According to the Bible the god of Abraham was introduced to him by Melcizadek. He was the leader of the town of Jerusalem we are to believe. Yet the town was named after a god named Salim, so this is odd. And in the Moses story the god seems to be that of a Mideonite god. I believe several books in the Bible may be speaking of a different god. Genesis is a telling of the older Emu Elish which is about several gods. Exodus could be about a Medeonite god. The psalms has writings similar to that of Marduk and one or more gods from Egypt. Hosea and some of the minor prophets also write as if their god is from Egypt. In the book of John Jesus was written as saying to the Jewish leaders "you don't know who my father is." And in the book of Revelations the god Amen is mentioned as if he is Jesus. I'm starting to think all these writings were gathered together and then redacted to make them fit in to an idea that their all writing's about just one God.
GOD in the Beginning
Remember, the Bible is a product of Judaism, not its foundation.
This means that the Hebrew Scriptures were written by members of a living and fully functioning Judaism. Most of the texts as we have them today were produced for liturgical purposes and not for personal reading.
I find that many exJWs, due to the way the Watchtower limited their exposure to the real world, have little to no experience with liturgy and how it shaped Scripture and vice versa for both Jews and Christians. These texts, read outside of their liturgical and cultural setting can produce a lot of conflicting personal interpretations. Therefore one needs to include a critical reading with the cultural and liturgical settings as a guide. But it will only cause your conclusions to miss their goal if you include New Testament references as these texts were never used in Jewish liturgy.
This means you need to make sure your conclusions are not made independent of Midrash and Talmudic sources, even Second Temple era teachings. While I know it is a common theme in your posts to try to connect the monotheistic concept of the Jews with an amalgamation of other neighboring gods, evidence suggests all these gods were contemporaries with YHWH, or at least the earliest concepts of G-d, and that they actually existed in a form of competition among followers who acted more like promoters at times. If you expand your research to include these sources you will find that your current theories will greatly expand.
Thanks Doug, once again, for some excellent work ! Long may you have the energy, and the interest to continue !
This Paper will be particularly useful to JW's and those of other faiths waking up to the reality that the Bible, and the God(s) therein presented are not what they thought. What is particularly powerful is that you have collected together in a fully referenced way the comments of the leading Scholars on each item.
Well done, and thank you again.
Thank you Phizzy and others for your kind words.
I learned a lot, especially placing the Biblical texts into the context of the evolution of the Hebrew culture during the 12th to 6th centuries,
I sincerely hope that people will be motivated to read the books I cited and some of those that I referenced.
Really nice introduction and summary Doug.
I find it difficult to accept that Yahweh was sexless/neutered.
The environment does not appear to lend itself to any sexless/transgender god.
The ancients considered that El and his consort Asherah had 70 sons (the Elohim) through normal sexual activity.
In my Study, I did not enumerate the characteristics of El, but they were of the kindlier nature, the Ancient of days, the Creator God. On the other hand, Yahweh was an angry, warrior, fierce God, who was only "tamed" when characteristics of El were merged into Yahweh, and at the same time El's female consort Asherah was assigned to Yahweh.
There is no doubt that Asherah was a female as she is depicted with large breasts, usually with her hands beneath them to hold then out. This indicated sustenance and fertility.
The Israelites worshiped several female goddesses along with a few male gods (symbolised with bulls or calves).
There is a lot of evidence that the Cannanites switched from El to worshiping baal Hadad and he was a warrior God weather God and fertility God. There is writings in the Bible that discribe him to a tee as being some of the attributes of yehweh. He also takes on the same wife asherah. I believe yehweh is both gods a may have even assimilated the attributes of Asherah.
I know this is a dead thread but I've just been reading on this topic. It is suggestive that Saul (assuming historicity) who is said to be from the south introduced the Yahweh deity or at least he made Yahwism the State religion. This process was facilitated by conflating El and Yahweh, going as far as giving Yahweh El's wife Asherah. Baal was then left as the foremost rival cult. Efforts of the Omrides to create a peaceful state tolerating both cults earned them the hatred of purist Yahwists. As the two cults coexisted for centuries naturally conflation continued and Yahweh adopts Baal storm and bull elements. Baal eventually fades from the literature as new deities are introduced and seen as a greater threat.