TTTE: Rereading your first few posts, and, now the last few on this page, I get the feeling that the idea you started this thread was to try to discredited JWs for their stance that there is only one Almighty God and that Jesus is also “God”.
You totally misunderstand the usage of monotheism and polytheism. You seem to understand that both words relate to worship of God(s)
1. This thread honored a promise I made late last year, when Doug Mason (as I recall) mentioned Boyarin's book. I found the book in Sydney University's library and said I would attempt to follow Boyarin's argument and comment ... thus this thread.
His argument, as a recognised scholar* deserves, at least to be listened to. Yes, I believe his argument challenges the J.witness world view, but who is going to accuse the JW's of deep scholarship (grin).
2. You charge that I misunderstand the meanings of polytheism and monotheism, inferring that YOU understand, but you do so without definitions.(Boyarin, in your view, wouldn't understand either, would he?)
3. You keep telling us we must go back to the original understandings of the Hebrew words for 'god,' but rely for YOUR understanding on the seventeenth century understandings of the KJV translation and the nineteenth century definitions of the Strong's contributors.
* The University of California, Berkeley was in the top 10 in last years world rankings. Note his publication list: http://nes.berkeley.edu/Web_Boyarin/boyarin_cv.html#publications
This is not an argument that what Boyarin** wrote is right, because he's a scholar (as another anti-intellectualist charged). It's simpler than that. To most minds the Jews were the premier monotheists in the world. When that view is challenged, (and remember that he is not talking about Judaism in general, he's talking about the document we know as the "Book of Daniel.") What was the author of this document imagining as he wrote down his visions? How did it relate to the world he lived in?
As, I've commented previously, I suggest we are seeing the influence of Hellenic thinking creeping into Judaism. That's only natural, The Jews were constantly influenced by the people around them, including:
A. Egyptian thought - Remember Moses:
"Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." Acts 7:22 NIV
B. Semitic thought (Babylonian) - the flood stories. A Law Code. (i.e. Similar to Hammurabi's)
C. Iranian thought. 'Dualism' as evident in the Dead Sea Scrolls and some Christian groups. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2013/05/3159/
From your posts it seems, that you've locked your mind into the imagined witness concept that there is a 'pure line' of truth, held by faithful witnesses that stretches from the contemporary world scene, right back to Adam.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. As east-west trade developed along the so-called Silk Roads, so did the 'trade' in ideas, as human influenced human.
** Note that The University of California, Berkeley was in the top 10 in last years world rankings. Boyarin did not get the job he has there because he was a second class thinker.
Also note his publication list: http://nes.berkeley.edu/Web_Boyarin/boyarin_cv.html#publications