YHWH a minor pagan god: Ugaritic Texts and the Sons of El

by DoomVoyager 129 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Satanus

    Mesopotamean gods don't do it for me. Too petty, territorial and egotistical. Too friggin human. Products of the times.


  • showmeproof


    I am building quite a library regarding the evolution of Israel's religion and its Canaanite roots. While searching for information on the web I found quite a few of your posts. First I would like to commend you for presenting the information in a balanced approach and secondly for presenting the information accurately. I joined this thread specifically to discuss some of these issues with you. As you are no doubt aware, few people have the faintest hint of what is involved and even fewer are conversant in the required information. I hope we can have some pointed discussions and provide some further interest to others on this board; I am quite encouraged that a handful of posters have recently expressed interest as well.

    My library includes:
    The New Oxford Annotated Bible 3rd augmented ed. w/ Apocrypha NRSV, ed. Michael D. Coogan; 2007
    The Early History of God 2nd rev. ed., Mark S. Smith; 2002
    The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, Mark S. Smith; 2001
    Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, John Day; 2000,2002
    Ritual and Cult at Ugarit, Dennis Pardee; 2002
    Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible 2nd rev. ed., ed. Karel van der Toorn; 1999
    The Rise of Yahwism 2nd ed., J.C. de Moor; 1997
    Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, Donald B. Redford; 1992
    Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible 2nd rev. ed., Emanuel Tov; 1991, 2001
    The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finklestein and Silberman; 2001
    The Bible With Sources Revealed, Richard Elliot Friedman; 2003
    Israelite Religions, Richard Hess; 2007
    The Religions of Ancient Israel, Ziony Zevit; 2001
    You Shall Have No Other Gods, Jeffery Tigay; 1986
    Mari and the Early Israelite Experience, Abraham Malamat; 1989
    The Oxford History of the Biblical World, ed. Michael D. Coogan; 1998
    And adding a few installments monthly

    The book that first got me going is The Evolution of God, Robert Wright; 2009. My intent in disclosing my personal collection is three fold 1) To show you sources that might be of interest to you that you are not familiar or are familiar with but do not have in hand, 2) To show where my own collection is lacking and where you might be able to fill in with suggestions or information, and 3) To peak your interest in, I hope, intelligent discussion. Please be patient with me while I learn the rules of the board. I would also like to disclose my own biases; To many peoples dismay and disdain I am an atheist. I will not insult, belittle or berate anyone's faith, but I will challenge people's understanding of ANE history. I must also confess that I am fairly ignorant concerning the Jehovas-Witness faith. If I inquire about how certain data are interpreted in LDS specific theological contexts it is in interest. Lastly, this subject is not my training nor vocation. My training is in biology and environmental sciences; ironically I am currently chemistry analyst.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    It's pretty obvious that most of you, in your rush to find fault with Jehovah - only for the fact that a control-freak cult invokes his name, jump on this bandwagon with absolutely no knowledge on the subject whatsoever.

    So? The data and findings seem to be very well sourced. Just because most of us seem to have no knowledge on the subject doesn't mean NONE of us do. Leolaia is a bona fide genius with VAST knowledge on these subjects, for example, and hers is far from the only scholarship in this thread. In addition there are many links to further information here, as well. How that translates to "most of you" rushing to find fault with Jehovah is anybody's guess.

  • showmeproof


    I think you are giving this a quick dismissal, too quick. Firstly, if the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, were actually living breathing human beings living in the Levant during the mid to late Bronze Age 'El' was most assuredly not 'just' a generic name for 'God'. El was a specific god at this time and place. You are correct that even in Ugaritic texts where we learn of 'El' the specific god 'el' is also used generically.

    So what arguments are brought forth to indicate that we are dealing not merely with a generic term, but rather a proper noun in the Hebrew Bible? Quite a few. Here I'll be short to see if you have interest in going further.

    1) Exodus 6:2,3 (NRSV) explicitly states "...I am the Lord (YHWH). I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai) but by my name the Lord (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them."

    a. Shaddai, most probably 'Mountain One' is known in 7th Century inscripitions at Dier 'Alla. Here the context is not specifically El, but rather the shaddayin (plural) who are meeting in the divine assembly/council on the mountain

    2) The other gods in the pantheon which included El as its head god also appear in the bible as a) gods, 2) toponyms, 3) anthroponyms

    a. If the other gods are no doubt from this pantheon and the bible surely attests to Israelites worshipping them why exlude El from this framework?

    3) El-Elohe-Israel in Genesis 33:20. You can posit it "Generic god the god of Israel" or El the god of Israel. Remember he is naming an altar.

    4) Deuteronomy 32:7-8 which explicity states, in both the Qumran and Septuagint, that Yahweh one of the sons of god recieves an inheritance from El Elyon.

    5) Shared epithets or titles of El and Yahweh such as God of the Covenant, Father of man (ab adm), Creator of Creatures, El Olam, and El the Bull (cf. The Mighty One (abir=bull) of Jacob)

    I'd love to get more specific if you are interested.

  • dinah

    Marked because I saw Leolaia weigh in

  • GrandmaJones


  • Satanus

    How much does leo wiegh, now? Oops, bad question. Don't anser that.


  • 3Mozzies


  • LV101

    Leolaia -- you don't have to answer this if you don't care to, i understand --- but, do you believe in God or do you believe it's all myth, tales and folklore (well, not folklore, whatever). i'm going to read this tomorrow (and i'm sure if i could think i'd know the answer) when i'm not tired. thanks.


    i definitely need a class.

  • Heartofaboy

    My........there are some studious contributors on this forum............ I would like to thank them for explaining this subject so that my modest brain is able to attempt to assimilate some thought provoking points.


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