The most successful teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses and an amazing new book on the divine name

by slimboyfat 327 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • EdenOne


    The god of the OT is portrayed as sometimes being uber-zealous about purity and other times giving a free pass to outrageous behavior from his believers - especially if they were of a certain high rank.

    (He can kill Uzzah from touching the covenant ark in a critical situation, or kill Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, for seemingly offering incense after consuming wine. All the while giving a free pass to David and Beth-Sheba, Loth and his daughters, Solomon and his harem, Judah and fornicating with his daughter-in-law, King Manasseh and his violence and idolatry, etc ...)

    A perfect god wouldn't be inconsistent as YHWH is portrayed in the OT. Which shows that he is a product of the people who worshipped that deity. The stories committed to written form about the god of the hebrews are no less mythological than the greek or the babylonian stories about their gods. The only reason why that mythology crept into christianity was because Jesus of Nazareth, who was exalted to divinity status by his later followers, clearly endorsed the jewish mythology about their god. By extension, Christian believers since St. Paul and the early apostles scrambled to justify the actions of the god of the OT in an attempt to give his actions a purpose consistent with christianity.

    That's all there is to it.

  • Ruby456

    the thing is edenOne he can only enforce all those things because of his power - this is the one consistent thing. If we focus on purity or on perfection there are inconsistencies. (anyway perfection came much later with platonism and then neoplatonism I think and both influenced christianity).

    I think there are important reasons for focusing on the power of the deity when there is a desire to break free.

    phizzy thanks - I think what I said needs to be said just as steve2 felt he needed to make the comment about cher.

  • OrphanCrow
    Ruby456: edit: and seriously how many women hold their own here on JWN nowadays? besides blondie none!!!! mind you I haven't seen her around lately. I guess those that do hold their own move on thanking the guys for giving them the opportunity or something like that? i'd really like to know

    *sorry...I know this is off topic, but I can't help myself...I have to reply to this

    Ruby, I think I do just fine here. I think I can hold my own. Seriously.

  • Ruby456

    well good for you orphanCrow but I haven't seen you disagreeing with anyone so I still think it is worth saying!!!

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Sbf, Notwithstanding my dismissal of the importance of how people should pronounce a name for any God since it is in the realms of superstition, I agreed that the matter would be of use in understanding the evolution of religious myth, and indeed it is, especially in the area of “onomastics” as your blurb quotations mention. (Oh, how recondite!).

    I agree, you might describe the book by Frank Shaw as “amazing” not because of its niche academic obscurity but by being conspicuously relevant to JWs as an adjunct to the proper understanding in the origins of one of the names of an ancient Canaanite god, one of which they (unthinkingly) promote as their partisan trade mark and talisman.

    The word under Shaw’s spotlight is not the tetragrammaton or Yahweh but “Iao,” once used much more informally it seems when referring to God. (Did Jews, Greeks or others ever translate it YH or “Yah”, do we know?) To understand and isolate any matter or artefact or item of language from the past, it is essential to understand it in its everyday social context including the prevailing perception of the numinous. The text has to reconcile the archaeology and sociology of a particular time and location. I do not know if Shaw does this?

    Reading only a scholarly review (!) Shaw’s text is a reworking of his PhD dissertation. I picked up the idea that the evidence leads to the earliest known references of “Iao” being without “apotropaic” use (i.e. talismanic). It was only in Gnostic and Christian times when it became mysticised whereas the tetragrammaton from early on (8th century BCE) had value as an amulet inscription (for good luck and warding off evil).

    The highlighting of Shaw’s text is an insight for those not familiar with what goes on in academic evidence based writing as opposed to ‘popular’ takes on a subject (you don’t have to agree but must give evidence and references for disagreeing) and this is reflected in the price of the book; cheap at 50 Euros. Probably not a big seller!

  • Diogenesister
    , you credit JWs with scholarly interest and investment. They have neither. It is enough to be told something is so - and, relievedly for untold numbers of JWs, there the matter is happily left - if it were ever picked over by any of them in the first place.
    Meanwhile, among the unscholarly inclined rank and file, a cry is heard, "Anyone for tennis?...wouldn't that be nice."


    In earlier times, chastened by automatic thoughts, I would have said, "We are honoured to have had you among us." Now I exclaim, "Who was that masked stranger?" and sip distractedly on my coffee.

    steve2 you are on top form in this thread - you've had me in stitches!!

  • Ruby456

    I read that piece too half banana and also noted the question of a need for a definition of what the mystical or magical might be.

    sadly the book is too expensive for me particularly as shaw does not appear to go into what was popular at the time among ordinary people but will stand corrected if he does!!!

  • slimboyfat
    The text has to reconcile the archaeology and sociology. I do not know if Shaw does this?

    Half banana, yes, chapter nine discusses at some length the fragmentary evidence for what kinds of people employed the form of the divine name Iao, how widespread and the social meaning of its use. It draws on existing scholarship and draws parallels with modern diversity of useage.

    It's an excellent book and well worth the price. Even as a skeptic, like myself, you sound like someone who would appreciate the detail and nuanced arguments of the book.

  • Ruby456

    another thing that JWS have got right is that they give the tetragrammaton three syllables which the term yahweh does not. yahweh has only two syllables.

  • cofty
    another thing that JWS have got right is that they give the tetragrammaton three syllables - Ruby

    Why do you think that is right?

    By the way there are dozens of strong women posting very successfully on this forum. They really don't need you to campaign for them.

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