U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-13-2011, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
7,359 posts, read 6,215,390 times
Reputation: 10577

Advertisements

Can any one tell me who the gods would be that are referred to in the Bible as "other gods"? The closest my cursory look into this topic is an entry in the Hebraic Roots of Christianity:

"Terah took his family with the intention of moving from Ur to Canaan.

When they came to Haran, not to be mistaken with Abraham’s brother Haran, they settled there. Next we are told that Terah lived to be 205 and died in Haran. There is one more brief reference to Terah in Joshua 24:2 where it is mentioned that he worshipped other gods.
"

I don't know enough about the ancient gods of that region to speculate, and hope someone here might have come across this information.

Thanks, in advance! 8)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-13-2011, 08:38 AM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,569,083 times
Reputation: 1760
The original jews were likely polytheist. They borrowed heavily from the Caananite religious tradition. Yehwa was one of about 70 son's of el, each how got to "choose" a tribe of people to represent. The jews were Yehwa's chosen people.

He was the son of Asherah, the queen of Heaven, (referred to in Jeremiah 7:18) and El. This information is NOT found in the bible, but implied by the Ugarit scrolls. So it is only background, not part of the argument.

So how is God's polytheism represented in the bible? With the following versus, which I will cut-and-paste, and highlight:

Genesis 1:26
And God said, let us make man in our image.
Genesis 3:22
And the Lord God said, Behold, then man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.
Genesis 11:7
Let us go down, and there confound their language.
Exodus 12:12
And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.
Exodus 15:11
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?
Exodus 18:11
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods.
Exodus 20:3, 5
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. ... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
Exodus 22:20
He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
Exodus 22:28
Thou shalt not revile the gods.
Exodus 23:13
Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
Exodus 23:24
Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
Exodus 23:32
Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exodus 34:14
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Numbers 33:4
Upon their gods also theLORD executed judgments.
Deuteronomy 3:24
What God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works?
Deuteronomy 5:7
Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
Deuteronomy 6:14-15
Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you)
Deuteronomy 10:17
For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords.
Deuteronomy 28:14
Thou shalt not ... go after other gods to serve them.
Joshua 24:2
They served other gods.
Joshua 24:14
Fear the Lord ... and put away the gods which your fathers served.
Judges 11:24
Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? ***Chemosh is the God of the Moabites***
1 Samuel 6:5
Ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods.
1 Samuel 28:13
And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
1 Chronicles 16:25
The Lord ... is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 82:1
God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods.
Psalm 86:8
Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord.
Psalm 96:4
For the Lord ... is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 97:7
Worship him, all ye gods.
Psalm 135:5
Our Lord is above all gods.
Psalm 136:2
O give thanks unto the God of gods.
Jeremiah 1:16
I will utter my judgments against them ... who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods.
Jeremiah 10:11
The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
Jeremiah 25:6
And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
Jeremiah 46:25
I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods.
Zephaniah 2:11
The Lord will be terrible to them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth.

----------------------------------

Now it might be tempting to say that the passages refer to false gods worshiped by others, and in some cases it might a credible explaination.

But in other cases, particularly the ones I underlined, the writer clearly assumed there were other Gods, and in some cases it was God who was supposed to have made that assumption.

The MOST reasonable conclusion was that early Jews were polytheistic, and that is reflected in the bible. As time Goes by, God seems to get more powerful, and eventually he becomes the only God.

That is the most likely explanation. Other's take a bit of mental gymnastics to make work.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 08:58 AM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,148,042 times
Reputation: 738
That's a question that one could spend a long time on.

From the website you linked, you must alread know the Jewish legend of Terah the idol maker, and how Abram smashed the idols to prove a point, thus showing Abram's propensity for monotheism at an early age. This is a great story, and it's always entertained me - but it ignores the facts given in the Bible that Abram was, himself, an idol-worshipper. So we cannot rely on it for anything other than an amusing story.

The family of Terah is said to have migrated from "Ur of the Chaldees" to "Haran". Both cities were centers of moon worship - the god Sin - and linked economically with a trade route. Some have suggested that the "Ur" mentioned is not, as has usually been noted, the southern Mesopotamiam Ur, but a city in the North - closer to Haran. It's possible that a scribal misreading of the determinative for city (URU) placed before the name of a city in written documents produced the confusion, and Ur was mistakenly attributed to another city. Haran's name is actually Ḫarrānum in Akkadian,
Ḥārān in Hebrew - so it should not be confused with Lot's father Haran, or inferred that the city was named after him: the initial consonant is entirely different, for one.

Speiser notes "The one fact beyond serious dispute is that the home of the patriarchs was in the district of Haran, and not at Ur. According to [Genesis] 12:1, 5, Haran was Abraham's birthplace. The toponymic models for the names of Abraham's close relatives have been found in Central Mesopotamia. And the cultural background of many of the later patriarchal narratives is ultimately tied up with the Hurrians of Haran and the regions nearby rather than with the Sumerians and Babylonians in the south. Thus Ur proves to be intrusive in this context, however old that intrusion may have been." (Genesis, AB, 1962)

So one should hone their gaze at Haran, perhaps. The Anchor Bible Dictionary, in their entry on Haran, says "Haran is situated about 100 km N from the conluence of the Euphrates and the Balikh (a tributary of the Upper Euphrates) and 80 km E of the city of Carchemish on the winding upper Euphrates river." (Vol. III, p. 58)



As an extra tidbit, "The Israelit's confession that 'my father was a wandering Araman' (Deut 26:5) suggests that their ancestors were either Aramean nomadic people or non-Semitic nomadic people who came to live in an Aramean environment in the Haran district" and "The Sumerian word KASKAL, which Akkadians read as
ḫarrānu, "road", was adapted as the name of the city of Haran." (ibid) So who did the Hurrians worship? This might be an example of a people practicing henotheism (the worship of one god, while admitting that other gods may exist) - very similar to what the Israelites would later do. (This is not the same as montheism, because monotheism only admits the existence of one god, and no others. Only after the time of the major prophets, such as Isaiah, did Israel's henotheistic beliefs turn into a strictly monotheistic belief system. Many legends and stories tell us that Abraham was the first monotheist - as we shall see, this is incorrect.) The god that the Hurrians were fond of was Sin. This god was also the god of the southern Ur.

"Sīn is the name of the Babylonian moongod, attested as theophoric element in Assyrian and Babylonian personal names. In the Old Testament in the names Sanherib (sanḥērīb), Sanballat (sanballaṭ),..."" (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, Toorn; Becking; Van der Horst, p.782)
If you have access to this fantastic book - which nobody interested in the Bible should be without - then look up the entry and you'll find a wealth of information. "The name Sīn (earlier Suen, Suin) survived in the Aramaic speaking world as the name of the moongod residing in Harran....This cult, already attested at the beginning of the second millennium in Mari, was promoted by Nabonidus who gave Sīn epithets such as 'Lord/King of the Gods', or even 'God of Gods'...." (ibid)
Now, according to Genesis Abram was born in Haran:YHWH said to Avram:
Go-you-forth
from your land,
from your kindred ["others use birthplace"],
from your father's house,
to the land that I will let you see.
I will make a great nation of you
and will give-you-blessing
and will make your name great.
Be a blessing!
I will bless those who bless you,
he who curses you, I will damn.
All the clans of the soil will find blessing through you!
(Genesis 12:1-3, TFBOM, Fox)

The Primeval History (Gen 1-11) ends with an unexpected segue into the next section of Genesis - the Patriarchal Narratives. With no warning at all, we are introduced to Abram and his family. With no warning to Abram, Yahweh speaks to him and orders him to leave his birthplace, his family, etc, and go forth to a new land. Abram obeys this new god and goes forth, and the rest is history (heh heh). Now - did Abram worship other gods before Yahweh? :

Then Joshua said to all the people, "Thus said [Yahweh], the God of Israel: In olden times, your forefathers - Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor - lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan and multiplied his offspring..." (Joshuah 24:2-3, JPS)

It appears pretty clear that these 'forefathers' worshipped other gods, like the OP notes. There were many deities being worshipped, and Ugarit might be the best place to look for certain traditions. I've noted the worship of Sīn, primarily because of the localized nature of worship in those times: particular gods were worshiped in particular cities, and only had power within those cities. So the Hurrian Abram most likely worshiped Sīn. Another interesting point that is usually overlooked by traditional exegetes is that Abram, on a promise from a new 'landless' god (as far as he knew), left everything he knew and embarked on a journey into a new land, with a nomadic god with him. 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.... Anyways, I hope that helps. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Ddd) - Ebook Detail On Megabook.us ebooks search engine,Free ebooks download is where you can download the Dictionary. Just choose one of the download links, and the free mode. You may have to wait 40 seconds or something before you can download it, but it's well worth it! If it's for sale near you - buy it! It's a great book.

Last edited by whoppers; 10-13-2011 at 09:27 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,057 posts, read 29,713,783 times
Reputation: 10450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
The original jews were likely polytheist. They borrowed heavily from the Caananite religious tradition. Yehwa was one of about 70 son's of el, each how got to "choose" a tribe of people to represent. The jews were Yehwa's chosen people...

That is the most likely explanation. Other's take a bit of mental gymnastics to make work.
That was a very long post. The only problem is, you completely overlooked the OP's question. Abram wasn't a Canaanite; he came from Ur.

To the OP: it just takes a history book. The 'other gods,' who would have been worshiped in Ur, were simply the Sumerian deities of the time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,569,083 times
Reputation: 1760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred314X View Post
That was a very long post. The only problem is, you completely overlooked the OP's question. Abram wasn't a Canaanite; he came from Ur.

To the OP: it just takes a history book. The 'other gods,' who would have been worshiped in Ur, were simply the Sumerian deities of the time.
He was born in Ur.

And moved to Caanan.


Genesis 12:5
And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 11:37 AM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,148,042 times
Reputation: 738
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
He was born in Ur.

And moved to Caanan.


Genesis 12:5
And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Was Abram born in Ur or in Haran? Well - it depends on which tradition you read. Remember - Genesis is made up of several sources which have been redacted into a complete book.

According to Genesis 12:1 (which I quoted above) - Abram was born in Haran. "From your native land" is a translation of the Hebrew, which literally reads "from your land and your birthplace". Speiser points out that this is a "clear case of hendiadys" (Genesis, AB, p. 86).

Yahweh said to Abram,
"Go forth from your native land
And from your father's home
To a land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1)

Genesis 12:5 then narrates his departure from Haran. Genesis 12:1 is from the Yahwist source (as should be fairly obvious from the use of Yahweh in this pre-Exodus-revelation account).
He is ordered to go to an unknown land - that's an important fact. From the previous chapter, in a totally separate source, we learn that Terah took his family from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan and that they stopped at Haran enroute. The original destination had always been Canaan, according to the Priestly writer's geneaolgies. One can even see how the genealogies change their normal form at 11:28-30, and also at 11:31-32 - introducing narrative and explanatory events.

The important thing is: it never explicitly states that Abram was born in Ur of the Chaldeans, but it DOES explicitly state that he was born in Haran - in Genesis 12:1.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 11:47 AM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,148,042 times
Reputation: 738
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred314X View Post
That was a very long post. The only problem is, you completely overlooked the OP's question. Abram wasn't a Canaanite; he came from Ur.

To the OP: it just takes a history book. The 'other gods,' who would have been worshiped in Ur, were simply the Sumerian deities of the time.
This assumes that the Ur of the Chaldeans mentioned is the southern-most city that is usually assumed to be the site. One runs into several problems, however, almost immediately:

1- If Terah, according to P and R in Genesis 11: 28-32, planned to migrate from Ur to Canaan - why go North to Haran? Canaan is west of Ur.
2- "Ur of the Chaldeans" is an anachronism. Speiser:
"The mention of Ur of the Chaldeans brings up a problem of a different kind. The ancient and renowned city of Ur is never ascribed expressly, in the many thousands of cuneiform records from that site, to the Chaldean branch of the Aramaean group. The Chaldeans, moreover, are late arrivals in Mesopotamia, and could not possibly be dated before the end of the second millenium. Nor could the Arameaens be placed automatically in the patriarchal period. Yet the pertinent tradition was apparantly known not only to P (v 31) but also to J (v 28). And even if one were to follow LXX in reading "land" for "Ur", the anachronism of the Chaldeans would remain unsolved." (Genesis, AB, p.80) He goes on with more information that is well worth reading.

Ur is intrusive to the story, and is better explained by the city of Ur in the north near Haran - as has been argued by Gary Rendsburg. Many of the customs that are seen throughout the patriarchal stories are better explained by a Hurrian, rather than a Sumerian, background. The traditional approach (Ur is the southern, famous Ur) just doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 01:21 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,569,083 times
Reputation: 1760
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Was Abram born in Ur or in Haran? Well - it depends on which tradition you read. Remember - Genesis is made up of several sources which have been redacted into a complete book.
....
.
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 02:55 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,710,060 times
Reputation: 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
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.
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-13-2011, 03:06 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,710,060 times
Reputation: 1351
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.
Oh, you may enjoy this:



3.3.3 Atheism: A History of God (Part 1) - YouTube
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top