradition that can be
>   fully accepted in outline -- there would be a clear connection between
>   the two.

That is such an important point I feel - usually people were very aware
of not displeasing deities of other peoples, a view supported in
biblical texts.  Such intolerance must have been thought foolhardy by
the majority.

>   To observe that the intolerance of other gods starts in the Egyptian
>   narratives, one need only to take a look at the very different picture
>   of this aspect in the Patriarchs outline history in Genesis (with one
>   brief exception -- Gen. 35: 2-4 -- that would underscore  this, and
>   deserves more discusssion).

Yes, although the ironic part to me of the Genesis 35 passage is that it
is a putting away of foreign gods from a Canaanitic point of view. 
Jacob is honouring the deity of the land by building an altar to El
(v.3).  This can be verified by the fact that Jacob also set up a
massebah there and anointed it to the El of Beth-El (Gen 28:18, 31:13),
a practice which was anathema to YHWH (Deut 16:22), and, even though
considerable effort is made throughout the Tenach to blur any
distinctions between El and YHWH, a few hints like this remain within
the texts.

>   As for the second point: yes, Atenism was brief, but its influence and
>   reverberations continued long after its demise according to De Moor and
>   Kitchen's works I'd mentioned before. That is a 'theological'  push
>   toward a single overriding deity continued. Both authors provide 
>   examples.
>   Monotheism can be approached frrom quite a few perspectives. From my
>   point of view the intolerance of other gods is the connecting thread
>   between it and  and its various manifestations such as monolatry,
>   henotheism and so forth. Atenisn would certainly fit within its
>   framewrok.
> Kol Tuv
> Uri

Thanks for the references - I would certainly like to read 'The rise of
Yahwism' and will try to get hold of a copy.

Patrina Nuske Small
Adelaide, South Australia
  patrina at bestmail.us

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