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Old 10-13-2011, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I'm not sure, and to my point, I'm not even sure it's that relevent.

I think the entire region was polytheistic at that point, and the mention of new Gods didn't negate the existance of the other putative gods.

I find the historical aspects of the Hebrew's and Caananites very interesting, more so than the biblical aspects. Maybe it's just because it's fairly new to me. So I enjoy reading what you post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
It's a FASCINATING study and it actually helps to put the bible (at least the OT) in proper perspective as well as the evolution of religious thought in Jewish history. It is something many Christians would prefer to shun because of the far reaching implications/ramifications, but a fascinating study, nonetheless.
I don't know about the ramifications, if any. *Everybody* is aware that the region was polytheistic during that time. The OT says as much the Jews went into Egypt monotheistic (worshiping God) and came out (Exodus) still monotheistic. They came into the land of Caanan-a land that was polytheistic. Sometime after King David most Jews became worshipers of the gods of the region-Baal being one of the more popular choices.

Later on the Jews returned to worshipping God. Not exactly hidden knowledge.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:05 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,585,825 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
I don't know about the ramifications, if any. *Everybody* is aware that the region was polytheistic during that time. The OT says as much the Jews went into Egypt monotheistic (worshiping God) and came out (Exodus) still monotheistic. They came into the land of Caanan-a land that was polytheistic. Sometime after King David most Jews became worshipers of the gods of the region-Baal being one of the more popular choices.

Later on the Jews returned to worshipping God. Not exactly hidden knowledge.

Just as I replied in the other thread.

This isn't a question about how many gods they worshipped.

It's only a question about how many gods they thought existed.

My understanding is that they worshipped their god, but believed in many others.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:28 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,163,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I'm not sure, and to my point, I'm not even sure it's that relevent.

I think the entire region was polytheistic at that point, and the mention of new Gods didn't negate the existance of the other putative gods.

I find the historical aspects of the Hebrew's and Caananites very interesting, more so than the biblical aspects. Maybe it's just because it's fairly new to me. So I enjoy reading what you post.
Thanks!

It is probably relevant if one is attempting to trace what particular gods Abram and his family worshipped, I imagine. There's a big difference between the gods of Sumer in southern Mesopotamia and the gods of northern Mesopotamia and Syria- especially Ugarit - , not to mention the customs that have passed down into the Bible.

As for the Bible - it's importance is in it's attestation of certain aspects of the Ancient Near East which we have no other sources for extra-biblically. The more sources to independently attest to something - the better!
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:29 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
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A very interesting discussion.

I think this sheds some light on how the concept of a "Supreme Being" evolved and how even in this day and age there are still vestiges of polytheism in the western world.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
I don't know about the ramifications, if any. *Everybody* is aware that the region was polytheistic during that time. The OT says as much the Jews went into Egypt monotheistic (worshiping God) and came out (Exodus) still monotheistic. They came into the land of Caanan-a land that was polytheistic. Sometime after King David most Jews became worshipers of the gods of the region-Baal being one of the more popular choices.

Later on the Jews returned to worshipping God. Not exactly hidden knowledge.

The ramifications are profound and pretty clear. The "one true God" of The Bible and Christianity, AKA Yahweh, was merely a lowly god of war and storms back in the days before his monotheist cult grew in power and scratched Asherah, EL, Enlil, Enki and all the other, greater Gods out of the picture and out of the religious texts and stories they copied in order to cobble the Bible together.

Bottom line: the "god" of the Bible is an ancient man made farce.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:29 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
I don't know about the ramifications, if any. *Everybody* is aware that the region was polytheistic during that time. The OT says as much the Jews went into Egypt monotheistic (worshiping God) and came out (Exodus) still monotheistic. They came into the land of Caanan-a land that was polytheistic. Sometime after King David most Jews became worshipers of the gods of the region-Baal being one of the more popular choices.

Later on the Jews returned to worshipping God. Not exactly hidden knowledge.
Well, one has to first determine WHEN the OT was written (compiled). Was it written in real time or written long AFTER the events it details. If later, did later religious concepts color earlier details, but I digress.

Let's assume the story of Moses meeting Yahweh is credible OR based on some facts here and there, we are told that the Israelites [apparently] would have had NO clue who Yahweh was? Why's that if they were monotheists (believers in Yahweh) were they clueless as to who he was?

Then we have Joshua's farewell address where he implores his people (the Israelites) to put away the [Mesoptamian] gods of their fathers from across the river (the Euphrates). He then tells them that he and those in his household would server Yahweh instead implying an actual choice and even an acknowledgement of other gods. You have to admit, this is a VERY telling passage and implies that there was still rampant allegiance to the ancestral gods DESPITE the Yahweh push by the leaders.

In MY opinion, what we find in the earlier parts of the Old Testament is something interesting. I believe that what we have are LATER editors, writing with a strong bias for the Yahweh cult, wrote the history as if Yahweh was always the true god of Israel and the stubborn Israelites just would not return to him [BETTER: warm up to him completely]. What I suspect was that the Yahweh cult was actually something new and those aligned with it wanted it to be the national religion for, I assume, their own purposes and thus the retelling of Israel's past was written from THEIR perspective.

The Israelites who settled in Canaan and rose to dominance were more attracted to the local deities of wine and comfort (such a Baal) than a desert war god like Yahweh who had become a has-been, as his power to to give victory in war, pillaging and conquest were no longer needed. This set the stage for the theological civil war we read about in the Old Testament as those aligned with the Yahweh cult sought to purge the appeal of the competing gods out the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. It pretty much ended with the bloody Yahwehists reforms under the boy king Josiah who even crossed over into old Israelite borders to purge the land of the remnants of the Baal and Asherah cults..

Last edited by InsaneInDaMembrane; 10-13-2011 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:13 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,163,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuixoticHobbit View Post
The ramifications are profound and pretty clear. The "one true God" of The Bible and Christianity, AKA Yahweh, was merely a lowly god of war and storms back in the days before his monotheist cult grew in power and scratched Asherah, EL, Enlil, Enki and all the other, greater Gods out of the picture and out of the religious texts and stories they copied in order to cobble the Bible together.

Bottom line: the "god" of the Bible is an ancient man made farce.
Very insightful, if a little angry.

I think it's quite likely that El (the main god of the Ugaritic pantheon) was represented by the various Els that pepper the earlier parts of the Bible. The very strange Elohim (a plural form of El in hebrew) is quite possibly an admixture of El and his Divine Council into one idea, or even entity: apart from Yahweh, it is the most frequent name for God in the Hebrew Bible.
It's also possible that Yahweh eventually replaced the Ugaritic Ba'al - the Storm God.

I think if anything influenced the Israelites, it was the dominant religion that they grew up with (if you accept the theory that the Israelites were Canaanites that eventually separated themselves from their kinfolk - an invasion of Canaan was not at all as it's portrayed) - which would have consisted of El, Ba'al, Asherah, Anath, etc - most of the Ugaritic gods, to be exact. The language of Ugarit is closer to Hebrew than Hebrew is to Sumerian or Akkadian - so it makes sense linguistically and historically.

Ugarit is worth exploring - and the amazing thing about it is: most people studying the Bible have probably never even heard about it.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
That's a question that one could spend a long time on.
... Throughout the various tales of Abram, we are shown various gods that he deals with: El, El-Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, etc - but the redactors of the various tales wove them together, and tradition later assimilated these various gods into one. But that's a whole 'nother topic.... [/font][/font][/font][/font]Anyways, I hope that helps. ...
Thank you, it helps indeed! I am humbled by the depth of your knowledge, and the time it took you to answer as you did. Thank you, again. 8)
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
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Thanks to everyone that took time to contribute to this thread. I am looking forward to learning more about the Ugarit, and the Els (et al).

I'm sure I will be back with more questions, but this has given me a lot to look at, for now.

8) LFM
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:50 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Ugarit is worth exploring - and the amazing thing about it is: most people studying the Bible have probably never even heard about it.
It sure is and long before the Dead Sea Scrolls or the those found at Nag Hammadi, we have those found at Ugarit which contain a passage that implies that ywh (Yahweh) was indeed a son of god (El).
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