[b-hebrew] mono- v's poly- theismin the torah

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Fri Jul 29 08:53:05 EDT 2005


Dear Yitzhak,

you have admitted that certain passages in the tanak acknowledge all other 
gods to be lifeless and this is certainly the tradtional and modern 
understanding of the hebrew scriptures in their entirety. 
I personally have good reason to believe that the original authors of the 
books of the tanak are as tradition holds Moses, Joshua, etc etc. While there 
are scholars who disagree with this opinion it is certainly clear that the 
books were written in this general chronological order and so their true 
authors is irrelevant for my question which follows:

If what you say is true then we would expect to see a gradual change in the 
scriptures which reflects a general change in hebrew thinking in this regard. 
We would expect this gradual change to range from a pantheon of gods with only 
one true and rather jealous god to be worshipped to a totally montheistic 
concept with all other gods being considered as man-made creations.
At one point in time do you place this shift to have been complete?
On which scriptures do you base your ideas?
How do you demonstrate this *gradual* change?

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org on behalf of Harold R. Holmyard III
Sent: Fri 7/29/2005 12:59 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Fwd: Re: YHWH
 
Dear Yigal,

>While Yitzhak is undoubtedly correct in saying that the earliest strands of
>the Pentateuch seem to admit the existence of other gods, the authors could
>have very well have been referring to the conception of the existence of
>other gods. In other words, "there is only one God, but we know that a lot
>of people believe that there are others - whether 'true' or not, the very
>belief is a sin". Certainly, there is a strand (priestly?) that denies their
>existence and claims that they are but "wood and stone". The Bible often
>seems to claim that those who worship idols are fools, who think that "this
>piece of wood created me". But we know, that this was not the case at all;
>pagans never believed that the actual idol was a deity - the idol simply
>represented the deity and helped the worshipper "focus" - just as ritual
>objects do today, in many monotheistic faiths.


HH: I have read that people believed the deity came and indwelt the 
representation.

					Yours,
					Harold Holmyard

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