[b-hebrew] Elohim vs El in O.T.

Guy Zed atdgz at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 19 11:10:51 EST 2008

Hello Oun,

Without providing a full answer I will dwell only on one aspect of it.

"El" had been a main deity in the Phoenician pantheon that preceded the emergence of the Israelite deity cults and religion.  In the Phoenician/Canaanite pantheon it served as its supreme deity's proper name, alongside deities such as Ashera or Astarte and Baal, complete with stories that can easily rival the Greek & Roman Pantheon stories.

 There is no doubt in my mind that the label "El", used mainly as an adjective in the OT, is clearly derived from the Canaanite usage of it (whence else?).

It could possibly also account for an ethnic infusion into the emerging Israelite nation, circa 1230 bc, as local elements that fused onto it and into a wave of another ethnic element entering Canaan from the west, whether with south western elements (as possibly witnessed by their deity cult of Yahwa, apparently mentioned in a context of such geographical/ethnical locus), or possibly Egyptian sejourn followed by wandering through those territories to the South-East of Canaan en route to Canaan.

My personal interpretation of the OT and facts and hypotheses such as the above, is that the IsraelJudea, North/South split & strife have to do with a struggle between those two deity cults as well. The Northern alliance (...) being "El" based and the southern--"Yahwa" based, as witnessed also in naming traditions, that are more El based vs. those that are more "Yo", "Yho" prefixed and/or "yhu" terminating...

Gad Za"k  

> Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 19:05:43 -0500
> From: kwonbbl at gmail.com
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Elohim vs El in O.T.
> I hope it is not too elementary question to Hebrew list.
> How is the usage of the two words - Elohim and El (pl and sing)
> different in O.T.?  (I don't think I can list a concordance for each
> based on the English translations.)
> Only different in nuance? Is it basically interchangeable?
> Thanks for your help.
> Oun Kwon.
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