Jewish God Yahweh Originated in Canaanite Vulcan, Says New Theory

by greek 17 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • greek

    The cult of YHWH as god of metallurgy originated among semi-nomadic copper smelters between the Bronze and Iron Age, suggests biblical scholar: And he was not worshipped only by Jews.

    According to Amzallag, long before becoming the deity of the Israelites, Yahweh was a god of metallurgy in the ancient Canaanite pantheon, worshipped by smelters and metalworkers throughout the Levant, not just by the Hebrews.

    where did the YHWH cult originate? Who were the first people to worship him? And how did he end up being the sole deity of a group called Israel, who, as their very name says (in Hebrew), didn’t even start out as a Yahwistic people, but as followers of El, the main god of the Canaanite pantheon?

    Most scholars already believe that the cult of Yahweh first emerged somewhere in the southern Levant, partly based on Egyptian texts from the late second millennium B.C.E. These documents describe groups of Canaanite nomads collectively known as Shasu, including one tribe named Shasu Yhw(h) – perhaps the first recorded Yahweh worshippers in history.

    Note that the so-called Midianite-Kenite hypothesis goes back to the 19th century, when biblical scholars saw Jethro’s story as evidence that these groups introduced the Israelites to the worship of Yahweh. Amzallag seems to be the first to stress the metallurgical side of this hypothesis and link Yahweh specifically to the rites and cults of ancient miners and smelters.

  • Crazyguy

    El was clearly the top god of the Canaanites and is most likely the god introduced to Abraham by Melkizadek or who ever that guy is in the Bible story. The writings of that deity found at Ugarit show so many similarities. Later writings about the god Yhw show similarities as well as having the same consorts as El and later the god Baal Hadad. Other scriptures in the Bible show Baal taking over for El and absorbing his atributes.

    Yes it can be said that there is a time that the Jews were told not to worship Baal but is this just propaganda introduced later or another Baal altogether since there was many local Baals in the area. Could it be Ywh was just another Baal that rose to the level of EL and Hadad and then became Yahweh? One other thing to consider the words lord and Adonia both mean Baal.

    So could it be possible that the Jews were infact worshipping EL then Baal as well as other gods such as Ashurah, In the Canaanite pantheon all along until a later time when they were forced to worship another deity? I for one think so.

  • Diogenesister

    Very, very interesting. Thank you for posting...all way beyond my Ken but I find it fascinating.

    Also, is it not so that most scholars now think the Caananites and the Isrealites were one and the same people?

  • Ireneus

    That means what happened to ocean happened to God. Proximity to geographical locations determined various naming of ocean which is only one.

    Similarly, Israel too adopted a God who was father of all as exclusively belonging to them.

  • smiddy3

    Isn`t Adonai the name for the Almighty God of Creation in the Roman Catholic Douay Version of the Bible ?

    One other thing to consider the words lord and Adonia both mean Baal.

    Could they be both one and the same ?

    Just asking

  • Onager

    Argh! The article is behind a paywall!

    Can you say what the links are to Yaweh in the bible and copper smelting and metallurgy? I always thought that the Yahweh origins were more flood \ water based?

    Also there's an anti-settled civilisation or pro-nomadic theme to a lot of the biblical Yaweh's laws (emphasis on tents, prohibition on pork which have to be reared in settlements unlike sheep and goats etc.). Wouldn't copper smelting also require settlements with furnaces and smithy buildings?

  • Finkelstein

    So that would make Yahweh (Jehovah ) a pagan god ?

    Jehovah's Witnesses are pagan worshipers.

    El was the supreme god of the Canaanites, a polytheistic ancient civilization.

    Next time someone asks why dont you want to be a JWS ? , just say you dont want to be involved in paganism.

  • Finkelstein

    Recent archaeological, biblical, and extrabiblical research has led scholars working in the area of the origins of Israelite religion to assert rather boldly and confidently that the original god of Israel was in fact the Canaanite deity El. Just exactly how has this come about you ask?

    First, the name Israel is not a Yahwistic name. El is the name of the deity invoked in the name Israel, which translates: “May El persevere.” This suggests that El was seen as the chief god in the formative years of Israel’s religious practices. In fact, the etiological story explaining the origin of the name Israel occurs in Genesis 35:9-15, where Jacob obtains this name through the blessing of El Shaddai, that is “El of the Mountain.”

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Jewish God Yahweh Originated in Canaanite Vulcan, Says New Theory - this doesn't surprise me, if correct.

    The Jews are a Canaanite people; the Levant is their ancestral home. Hebrew is classed as a member of the Canaanite branch of Semitic languages (

    Also, is it not so that most scholars now think the Caananites and the Isrealites were one and the same people? - yes, I think scholars now classify the Israelites as an offshoot of the Canaanites. In other words, they think Israelites were a subset of the Canaanites.

  • Vidiot

    I just got the weirdest image in my head...

    ...of Spock descending Mount Sinai, holding the 10 Commandments, whilst making his funky split-finger salute.

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