OtherGround Forums The Invention of God by Thomas Romer

5 days ago
4/27/14
Posts: 24498
EazyG - 
Im with the banned -

I believe there’s some OGers mentioned in the OT. I think the story talks about some whore slag that wanted to fuck some OGers because they were hung like horses. 
 

Not the stories that get told on Sunday mornings in church. 

Exactly

there is some crazy stuff in the Hebrew Bible. 

God commands Joshua to commit genocide

Various incest, patricide,......

Yahweh tries to kill Moses and is saved by wife putting circumcision blood on Moses feet....

Strange things


Lay off the Jews, man.

5 days ago
8/18/06
Posts: 4880
EazyG -
okiebug -
EazyG -
okiebug -
EazyG -
The Stewed Owl -
okiebug - 
EazyG -
The Stewed Owl -

To be fair, a religious culture can be monotheistic and still recognize the eixstence of different exclusively spiriutual beings. An angel or a demon is recognized as having sufficient manifest power to be thought of as a deity or a god if one existed in the absence of other non-corporeal spiritual beings. And this seemed to be the nature of worship in the ancient world. Religion was tied to the concept of nationalism or tribalism, with each culture or polis having its divine being it worshipped. The Jewish, and later the Christian religious leaders quite clearly recognized this from the extant writings in the Tanakh and the Bible. They did not think that pagan gods did not exist - they clearly thought that they did, and that the pagans' "false gods" were real beings, malignant fallen spirits that demanded chid sacrifice, human sacrifice, abhorrent sexual rituals, castration, etc.  Jews and Christians also believed that there were orders of powerful exclusively spiritual beings - angels, cherubim, seraphim, saints, etc.-  under the command of the one true God. The break between the earlier pagan faiths and the (and here the phrase is useful) Judaeo-Christian apprehension of God is ontological - the concept that God is the supreme being among any other spiritual being, omnidigerent, omnipotent, omniscient. The other pagan deities did not have all these characteristics.

This is actually the historical answer to the modern atheist argument that "You don't believe in Thor, Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, Moloch, etc. I just believe in one less god than you." Moses, Paul and other explicators of their faiths did not believe the pagan gods did not exist, they thought they were real beings and malignant. This is why the original rite of Christian baptism contained a minor exorcism - it was thought that converts from pagan religions still could be carrying the malign influnences of the fallen spirits that were worshipped in their former reigions. 

Interesting question what Moses did believe....

maybe henotheism or monolatry

I believe you could boil it down to theological point on believing a God exists and believing in God.

I don't think it they would deny that Pharoah's priests had power,  just that it was derived from weaker deities.   The language in the conquest for Canaan wasn't our God is the only God that exists but rather our God is greater.  The only God worthy of worship. 


Agreed. "Your gods are just gods, ours is God."  Very explicitly, the pagan gods were thought to be demons, per the early church fathers and Jewish prophets.

the Israelites were polytheists for centuries before this gave up these other gods.......

thus its not really fair to say they thought of pagan gods as demons, as they worshipped some of them too

I'm not sure you can say "most scholars". I'd be curious on that data point.

 

The fidelity of the Israelites is a common theme in the old testament.  To say there's evidence of worship of other gods flows with historic orthodoxy.

 

I'm not sure where you're coming from on that.  I think there's plenty of historical evidence of YHWH worship predating the excile.  

I agree Yahweh worship is much older than the Exile.

I am also noting that the early Israelites worshipped other gods, too, such as El, Baal, Asherah.....

The early theophoric names for example tell as much - Isra- El. Samu -El.  Which happens to be the name of the head god of the Caanite pantheon.  Note also that in the early part of the Pentateuch the name of God is often El, El Shaddai, El Enyon......   clearly some connection to the god El.

And consider all the exames of Israelites following other gods - from the time in the Wilderness to Josiah's reforms.  This sounds like a very common practice that even their kings followed.  Likely somewhat suppressed by later Biblical authors.

I think Judaism evolved as a theology.  I think that's clear from the fact that we had multiple sects by the first century.

However, I do think worship, being reserved for YHWH only has been central belief from the beginning.

I've never understood the narrative of the multiple writers revising the old testament over time.  There is so much in there that is an indictment of the people and the religion.

Moses

Abraham

David

Noah

Solomon

Elijah

 

Why leave all of the embarrassing stuff in about all of these foundational people? If you don't cover that up why edit it at all?

 

Show me one historical document from that period that paints it's people and heroes in such a bad light at times.  It's a story of fidelity, infidelity and a return to fidelity over and over again.

How then do you explain the Josiah reforms?  The 'high places' sounded wide spread.....

How do you explain Israel building the two golden calfs in Bethel and Dan?

How do you reconcile the various names of God used?  Why did God tell Moses that they new him as El before that moment on Mt Sinai?

Many challenges with claiming only central worship for Yahweh from early on.  Worship wasnt centralized till Later - maybe Josiah?

That's a lot to try to answer in one thread, let alone one post.  I can say these are not sudden revelations we've just discovered.   I can also say that much about ever rewritten text was applied to he  new testament and were burned down the Orwellian memory hole after the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. 

 

I do want discuss your central place of worship ideas because you keep coming back to that and I'm not sure exactly where it's coming from.  Do you think the tabernacle of pretemple Israelites is later invention?

4 days ago
5/28/03
Posts: 71711
The Stewed Owl - 

To be fair, a religious culture can be monotheistic and still recognize the eixstence of different exclusively spiriutual beings. An angel or a demon is recognized as having sufficient manifest power to be thought of as a deity or a god if one existed in the absence of other non-corporeal spiritual beings. And this seemed to be the nature of worship in the ancient world. Religion was tied to the concept of nationalism or tribalism, with each culture or polis having its divine being it worshipped. The Jewish, and later the Christian religious leaders quite clearly recognized this from the extant writings in the Tanakh and the Bible. They did not think that pagan gods did not exist - they clearly thought that they did, and that the pagans' "false gods" were real beings, malignant fallen spirits that demanded chid sacrifice, human sacrifice, abhorrent sexual rituals, castration, etc.  Jews and Christians also believed that there were orders of powerful exclusively spiritual beings - angels, cherubim, seraphim, saints, etc.-  under the command of the one true God. The break between the earlier pagan faiths and the (and here the phrase is useful) Judaeo-Christian apprehension of God is ontological - the concept that God is the supreme being among any other spiritual being, omnidigerent, omnipotent, omniscient. The other pagan deities did not have all these characteristics.

This is actually the historical answer to the modern atheist argument that "You don't believe in Thor, Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, Moloch, etc. I just believe in one less god than you." Moses, Paul and other explicators of their faiths did not believe the pagan gods did not exist, they thought they were real beings and malignant. This is why the original rite of Christian baptism contained a minor exorcism - it was thought that converts from pagan religions still could be carrying the malign influnences of the fallen spirits that were worshipped in their former reigions. 


Great post, and what Ive believed for a long time as well.

4 days ago
5/28/03
Posts: 71712

happy to have so many guys more knowledgable than myself on here.

4 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8238
The Stewed Owl -
EazyG - 
Im with the banned -

I believe there’s some OGers mentioned in the OT. I think the story talks about some whore slag that wanted to fuck some OGers because they were hung like horses. 
 

Not the stories that get told on Sunday mornings in church. 

Exactly

there is some crazy stuff in the Hebrew Bible. 

God commands Joshua to commit genocide

Various incest, patricide,......

Yahweh tries to kill Moses and is saved by wife putting circumcision blood on Moses feet....

Strange things


Lay off the Jews, man.

no offense meant.  I view much of the 'strange' stuff in the Bible mainly due to the historical cultural norms - it was a very different world in the Bronze and Iron Age than now.  

Other iron/bronze age cultures created religious/creation stories that are probably stranger to modern folks than the Hebrew Bible.  Cultures such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Norse/Vikings.

3 days ago
1/3/18
Posts: 7002
The Stewed Owl -
EazyG - 
Im with the banned -

I believe there’s some OGers mentioned in the OT. I think the story talks about some whore slag that wanted to fuck some OGers because they were hung like horses. 
 

Not the stories that get told on Sunday mornings in church. 

Exactly

there is some crazy stuff in the Hebrew Bible. 

God commands Joshua to commit genocide

Various incest, patricide,......

Yahweh tries to kill Moses and is saved by wife putting circumcision blood on Moses feet....

Strange things


Lay off the Jews, man.

The jews need to lay off the jews. 

3 days ago
11/28/08
Posts: 23518
EazyG -
anthonyMI -

"Ballam is one of the biggest mysteries of the old testament.   I'm curious as to why you refer to him as a sorcerer."

He was sent to put on curse on the Israelites, with the implication that it very much would have worked if he did. That sounds like sorcery to me. It is a lot like how the Pharoah's sorcerers had actual power, just less than what Moses or Aaron channeled. This is in very stark contrast to the later story of Elijah and the priests of Baal, where the Baalites were shown to be powerless. That shows some of the development that we are talking about: The Torah, which may have been standardized later but existed in some form much further back, shows clear signs of henotheism. Then when we reach the post-exilic Book of Kings, it is more strictly monotheistic.

 

"We're really drifting."

Fair enough. As long as we put a moratorium on use of the word "Judeo-Christian."

Was Kings and the other Deuteronomistic History definitely written post exile?  I had thought it could have been written in exile?  And the many of the underlying stories were likely on older documents....

I couldn't remember if it was post-exilic or written during the exile. But, either way, it, more than anything else, is the result of the Judahite centralization.

2 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8244
okiebug -
EazyG -
okiebug -
EazyG -
okiebug -
EazyG -
The Stewed Owl -
okiebug - 
EazyG -
The Stewed Owl -

To be fair, a religious culture can be monotheistic and still recognize the eixstence of different exclusively spiriutual beings. An angel or a demon is recognized as having sufficient manifest power to be thought of as a deity or a god if one existed in the absence of other non-corporeal spiritual beings. And this seemed to be the nature of worship in the ancient world. Religion was tied to the concept of nationalism or tribalism, with each culture or polis having its divine being it worshipped. The Jewish, and later the Christian religious leaders quite clearly recognized this from the extant writings in the Tanakh and the Bible. They did not think that pagan gods did not exist - they clearly thought that they did, and that the pagans' "false gods" were real beings, malignant fallen spirits that demanded chid sacrifice, human sacrifice, abhorrent sexual rituals, castration, etc.  Jews and Christians also believed that there were orders of powerful exclusively spiritual beings - angels, cherubim, seraphim, saints, etc.-  under the command of the one true God. The break between the earlier pagan faiths and the (and here the phrase is useful) Judaeo-Christian apprehension of God is ontological - the concept that God is the supreme being among any other spiritual being, omnidigerent, omnipotent, omniscient. The other pagan deities did not have all these characteristics.

This is actually the historical answer to the modern atheist argument that "You don't believe in Thor, Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, Moloch, etc. I just believe in one less god than you." Moses, Paul and other explicators of their faiths did not believe the pagan gods did not exist, they thought they were real beings and malignant. This is why the original rite of Christian baptism contained a minor exorcism - it was thought that converts from pagan religions still could be carrying the malign influnences of the fallen spirits that were worshipped in their former reigions. 

Interesting question what Moses did believe....

maybe henotheism or monolatry

I believe you could boil it down to theological point on believing a God exists and believing in God.

I don't think it they would deny that Pharoah's priests had power,  just that it was derived from weaker deities.   The language in the conquest for Canaan wasn't our God is the only God that exists but rather our God is greater.  The only God worthy of worship. 


Agreed. "Your gods are just gods, ours is God."  Very explicitly, the pagan gods were thought to be demons, per the early church fathers and Jewish prophets.

the Israelites were polytheists for centuries before this gave up these other gods.......

thus its not really fair to say they thought of pagan gods as demons, as they worshipped some of them too

I'm not sure you can say "most scholars". I'd be curious on that data point.

 

The fidelity of the Israelites is a common theme in the old testament.  To say there's evidence of worship of other gods flows with historic orthodoxy.

 

I'm not sure where you're coming from on that.  I think there's plenty of historical evidence of YHWH worship predating the excile.  

I agree Yahweh worship is much older than the Exile.

I am also noting that the early Israelites worshipped other gods, too, such as El, Baal, Asherah.....

The early theophoric names for example tell as much - Isra- El. Samu -El.  Which happens to be the name of the head god of the Caanite pantheon.  Note also that in the early part of the Pentateuch the name of God is often El, El Shaddai, El Enyon......   clearly some connection to the god El.

And consider all the exames of Israelites following other gods - from the time in the Wilderness to Josiah's reforms.  This sounds like a very common practice that even their kings followed.  Likely somewhat suppressed by later Biblical authors.

I think Judaism evolved as a theology.  I think that's clear from the fact that we had multiple sects by the first century.

However, I do think worship, being reserved for YHWH only has been central belief from the beginning.

I've never understood the narrative of the multiple writers revising the old testament over time.  There is so much in there that is an indictment of the people and the religion.

Moses

Abraham

David

Noah

Solomon

Elijah

 

Why leave all of the embarrassing stuff in about all of these foundational people? If you don't cover that up why edit it at all?

 

Show me one historical document from that period that paints it's people and heroes in such a bad light at times.  It's a story of fidelity, infidelity and a return to fidelity over and over again.

How then do you explain the Josiah reforms?  The 'high places' sounded wide spread.....

How do you explain Israel building the two golden calfs in Bethel and Dan?

How do you reconcile the various names of God used?  Why did God tell Moses that they new him as El before that moment on Mt Sinai?

Many challenges with claiming only central worship for Yahweh from early on.  Worship wasnt centralized till Later - maybe Josiah?

That's a lot to try to answer in one thread, let alone one post.  I can say these are not sudden revelations we've just discovered.   I can also say that much about ever rewritten text was applied to he  new testament and were burned down the Orwellian memory hole after the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. 

 

I do want discuss your central place of worship ideas because you keep coming back to that and I'm not sure exactly where it's coming from.  Do you think the tabernacle of pretemple Israelites is later invention?

I am not sure where you are going with this.

 

My point is that the ancient Israelis most likely worshipped other gods in addition to Yahweh.  There are passages in the Hebrew Bible that indicate as much such as Deuteronomy 32:8-9 passage. 

 

When the Most High (’elyôn) gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated humanity, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of divine beings. For Yahweh’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.

 

Here are related passages that echo this issue:

in Numbers 21:29, the god Chemosh is assigned to the people of Moab.

Psalm 82:1 speaks of the “assembly of El,”

Psalm 29:1 enjoins “the sons of El” to worship Yahweh

Psalm 89:6-7 lists Yahweh among El’s divine council.

2 days ago
8/18/06
Posts: 4889

It's possible I'm just misunderstanding your view.  Probable in fact 

 

I think I would agree with the exception of YHWH being listed as a member of the divine counsel. I think there is plenty of supporting context that it was believed YHWH was the head and founder of the counsel rather than a member. 

 

Again, I think in early religious development there is always a God above gods.  I think Israelites believed that this was their God. A very special inheritance.   Chosen or set apart.   I think it's clear that they believed this from the outset.  I think you can see this drive and discipline to be different very early. 

 

This would also explain the obsession with fidelity.   A drive that isn't common with other Mesopotamian religions. 

 

Another interesting point would be how almost no authority is derived from the priesthood.  Observed ritualistic practices were a constant and people were not subject to the changing whims of a local priesthood. 

 

2 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8251
anthonyMI -
EazyG -
anthonyMI -

"Ballam is one of the biggest mysteries of the old testament.   I'm curious as to why you refer to him as a sorcerer."

He was sent to put on curse on the Israelites, with the implication that it very much would have worked if he did. That sounds like sorcery to me. It is a lot like how the Pharoah's sorcerers had actual power, just less than what Moses or Aaron channeled. This is in very stark contrast to the later story of Elijah and the priests of Baal, where the Baalites were shown to be powerless. That shows some of the development that we are talking about: The Torah, which may have been standardized later but existed in some form much further back, shows clear signs of henotheism. Then when we reach the post-exilic Book of Kings, it is more strictly monotheistic.

 

"We're really drifting."

Fair enough. As long as we put a moratorium on use of the word "Judeo-Christian."

Was Kings and the other Deuteronomistic History definitely written post exile?  I had thought it could have been written in exile?  And the many of the underlying stories were likely on older documents....

I couldn't remember if it was post-exilic or written during the exile. But, either way, it, more than anything else, is the result of the Judahite centralization.

makes one wonder how much things changed as a result of the Judahite centralization.....

Edited: 2 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8252
okiebug -

It's possible I'm just misunderstanding your view.  Probable in fact 

 

I think I would agree with the exception of YHWH being listed as a member of the divine counsel. I think there is plenty of supporting context that it was believed YHWH was the head and founder of the counsel rather than a member. 

 

Again, I think in early religious development there is always a God above gods.  I think Israelites believed that this was their God. A very special inheritance.   Chosen or set apart.   I think it's clear that they believed this from the outset.  I think you can see this drive and discipline to be different very early. 

 

This would also explain the obsession with fidelity.   A drive that isn't common with other Mesopotamian religions. 

 

Another interesting point would be how almost no authority is derived from the priesthood.  Observed ritualistic practices were a constant and people were not subject to the changing whims of a local priesthood. 

 

in the Deuteronomy passage I quoted, El is apparently the head god and Yahweh, the junior god, is given Israel as his people.

So it appears that El originally was the head god and over time Israel made Yahweh their head god and eliminated El. 

Other observation is that the Josiah reforms sounded like a big deal and potentially changed ritual practices.....

Edited: 2 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 5636
EazyG -
okiebug -

It's possible I'm just misunderstanding your view.  Probable in fact 

 

I think I would agree with the exception of YHWH being listed as a member of the divine counsel. I think there is plenty of supporting context that it was believed YHWH was the head and founder of the counsel rather than a member. 

 

Again, I think in early religious development there is always a God above gods.  I think Israelites believed that this was their God. A very special inheritance.   Chosen or set apart.   I think it's clear that they believed this from the outset.  I think you can see this drive and discipline to be different very early. 

 

This would also explain the obsession with fidelity.   A drive that isn't common with other Mesopotamian religions. 

 

Another interesting point would be how almost no authority is derived from the priesthood.  Observed ritualistic practices were a constant and people were not subject to the changing whims of a local priesthood. 

 

in the Deuteronomy passage I quoted, El is apparently the head god and Yahweh, the junior god, is given Israel as his people.

So it appears that El originally was the head god and over time Israel made Yahweh their head god and eliminated El. 

Other observation is that the Josiah reforms sounded like a big deal and potentially changed ritual practices.....

None of this is true.

 Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (that you failed to actually quote)

“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations,
When He separated the sons of Adam,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is His people;
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”

Psalm 29:1

A Psalm of David. “Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength.”

mighty ones is also interpreted as heavenly ones or angels.

The rest of your post is equally flawed. 

You’re lying A LOT to slander Jews. I wonder why...

 

Edited: 2 days ago
11/28/08
Posts: 23529
EazyG -
anthonyMI -
EazyG -
anthonyMI -

"Ballam is one of the biggest mysteries of the old testament.   I'm curious as to why you refer to him as a sorcerer."

He was sent to put on curse on the Israelites, with the implication that it very much would have worked if he did. That sounds like sorcery to me. It is a lot like how the Pharoah's sorcerers had actual power, just less than what Moses or Aaron channeled. This is in very stark contrast to the later story of Elijah and the priests of Baal, where the Baalites were shown to be powerless. That shows some of the development that we are talking about: The Torah, which may have been standardized later but existed in some form much further back, shows clear signs of henotheism. Then when we reach the post-exilic Book of Kings, it is more strictly monotheistic.

 

"We're really drifting."

Fair enough. As long as we put a moratorium on use of the word "Judeo-Christian."

Was Kings and the other Deuteronomistic History definitely written post exile?  I had thought it could have been written in exile?  And the many of the underlying stories were likely on older documents....

I couldn't remember if it was post-exilic or written during the exile. But, either way, it, more than anything else, is the result of the Judahite centralization.

makes one wonder how much things changed as a result of the Judahite centralization.....

There is a novel by Yochi Brandes called Secret Book of Kings that is set at the time of David and Solomon where the main idea is that they were both kinda dicks and takes the side of the northern tribes.

Edited: 2 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8253
The Jentleman -
EazyG -
okiebug -

It's possible I'm just misunderstanding your view.  Probable in fact 

 

I think I would agree with the exception of YHWH being listed as a member of the divine counsel. I think there is plenty of supporting context that it was believed YHWH was the head and founder of the counsel rather than a member. 

 

Again, I think in early religious development there is always a God above gods.  I think Israelites believed that this was their God. A very special inheritance.   Chosen or set apart.   I think it's clear that they believed this from the outset.  I think you can see this drive and discipline to be different very early. 

 

This would also explain the obsession with fidelity.   A drive that isn't common with other Mesopotamian religions. 

 

Another interesting point would be how almost no authority is derived from the priesthood.  Observed ritualistic practices were a constant and people were not subject to the changing whims of a local priesthood. 

 

in the Deuteronomy passage I quoted, El is apparently the head god and Yahweh, the junior god, is given Israel as his people.

So it appears that El originally was the head god and over time Israel made Yahweh their head god and eliminated El. 

Other observation is that the Josiah reforms sounded like a big deal and potentially changed ritual practices.....

None of this is true.

 Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (that you failed to actually quote)

“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations,
When He separated the sons of Adam,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is His people;
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”

Psalm 29:1

A Psalm of David. “Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength.”

mighty ones is also interpreted as heavenly ones or angels.

The rest of your post is equally flawed. 

You’re lying A LOT to slander Jews. I wonder why...

 

You picked a specific translation that probably backs your religilous view.

Lets look at the underlying texts.  You are translating 'Elyon' as 'Most High'

and 'Yahweh" as 'Lord' obscures the key issues.

 

Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god.

Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

4QDeutj  (Dead Sea Scroll)

"When Elyon gave the nations as an inheritance, when he separated the sons of man, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God (bny 'l[hym]). For Yahweh's portion was his people; Jacob was the lot of his inheritance".

LXX (Septuagint)

"When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the angels of God (aggelón theou). And his people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, Israel was the line of his inheritance".

MT (Masoretic Text)

"When Elyon gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all the sons of man, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel (bny yshr'l). For Yahweh's portion was his people, Jacob was the lot of his inheritance".

2 days ago
8/18/06
Posts: 4890

I would say "some scholars".

 

That said again it's context in a larger narrative.

 

If I were to do a comparison in modern English just to illustrate.

 

"When his honor gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all the sons of man, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel (bny yshr'l). For the judge's portion was his people, Jacob was the lot of his inheritance".

 

 

Are we talking about 2 different people or the judge with 2 differing titles?

Edited: 2 days ago
4/27/14
Posts: 24527

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

2 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 5637
EazyG -
The Jentleman -
EazyG -
okiebug -

It's possible I'm just misunderstanding your view.  Probable in fact 

 

I think I would agree with the exception of YHWH being listed as a member of the divine counsel. I think there is plenty of supporting context that it was believed YHWH was the head and founder of the counsel rather than a member. 

 

Again, I think in early religious development there is always a God above gods.  I think Israelites believed that this was their God. A very special inheritance.   Chosen or set apart.   I think it's clear that they believed this from the outset.  I think you can see this drive and discipline to be different very early. 

 

This would also explain the obsession with fidelity.   A drive that isn't common with other Mesopotamian religions. 

 

Another interesting point would be how almost no authority is derived from the priesthood.  Observed ritualistic practices were a constant and people were not subject to the changing whims of a local priesthood. 

 

in the Deuteronomy passage I quoted, El is apparently the head god and Yahweh, the junior god, is given Israel as his people.

So it appears that El originally was the head god and over time Israel made Yahweh their head god and eliminated El. 

Other observation is that the Josiah reforms sounded like a big deal and potentially changed ritual practices.....

None of this is true.

 Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (that you failed to actually quote)

“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations,
When He separated the sons of Adam,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is His people;
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”

Psalm 29:1

A Psalm of David. “Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength.”

mighty ones is also interpreted as heavenly ones or angels.

The rest of your post is equally flawed. 

You’re lying A LOT to slander Jews. I wonder why...

 

You picked a specific translation that probably backs your religilous view.

Lets look at the underlying texts.  You are translating 'Elyon' as 'Most High'

and 'Yahweh" as 'Lord' obscures the key issues.

 

Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god.

Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

4QDeutj  (Dead Sea Scroll)

"When Elyon gave the nations as an inheritance, when he separated the sons of man, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God (bny 'l[hym]). For Yahweh's portion was his people; Jacob was the lot of his inheritance".

LXX (Septuagint)

"When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the angels of God (aggelón theou). And his people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, Israel was the line of his inheritance".

MT (Masoretic Text)

"When Elyon gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all the sons of man, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel (bny yshr'l). For Yahweh's portion was his people, Jacob was the lot of his inheritance".

The most accurate English translation (word for word) recognized by scholars is the NASB which translates the same way I posted. 
  No, Elyon” is an adjective derived from a Hebrew word that literally translates to “ascended” or “to go up”. Used as Elyon it means the one most ascended or “Most High”. No respectable scholar would try to translate this into anything else because it would be a major stretch.

“el” simply means “god” in Hebrew. It’s a generic word. It only becomes specific when used in context. 

In this context it is using it the same way we separate “god” from “God”. 

In combination “El Elyon” this is translated literally to God Most High. You would have people believe that “El” and “Elyon” are two versions of the same name; which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to use in this context.

If this is the drivel that this book taught you then you need to take it back to the penny store and get your money back. You should be pissed that you have been so blatantly lied to, but I doubt it.

2 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 5638
The Stewed Owl -

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

This is correct. There’s no respectable scholars that give any serious credibility to OP’s claims. I don’t know what kind of nonsense he’s reading, but it appears to be a very poor attempt at discrediting Jews in a very anti-Semitic way.

2 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8254
The Stewed Owl -

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

Stewed Owl and Okiebug,

I think we have reached a key topic.  How does one translate Elyon?  I wil more carefully restate my arguement.  In early Hebrew most critical scholars translate it as El.  But this is really part of a broader discussion - polytheism and early Israel.  

I have been open about the research that supports the view that early Israelites where polytheistic - by scholars such as Mark Smith, Baruch Helpern, Paul Romer, Israel Finkelstein, Richard Friedman, William Devers.....

You are clearly critical of this work.  Could you please show the research that supports your views?

Edited: 1 day ago
4/27/14
Posts: 24529
EazyG - 
The Stewed Owl -

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

Stewed Owl and Okiebug,

I think we have reached a key topic.  How does one translate Elyon?  I wil more carefully restate my arguement.  In early Hebrew most critical scholars translate it as El.  But this is really part of a broader discussion - polytheism and early Israel.  

I have been open about the research that supports the view that early Israelites where polytheistic - by scholars such as Mark Smith, Baruch Helpern, Paul Romer, Israel Finkelstein, Richard Friedman, William Devers.....

You are clearly critical of this work.  Could you please show the research that supports your views?

 

You should probably start with a good quality Hebrew dictionary or concordance, to make sure the words to which you are referring mean what you think they mean. There are literally millennia of scholarship on this issue. If you're seriously interested in pursuing this, a good place to start would be Matityahu Clark's "Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew", which is based on the commentaries of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. 

 

1 day ago
8/18/06
Posts: 4891
EazyG -
The Stewed Owl -

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

Stewed Owl and Okiebug,

I think we have reached a key topic.  How does one translate Elyon?  I wil more carefully restate my arguement.  In early Hebrew most critical scholars translate it as El.  But this is really part of a broader discussion - polytheism and early Israel.  

I have been open about the research that supports the view that early Israelites where polytheistic - by scholars such as Mark Smith, Baruch Helpern, Paul Romer, Israel Finkelstein, Richard Friedman, William Devers.....

You are clearly critical of this work.  Could you please show the research that supports your views?

I think your claim is that Judaism accepted the practice of worshiping gods other than YHWH at some point even up to the babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. 

 

I'm not sure, without reading the scholars you've sighted where the supporting evidence is.  I have read similar theories but back to an earlier point they have always seemed to me to be dot connecting.   As Saint Athanasius proposed,  rearranging the tiles of scripture to create the mosaic you want.

 

The problem you have in those revisionist views you have obvious gaps that you can fill by saying the original writers or scribes shortly after simply changed the narrative.  

 

So they end up finding what they would believe to be a possible contradiction and claim all context that would solve it has been corrupted. 

 

This line of thought has 2 problems. 

 

1.  There is so much in the old testament that is incredibly unflattering towards the followers,  it's monarchs and priesthood.   No other ancient writers ever wrote anything like it.  Everything else from that period is so incredibly sanitized that in many cases it's the only historical source that paints an actual picture of the region we can trust.

 

2.  If such sanitizing took place are we to believe the just missed a couple of spots?  They got 99% but a 21st century detective can go back with only the neck bone and reconstruct an entirely different dinosaur?

 

Let me ask a different question.   If I were to write a book, a paper or an article that said everything in the old testament is pretty much what we always thought it was all along,  how popular would it be?  How much press would it receive?  How many young people would be lining up to read it?   And the real kicker, how much would I recieve in grant money. 

 

I have a tendency myself to get excited when I think something new has been discovered that exposes a previously assembled narrative.   I've searched every dark corner of academia looking for more information on gobekli tepe just because it resets everything previously thought about the foundation modern humanity.

 

I think if you widen your research you'll find many boring scholars who will tell you just because the hounds are baying don't mean they're on the coon. 

 

 

 

Edited: 1 day ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8259
The Stewed Owl -
EazyG - 
The Stewed Owl -

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

Stewed Owl and Okiebug,

I think we have reached a key topic.  How does one translate Elyon?  I wil more carefully restate my arguement.  In early Hebrew most critical scholars translate it as El.  But this is really part of a broader discussion - polytheism and early Israel.  

I have been open about the research that supports the view that early Israelites where polytheistic - by scholars such as Mark Smith, Baruch Helpern, Paul Romer, Israel Finkelstein, Richard Friedman, William Devers.....

You are clearly critical of this work.  Could you please show the research that supports your views?

 

You should probably start with a good quality Hebrew dictionary or concordance, to make sure the words to which you are referring mean what you think they mean. There are literally millennia of scholarship on this issue. If you're seriously interested in pursuing this, a good place to start would be Matityahu Clark's "Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew", which is based on the commentaries of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. 

 

Thanks for mentioning Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh.  He sounds like a remarkable individual and deep scholar in Biblical Hebrew.

 

After reading about Rabbi Hirsh, I have several main responses to you.

(1) In terms of interpretations of the Hebrew Bible, Rabbi Hirsh died in 1888.  As such he never had seen later relevant discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, decades of relevant archeological evidence, documents from Uggarit such as the Baal Cycle, Steele of Mesha......  His work simply does not reflect the best current evidence we have.

(2)  The scholars I have listed are well trained in the history, language, religions, archeology and culture not only of ancient Israel but also of the nations/peoples in that area and thus able to better understand the complex overlapping societies impact on Israel.  They typically know not only Hebrew and Biblical Greek but also Persian, Aramaic, Assyrian, Uggaritic, Akkadian/Babylonian.  I do not get the sense that Rabbi Hirsh had such training, as it was not offered back then which would certainly limit his understanding of the broader culture's impact on ancient Israel.

(3)  Finally I sense you are approaching this from a faith base perspective which I respect but it very different from an evidence based approach of modern critical scholarship.  I quote a quick summary of Rabbi Hirsh's view below - he clearly approached Hebrew and the Torah from a faith based perspective.  Perhaps we should just acknowledge we approach these compelling issues from different approachs/perspectives?

 

 

While Hirsch was a scholar and child of the Haskalah, he had no tolerance for the historical approach to Judaism (then an emerging school under Zecharia Frankel and the forerunner of the Conservative movement) as he felt it produced a relativistic attitude toward Torah. He fully believed in the total Divinity of the Torah and rejected the idea that law could be changed as a conscious process of historic development.

1 day ago
3/28/02
Posts: 8260
okiebug -
EazyG -
The Stewed Owl -

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

Stewed Owl and Okiebug,

I think we have reached a key topic.  How does one translate Elyon?  I wil more carefully restate my arguement.  In early Hebrew most critical scholars translate it as El.  But this is really part of a broader discussion - polytheism and early Israel.  

I have been open about the research that supports the view that early Israelites where polytheistic - by scholars such as Mark Smith, Baruch Helpern, Paul Romer, Israel Finkelstein, Richard Friedman, William Devers.....

You are clearly critical of this work.  Could you please show the research that supports your views?

I think your claim is that Judaism accepted the practice of worshiping gods other than YHWH at some point even up to the babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. 

 

I'm not sure, without reading the scholars you've sighted where the supporting evidence is.  I have read similar theories but back to an earlier point they have always seemed to me to be dot connecting.   As Saint Athanasius proposed,  rearranging the tiles of scripture to create the mosaic you want.

 

The problem you have in those revisionist views you have obvious gaps that you can fill by saying the original writers or scribes shortly after simply changed the narrative.  

 

So they end up finding what they would believe to be a possible contradiction and claim all context that would solve it has been corrupted. 

 

This line of thought has 2 problems. 

 

1.  There is so much in the old testament that is incredibly unflattering towards the followers,  it's monarchs and priesthood.   No other ancient writers ever wrote anything like it.  Everything else from that period is so incredibly sanitized that in many cases it's the only historical source that paints an actual picture of the region we can trust.

 

2.  If such sanitizing took place are we to believe the just missed a couple of spots?  They got 99% but a 21st century detective can go back with only the neck bone and reconstruct an entirely different dinosaur?

 

Let me ask a different question.   If I were to write a book, a paper or an article that said everything in the old testament is pretty much what we always thought it was all along,  how popular would it be?  How much press would it receive?  How many young people would be lining up to read it?   And the real kicker, how much would I recieve in grant money. 

 

I have a tendency myself to get excited when I think something new has been discovered that exposes a previously assembled narrative.   I've searched every dark corner of academia looking for more information on gobekli tepe just because it resets everything previously thought about the foundation modern humanity.

 

I think if you widen your research you'll find many boring scholars who will tell you just because the hounds are baying don't mean they're on the coon. 

 

 

 

can you please provide some credible, evidence based scholars that support your views?

To date I have not seen ones are able to present strong evidence based arguments to support their views which, honestly, tend to be faith based.  At the end of the day, they tend to assume their conclusions based on their faith ad then work like crazy to twist the evidence to back up their views.

Edited: 1 day ago
8/18/06
Posts: 4892
EazyG -
okiebug -
EazyG -
The Stewed Owl -

I would be cautious in making the claim that "Scholars view..." It's lilke saying "Science tells us that..." Scholars often disagree. That's the nature of scholarship.

"Scholars view 'Elyon' as referring specifically to El, not a general 'Most High' god. Why? in Genesis 33:20 Jacob builds an altar in the old cultic center of the north, Shechem, and dedicates it to “El, god of Israel” (’el ’elohe yišra’el ). There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew here: ’el must be translated as a proper name, El.  Note that the Dead Sea Scroll and Masoretic Text versions have the same basic version."

EL is a proper name for God in numerous instances in the texts, as well as a generic noun for gods/deities and was used as a title for various pagan deities

The word "ELOHE" in Hebrew is the possessive propositional form of "ELOHIM" meaning "god of". As you know, the Hebrew in the Mesoretic texts do not have an lower case to differentiate el / El between a generic noun "god" or "God" the proper name and/or the ontological ultimate, so the translation can be as easily read as "God, the god of Israel" as "El, the god of Israel." 

EL also has a connotation of "might" or "power" in Old Testament Hebrew   and is etymologically related to the Semitic word for "power", (as in Gen 31:29, "I have the power (EL) to harm you") so the phrase could (and has been) translated as "Mighty is the God of Israel" as the name for the altar in context.

I also don't think ELYON is generally accepted by many legit scholars as referring to a pagan EL deity. You should probably do some more research on this issue. As EL is used in multiple meanings, in Hebrew when it is used to refer to God, it is used in what are called "construct forms" to put the meaning clear in context and to differentiate that this was ontologically ultimate God of the Jews - EL ELYON means "God the Most High" to emphasize His supremacy, power, etc. (as in Genesis 14:20) and sometimes simply as "The Most High" (like Num, 24:16) Other examples of construct forms in the Tanakh are EL OLAM, the Everlasting God or God Everlasting; EL ROI, The God Who Sees Me; EL GIBBOR, the Mighty God; EL DE'OT God the All-Knowing, EL HAGGADOL, The Great God or God the Great; EL HAKKAVOD, The God of Glory / Glorious God; IMMANUEL (God with us), EL HANNORA (God the Awesome / The Awesome God). EL KANNO (God the Jealous / The Jealous God), and many others. We also see EL incorporated into Hebrew names - Michael, Joel, Samuel, Gabriel, etc to connotae their closeness to God (especially in the case of the angels). It is even incorporated into Israel, "God Strives".

 

Stewed Owl and Okiebug,

I think we have reached a key topic.  How does one translate Elyon?  I wil more carefully restate my arguement.  In early Hebrew most critical scholars translate it as El.  But this is really part of a broader discussion - polytheism and early Israel.  

I have been open about the research that supports the view that early Israelites where polytheistic - by scholars such as Mark Smith, Baruch Helpern, Paul Romer, Israel Finkelstein, Richard Friedman, William Devers.....

You are clearly critical of this work.  Could you please show the research that supports your views?

I think your claim is that Judaism accepted the practice of worshiping gods other than YHWH at some point even up to the babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. 

 

I'm not sure, without reading the scholars you've sighted where the supporting evidence is.  I have read similar theories but back to an earlier point they have always seemed to me to be dot connecting.   As Saint Athanasius proposed,  rearranging the tiles of scripture to create the mosaic you want.

 

The problem you have in those revisionist views you have obvious gaps that you can fill by saying the original writers or scribes shortly after simply changed the narrative.  

 

So they end up finding what they would believe to be a possible contradiction and claim all context that would solve it has been corrupted. 

 

This line of thought has 2 problems. 

 

1.  There is so much in the old testament that is incredibly unflattering towards the followers,  it's monarchs and priesthood.   No other ancient writers ever wrote anything like it.  Everything else from that period is so incredibly sanitized that in many cases it's the only historical source that paints an actual picture of the region we can trust.

 

2.  If such sanitizing took place are we to believe the just missed a couple of spots?  They got 99% but a 21st century detective can go back with only the neck bone and reconstruct an entirely different dinosaur?

 

Let me ask a different question.   If I were to write a book, a paper or an article that said everything in the old testament is pretty much what we always thought it was all along,  how popular would it be?  How much press would it receive?  How many young people would be lining up to read it?   And the real kicker, how much would I recieve in grant money. 

 

I have a tendency myself to get excited when I think something new has been discovered that exposes a previously assembled narrative.   I've searched every dark corner of academia looking for more information on gobekli tepe just because it resets everything previously thought about the foundation modern humanity.

 

I think if you widen your research you'll find many boring scholars who will tell you just because the hounds are baying don't mean they're on the coon. 

 

 

 

can you please provide some credible, evidence based scholars that support your views?

To date I have not seen ones are able to present strong evidence based arguments to support their views which, honestly, tend to be faith based.  At the end of the day, they tend to assume their conclusions based on their faith ad then work like crazy to twist the evidence to back up their views.

Claiming I'm making a faith based argument is a little unkind.   My starting point is to take the people who wrote it at their word.  Again it's the most extensive and honest work we have from that period and it's not even close.

 

Why would I believe that they engaged on some sort of plot to alter or omit somethings and not others.  Why would I start from that position?

 

Now you can sight an anti faith bias in multiple instances where scholars date scripture after an event solely on the reasoning that a prophet could not have accurately predicted it said event,  ergo it must have been written afterwards. 

 

If I reverse that argument and say it had to be before because he's clearly prophesying, you would say it's a faith based argument.   You would be right but I would argue both are and lack material evidence for argument one way or the other.

 

It's also going to be hard to find a scholar who studies the bible at deep levels that aren't religious therefore you can dismiss any counter point as a faith bias.

1 day ago
8/18/06
Posts: 4893

By the way no matter which direction you head I encourage you to keep digging.   Keep studying.   Dig into dictionaries photos cuneiform,  etc.  I spent untold hours at libraries before the internet.   I hit a lot of dead ends and as frustrating as it got, it's also been very fulfilling.   And I was wrong a lot and have had to admit to others, even harder to myself that I was dead wrong. 

 

Some of my worst moments were discovering that we'll probably never know.

 

That said it's been a blast.  The reason I bring up gobekli tepe is because I was an outlier for a long time, outside of the orthodox anthropologist view of man and religion and that has been satisfying.