• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Debate on the polytheistic past of monotheism

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by ShamashUruk, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    The Hurrians along with Urartu are in their own group, but may be related to the languages of the Caucusus. So neither Semitic nor Indo-European.

    The Hittites did have statues though, and depicted their gods. True, they also used representational ideas like holy animals or sacred rocks on occasion, but so did Semitic people. I think you are reading far more into this than the evidence allows.

    Anyway, Hittite Sacred Rocks (can't think of the term right now) were treated as beings, given food and directly adressed. I think they are perhaps similar to Japanese Kami, where large rocks might also be given a Torii and hung with a tasseled rope to separate the holy and profane.

    Statues do represent gods and aren't thought of as the gods necessarily, but the prohibition of idol worship goes beyond just representation. It is about a covenant relationship in Exodus, a Living God with his people, instead of a dead one wrought by their hands. Aaron declares of the Golden Calf: "behold the God that led you out of Egypt". It was meant to represent YHWH, just as the Bethel and Dan ones were (or perhaps a seder in the latter case). This is not the point of the passage. The Golden calf's origins are anyway open to interpretation, as a connection to Semitic views is just as plausible as Egyptian ones. For in Egypt we see Hathor or the Apis Bull, that easily could refer to fertility, creation or even aspects of the storm. Baal, Reshef and other West Semitic gods are also not unknown in Egypt.

    Egypt didn't just worship living animals, but also their mummified remains, such as Apis bull mummies. There was also representational poles with streamers of gods that were treated as an embodiment of the gods themselves, from which often their hieroglyphic is derived.

    Gold is usually found in an amalgum with silver in the near east, called Electrum.
    This is also why the intensifier of gold is Red Gold, from archaic lack of colour differentiation, but also from reddish hue it sometimes had.

    The big problem with viewing Sumerian religion in this manner, is that it fails to account for the deathpits of Ur. For clearly this informs a far more mechanistic view of existence than the supposed spiritualised, representational one that is otherwise assumed. True, they date from the earliest days of Sumer, but why this would alter, when we have the feeding of other statuary, therefore needs stronger support. It is anyway besides the point, as the commandment against graven images is more about relation between God and his people than representation anyway.

    All such ideas are very difficult to support. The idea of animism predating other ideas is odd in and of itself, as why extend your own nature into other objects? Arguments starting with fetishistic notions make more sense, where something was imbued with power, but all of these theories are debatable.
  2. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion

    Good try, Genesis is written about 1700 bc, so Pre Genesis there are already other creation epics.

    It took a millennia (1000 years) for the west to worship God from his introduction to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? You do realize that all three of those Bible characters aren't even on the same timeline. No matter, a 1000 years from when? Please show resources.

    If God has to proclaim himself the "one true God" then this is indicates by its very nature a developed model.

    Also you do realize there are three religions that follow Abrahamic tradition.

    Pagan is a term meaning "hick" that developed with the spread of Christianity, Heathens are categorized as a person who does not belong to a widely held religion, also I do not have a historical timeline on the Aboriginal people, but please specify which group of Aboriginal people.

    There is no indication that Pre Israel there is a concept of Monotheism, as the Biblical myth of Genesis is written much later. Please provide data.
  3. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    I'd disagree because we do not know what a Hittite God looked like. I do agree the Hurrians are their own group. The treatment of an object to represent a God, does not indicate a deity resides in the object, but as I stated this could be represented differently in Egypt. Ba'al is not unknown in a lot of places, he isn't a "demon", which even the development of the word "demon" we don't see total negative connotation in Sumer, this mainly is due to Sumer language. Wherein Sumer we see this echoed until even the Kassite period we see with Samas (an evil God in some cultures) being weakened by protective demons. So in contrast in Sumer we see negative demons and protective demons. But a little more on demons at least in contrast to idolatry and the development of demons.

    The word demon The word and concept 'demon' underwent fundamental change in antiquity caused by the rise of dualism in the essentially monistic cultures of the Near East. These monistic cultures viewed the universe as a unified system in which each member, divine and human, had its proper domain and function above, upon, or below the earth. There was (as yet) no arch-enemy Devil, nor a rival camp of Satanic demons tempting and deceiving humans into sin and blasphemy, eventually to be cast into eternal hell at the final end of the present age. Humans also had their function in this diverse but unified system: to serve the gods and obey their dictates. their Law, for which they received their rewards while alive.

    After death all humans descended into the underworld from which there was no return; there was no Last Judgment, and no hope of resurrection. Every occurrence in the world of the ancients had a spiritual as well as physical cause, determined by the gods. To enforce divine Law, to regulate the balance of blessing and curse in the human realm, and to ensure human mortality, the gods employed, among other means, the daimones (cf. Hesiod. Erga 252-255). Just as Ευδουμονία meant'prosperity, good fortune, happiness', and depended on the activity of a benevolent spirits, so ανεπαρκής τύχη 'ill fortune' was caused by some dark but legitimate power. The latter were the spirits of calamity and death who performed the will of the greater gods. In I Sam 16: 14, for example, an Evil Spirit from the LORD torments Saul; in I Kgs 22: 19-23 Yahweh sends a lying spirit of false prophecy to Ahab; in Ex 12:23, to kill the firstborn of Egypt, Yahweh sends the Destroyer, an agent of the Lord mentioned again in I Cor 10: 10 and perhaps
    as Abaddon/Apollyon in Rev 8: II (cf. the Erinyes, Greek spirits of retribution, in II. 9.571).

    The Mesopotamian story of Atrahasis shows that the demon Pashittu, a baby snatcher, was created by the gods to keep down human population (Arr. III vii 3-
    4). Sir 39:28-29 speaks of spirits created by the lord for vengeance: fire, hail, famine and pestilence. Such spirits were often the offspring of the greater gods themselves (JACOBSEN 1976: 13).

    These spirits occupied the dangerous places: the desert. the lonely wastes, the
    deserted by-ways. Rabisu, for example, the Croucher of horrible aspect, lay in wait in dark corners and alleys (cf. Gen 4:7). The scapegoat was sent to Azazel, a desert demon, on the day of Atonement (Lev 16:8-28). They held power during dangerous situations and times: chiefly at night, during sleep, during a wind storm or an eclipse or the heat of mid-day, and especially in childbirth. Lilith, a lascivious female demon, haunted a man in his dreams. The desert storm winds were thought to bring calamity and disease (cf. the Babylonian Pazuzu, king of the wind demons). The seven evil gods (cf. Deut 28:22) attacked the moon and caused the eclipse, after which "they swept over the land like a hurricane" (SAGGS 1962:291). The Midday demon attacked the unwary with various ills at the height of the sun. Lamashtu, a terrifying spectre, threatened women and newborns during childbirth and stole suckling infants (cf. the Lamia and Gella in Greece). She was later identified with Lilith, who was the childstealer in later Jewish folklore. They were often personifications of dire situations especially plague (cf. in Greece ..Am. Delusion. Diville Retributioll). Namtar (Fate). the plague demon, was henchman of - Nergal the king of the Mesopotamian Underworld. ~Resheph ('Flame'. the Canaanite plague demon) and Deber (,Pestilence) accompany Yahweh as attendants as he descends in wrath against the earth (Hab 3:5). One of their main activities was to bring death (JACOBSEN 1976:13).

    In contrast to the gods of the upper world, these spirits were often not in human
    form. The shedu's of Babylon and Assyria (cf. Deut 32: 17; Ps 106:37) were depicted as winged bulls. In Isa 34: 14 Lilith as a carrion bird finds a nest in the desert wastes, and is joined by wild desert animals, owls and kites. Resheph is also conceived as a carrion bird (cf. LXX Deut 32:24). The -Devil, ruler of the demons, is called the -Serpent and -Dragon (e. g., Rev 12:9), recalling the
    serpent in the Garden (Gen 3: 1) and the Dragon in the Sea (-.Leviathan; Isa 27: 1).

    Jesus gave his disciples "authority to tread on snakes and scorpions" (Luke 10: 19), referring to demons. The book of Revelation describes three demons as "unclean spirits like frogs" (Rev 16:13). They were often envisioned as composite beings. made up of the frightening aspects of animals, sometimes including human faces or bodies. T. Sol. 18.1-2 speaks of demons "with heads like formless dogs.... [others] in the form of humans or of bulls or of dragons with
    faces like birds or beasts or the sphinx". Pazuzu, the wind demon of Mesopotamia,
    was a horrifying winged creature with human-like face (cf. the Sirens of Greece).
    Revelation also describes the (demonic) 'locusts' from the abyss, armed as battlehorses, with human faces (Rev 9:7). Demons could not only attack but also indwell humans and cause many types of ills: epilepsy, insanity, disability. Against them one protected oneself by prayer, incantation and magic. A magician was called in for exorcism. to diagnose the problem and recite the appropriate incantation. Incantations often took the form of an invocation to the higher gods and a verbal command to exhort evil forces to go away, and might be accompanied by magical aids or acts. Josephus tells of a magic root which drove out demons when applied to the sufferer (Bel. Jud. 7.185). Solomon, in Jewish, Christian and Muslim lore, is said to have had "the skill against the demons for help and healing" (Josephus, Alii. 8.45). and composed incantations and rituals of exorcism: in Josephus' own day, exorcism was performed in Solomon's name with a ring containing a magic root (Am. 8.47). They could be exorcised by providing a substitute host body. usually an animal, but also a figurine or even a reed of the same size as the human sufferer (SAGGS 1962:3(0). That a demon needed a host is an idea found also in the New Testament: demons cast out of the Gerasene demoniac ask to enter a herd of swine lest, apparently, they be left homeless (Mark 5: 12; cf. Matt 12:43-45)

    In the Bible, old meanings and associations of the terms daimon and daimonion
    survived alongside the post-Exilic revaluation. The original neutral sense of 'divinity' is found in Acts 17: 18, where Paul is described by pagan Athenians as a preacher of 'foreign deities' (daimonia). The Septuagint uses daimonion several times in the ancient Near Eastern sense of the spirits of the desert: it translates the Hebrew seirium (wild goats, satyrs, goat demons; Isa 13:21), and siyyium (desert dwelling wild beasts; Isa 34: 14), where desert spirits are
    said to inhabit cities laid waste (cf. also Bar 4:35). The book of Revelation describes the (future) fallen city of "Babylon" (= Rome) as "a dwelling place of demons and a haunt of every unclean spirit and a haunt of every unclean and hateful bird" (18:2) recalling the oracle of desert waste in Isa 13 against Mesopotamian Babylon. One of the major functions of such spirits was to bring fatal calamity: so daimon is used to designate a spirit of "famine and disease" (Sib. Or. 3.331). This inheritance explains the apparent anomaly that the main activity of demons in the New Testament ministry of Jesus is not to tempt to sin but to cause disability, disease and insanity: even though they are clearly associated with the activity of the Devil. During the intertestamental period and the rise of Jewish literature in Greek, the terms daimon and daimonion began to assume among Jews the negative connotation of demon in league with the Devil'. The inspiration for this shift in meaning was the encounter during the Exile and later with Zoroastrian dualism. This cosmology postulated two warring spiritual camps controlled by their leaders, the Zoroastrian God and Devil, and commanded by archangels and archdemons and their descending ranks of lesser spirits. They fought over the loyalty of humans, loyalty expressed in righteous or unrighteous behavior and eventuating in eternal life or fiery destruction. The old gods of the nations and their servant divinities, the lesser spirits of nature and cosmos, were 'demonized', demoted to the class of wicked spirits, tempting humans to sin and enticing them from the true faith by the false doctrines of other religions. Eventually, however, there would be an End, a victory by God, a savior to bring the opposing powers to destruction. a Last Judgment, and a New Age. Circles within Judaism used this framework to revalue older myths and produced after the Exile the dualistic strains of Judaism visible in post-exilic and intertestamental literature and in Christianity. As the gods of the nations were demonized so 'demon' in the dualistic sense is found in the Septuagint (LXX) as a designation of pagan deities and spirits: in LXX Ps 95:5 the national deities of other peoples, said to be idols Celilim) in Hebrew, become "demons" ("All the gods of the nations are demons"); in LXX Deut 32: 17, the foreign divinities whom Israel worshipped, properly described in the Hebrew text as fedim (tutelary spirit). are again called "demons" (They sacrificed to demons and not to God"; cf. LXX Ps 105:37; Bar. 4:7); in LXX Isa 65: II daimon renders the Hebrew name of the pagan god of Fortune (-Gad), where the Israelites are said to have been "preparing a table for the demon". This conception of table fellowship with pagan gods who are in reality demons carries over into the New Testament: Paul warns the Corinthian Church that they may not eat sacrificial meals in pagan temples, for "that which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons", meaning, for Corinth, the Greek gods Asklepios, Sarapis, and especially Demeter.
    So Paul sets in opposition "the table of the Lord and the table of demons" (I Cor
    10:20-21). Likewise, the author of Revelation identifies the worship of idols with the worship of demons (Rev 9:20). In the intertestamental literature one finds "the evil demon -·Asmodeus'· (Tob 3:8, 17; the name may be derived from the Persian aeshma daeva, 'demon of wrath'). Demons become tempters who lead one into-and are even the personifications of various sins: one finds the Seven Spirits of deceit (T. Reub. 2.1; 3.2ff.) which are named after and cause
    various sins; "demons of deceit" and "spirit of error" (T. Jud. 23.1; 20.1; cf. the "spirit of falsehood" in I QS 4.9ff.) connected with licentiousness, idolatry, and witchcraft; the "spirit of anger" (T. Dan 1-2) and "spirit of envy" (T. Sim. 4.7).

    One ancient theory of the origin of the demons was that they were the souls of the
    dead who, having been unjustly treated or killed, sought retribution (as perhaps were the Erinyes; cf. the Biblical -+Rephaim; also TenulIian, De Anima 57). Another conception was that they were the ghosts of the wicked dead (Josephus, Bel. Jud. 7.185: "demons [are] the spirits of wicked people who enter and kill the living"). Origen tells us that the Church had no clearly defined teaching on their genesis; his view was that the Devil, after becoming apostate. induced many of the angels to fall away with him; these fallen angels were the demons (De Prine. pref. 6; Tatian, Adv. Gr. 20; cf. Rev 12:4). The most popular myth, however. is found in the Bible, intenestamental literature, the rabbis and the Church fathers: demons are the souls of the offspring of angels who cohabited with humans. According to this story, a group of angels descended from heaven and mated with human women, producing as offspring a race of wicked giants who conquered and defiled the earth with violence and bloodshed. To destroy them, God caused the Flood. The
    spirits of the drowned giants, neither angelic nor human, were trapped in the regions of the air which they haunt as demons, seeking host bodies to inhabit (cf. "the power of the air" Eph 2:2; and Eusebius, Praep. Ev. 4.5.142: [Greek theologians] assigned "the atmosphere to demons"). According to Justin M'lrtyr, "the angels ... were captivated by love of women and engendered children who are called demons" (2 Apol. 5; cf. Gen 6: 1-4; I Enoch 6-21: JlIb. 4:22;
    5: Iff.; Jude 6). In thc New Testament the word daimon occurs but once (Matt 8:31). The parallel passage in Luke 8:27 uses daimonion, a word found more than fifty times (but for Acts 17: 18) for a wicked demonic spirit. Mark 5 describes the Gerasene demoniac as having an "unclean spirit" (JtVEUJ,lU u Kci8Uptov). The phrase is found twenty times in the NT (cf. also LXX Zcch 13:2, of the spirit of false prophecy: T. Bell. 5.2). "Evil spirit" (JtVEUJ,lU JtOVTlPO\') is used for daimonion in Luke 8:2. From these passages one learns the nature and function of demons in the New Testament era: to defile and bring to evil their human subjects and hosts, in both physical and spiritual ways. Demons sought to indwell humans and were able to do so in large numbers: the Gerasene demoniac was indwelt, as he said, by "-·Legion, for we are many" (Mark 5:9). Mary Magdalene was said to have been healed of seven demons (Luke 8:2; ef. II :24-26). This indwelling is described by the Biblical writers with the phrase "to have a demon" (eXElV OalJ,lOVlOV) or "to be demonized" (oOlJ,lovi~E08al). The indwelling spirit seems nevertheless to 'possess' the host, speaking through and casting the sufferer about as though animating a puppet from inside (Mark 1:24: 9:26). The main effect of demons on the host in the Synoptic writers was to cause physical and mental suffering. and anti-social behavior: the violent Gerasene demoniac lives in tombs and deserted places, is periodically bound and chained. continually crying out and gashing himself with stones (Mark 5:2-6). While demonization was often differentiated from debility and disease (Matt 4:24, Mark I:32), demons also caused dumbness (Matt 9:32), blindness (Matt 12:22), deafness (Mark 9: 17-29), epilepsy (Matt 17: 18: lit. "being moonstruck") and apparently fever and other diseases (Luke 4:39: 8:2). Its chief manifestation. however, was insanity: the Gerasene demoniac, when healed, is said to "be in his right mind" (Mark 5:15). So common was this idea that it was a popular calumny to claim that one with whom one disagreed was 'insane': so John the Baptist was slandered as demonized (= 'insane': Luke 7:33), as was Jesus (John 8:48; cf. 10:20 "he has a demon and is insane"). Jesus, according to the New Testament, cast demons out (Ekbatteiv) with a word of command (Matt 8:16: in 8:32 the word is utayete. "Go away!"). He gave his disciples authority to cast out demons in his name, which they did with remarkable success for centuries (Luke 10: 17; Tertullian Apof. 23.15-18: however, cf. Mark 9:18-19). The point of exorcism in the ministry of Jesus and the early Church was not only the relief of suffering. but the clash of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Devil. This evil kingdom was conceptualized as an army organized under the Devil with ranks of officers of various levels (cf. Luke II: 18, 26: Eph 6: 12). When Jesus was accused of casting out demons by their ruler Beelzebul (a name for the Devil: Baal-zebub), he replied that his mission was to "enter the strong man's house and carry off his property" (Mark 3:27), to enter the kingdom of the Devil and rescue those who were oppressed: this he did by "binding the strong man" which was exorcism of demons by the Spirit of God (Matt 12:28). The demons apparently recognized Jesus on sight often shouting. "I know who you are, the holy one of God" (Mark 1:24: cf. I:34). They seemed terrified (cf. Jas 2: 19). knowing of their coming judgment and that Jesus would bring their demise: so they cried out "Have you come to destroy us?" (Mark I:24), or "Have you come to torment us before the time?" (Matt 8:29; cf. Matt 25:41 "the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels"). In Luke 8:31, the Gerasene demons entreated Jesus not to send them into the abyss. which may refer to the desert prison of the fallen angels (cf. the "pits of darkness" to which the angels are assigned in 2 Pet 2:4; also cf. Rev 9: I-II).

    For Paul and the Pauline school, the battle of the two kingdoms was more clearly a battle between cosmic powers and religious loyalties. The competing gods of the Greeks arc demons (I Cor 10:20-21; cf I Cor 12:2), and Christians were once under the spiritual powers of the "elements" (= the stars and signs of the Zodiac; Gal 4:3, 8-9; Col 2:8, 20; cf. T. Sol. 18.3: "the heavenly bodies, the world rulers of the darkness of this age"). Maybe they include the demonic "rulers of this age" who crucified Jesus in their ignorance (I Cor 2:8). Nevertheless God disarmed the demonic rulers and authorities through -'Christ (Col 2: 15), and Christ at his resurrection was given mastery over all angelic and demonic "rule and authority and power and dominion" (Eph 1:21; cf 1 Cor 15:24-25); so Christians one day will sit in judgment over the (evil) angels (I Cor 6:3). The demonic forces attack the Church: such angels, principalities (Archai), and powers try, but will fail, to separate believers from God's love (Rom 8:38); false Christian apostles, servants of Satan, attempted to deceive the Corinthians with false doctrines (2 Cor II: 13-15); an angel of Satan even torments Paul (2 Cor 12:7); the writer of the Pastoral epistles predicts that in the last days the unwary would follow "deceitful spirits" and "doctrines of demons", which included food taboos and
    the forbidding of marriage (1 Tim 4:1-3).

    There are a few views of death in Sumer and depending on which period it is. The ancient Mesopotamians appear generally to have believed that after death most human beings survived in the form of a spirit or ghost which lived in the underworld (see also gidim). One of the duties of the living was to make funerary offerings (of food, drink and oil) to their deceased relatives. A special case is provided by extensive records from Girsu from the Early Dynastic Period of offerings made before the prayer statues of deceased rulers and members of the ruling family: these statues were, it is assumed, originally dedicated by the living to stand in temples and pray constantly for them before the gods. After the death of their donors the statues could not be moved and so came to be the recipients of offerings. However, this does not imply ancestor worship.

    If the living neglected to make kispu (funerary offerings), the spirit might wander abroad and return to haunt the upper world. The conditions of `life' in the underworld were thought, with few exceptions, to be dismal in the extreme. The Sumerian dead fed on dust and scraps and lived in darkness. This is amply documented in the Sumerian poem `Gilgameš, Enkidu and the Nether World' (closely paralleled by part of the twelfth tablet of the Standard Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgameš), where Gilgames asks the ghost (gidim) of Enkidu about the underworld. Only stillborn children and those who died 'before their time' are envisaged, doubtless as a consolation to parents, as playing at a `gold and silver table' and feasting. Otherwise, those with most living children are best off, as having the best chance of receiving funerary offerings. The nature of these grave goods, as recovered from excavations, suggests that the dead could perform at least some of the activities of this life in the hereafter.

    Those who died and did not receive proper burial were in a sorry state; worst of all was the man who died in a fire, who did not even have a body to be buried. 'His spirit is not in the underworld. His smoke went up to the sky.' Another Sumerian poem, `The Death of Gilgameš', suggests that it was expected, after death, that the deceased would present gifts to the denizens of the underworld. There is reference in a poem of the Third Dynasty of Ur, moreover, to different treatments being accorded to individuals in the afterlife dependent
    upon their condition of burial.

    Then there are the Royal Pits at Ur, or Deathpit, or PG1237 and discovered by Sir Leo Woolley. Self sacrifice is not an uncommon theme in Ancient Near East, I am also unaware of when these sacrifices occured, it may be later Sumer that it happened. The neat arrangement of bodies convinced Woolley the attendants in the tombs had not been killed, but had gone willingly to their deaths, drinking some deadly or soporific drug. He suggested that in so doing they were assured a “less nebulous and miserable existence” than ordinary men and women. In Sumer in early Sumer there is a theme that the Gods wanted humans to thrive, even in our small circle on Facebook decidedly most of us are anti abortion. So the idea of self sacrifice in taking human life may reflect a much younger idea in Sumer and is most likely Rulers who did not agree with earlier Sumerian's. Life is a one time kind of thing, and unless you believe in reincarnation, there is said to be an afterlife.

    Yeah from my reading it seems one can only speculate on what earlier than Sumer groups may have thought. Like I said Golbe Tepe (I spelled it wrong) might give some clue.
  4. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

    United States
    History is rarely written in real time; that's called news.

    Sorry, I meant milleniums.

    Only Christianity follows the true God in the present day.

    Islam worships the God "of Abraham and Ishmael", not of "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    The Jews worship the God of the Old Testament, not the new.
  5. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion

    Yes I realize that history is not written in real time, still doesn't explain the preexisting creation epics and themes adopted into the modern bible version. Still doesn't explain linguistically Sumerian language predating Semitic language. Sumerian's are polytheistic and so are most Semitic people's, we don't see this development really take off until Israel develops a model for it.

    It's still about a 1000 years even in plural form. Can you clarify?

    Christianity develops a one God theme, but the original texts beyond 1200 bc no one has. Also, there is no evidence to support that there is a differentiating Abraham, which is by the way a West Semitic Common stock name in lands such as Canaan. Abraham (if he existed) came from Ur which is Uruk or later Ur of Chaldeas. So, technically he is Sumerian but whether he actually existed or not is a scholarly debate. Christianity from the Old Testament is developed from Judaism, hence the portrayal of the Word of God as a female entity in Judaism (Shekhinah) has a parallel in Mesopotamia: Ištar as the Word of God. In the Assyrian oracles, called the “words of Ištar,” the goddess speaks as the mother aspect of the supreme god, but can also be viewed as god’s “spirit” or “breath,” which resides in the heart of the prophet, inspires him or her, and speaks through his or her lips, thus being the functional equivalent of the Biblical “Spirit of God” (the “Holy Spirit”). It should be noted that the Biblical Holy Spirit was likewise originally female, and the masculine gender of the Christian Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity) is only the result of a relatively late (4th century) development. Thus, in both cases, the word of God is viewed as a female entity that unites with a human: with the prophet in Assyria, and with the Zaddiq in Jewish mysticism. The Christian Holy Spirit has been equated with the Old Testament prophetic Spirit since the early second century and made explicit in the formulation of the Nicene Creed (4th century): “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who … has spoken through the prophets."
  6. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

    United States
    The devil is good at counterfeiting before the fact.

    I'll concede the definition of millennia/millennium and replace it with thousands of years.

    Abraham descended from Eber, thus he was a Hebrew. Recall that Rebekah was also a Hebrew, as they reckoned their ancestry. So where they lived isn't that important.

    The Greek offers three 'gender' choices for the Holy Spirit, he, she, or it. I prefer genderless "it". Why the masculine gender was assigned is a mystery to me.

    Also I believe that in the RCC the Holy Spirit is a 'placeholder' for Mary, who will one day be elevated to that office (my opinion only).
  7. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    First issue is that in Sumer we see a belief in sin or offenses against a personal God or other Gods and we see rectification for their sins, but there is no adversary, that doesn't develop until much later, I believe with Persia.

    As far as thousands of years, this would indicate that a Monotheistic God is not on the scene until much later, hence thousands of years. It indicates a development and reflects so.

    Genesis 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

    He comes from Ur he would have to be Sumerian. There are no Hebraic people until after Canaan. Israelite's are from Canaan, even now the Hebraic language is defunct Canaanite language. You could say that the Israelite's speak Canaanite language, though it is modified.

    Eber in the LXX is Heber and is only an assumed Hebraic name, the name Eber is an Afro-Asiatic name, not Semitic. So he would not be an Israelite, also his time is before the Israelite's anyway. Whether the Biblical epics on him reflect him in actuality is up for debate.

    The 'original' name of the patriarch 'abram belongs to the common stock of West Semitic names known since the beginning of the second millennium BCE. It is a contracted form of 'iibiram (HALAT 9; DE VAUX 1968:11; I Kgs 16:32; Num 16:1; 26:9; Ps 106:17), written abrn in Ugarit (KTU 4.352:2,4 =IA-bi-ra-mul;; PRU 3,20; 5,85:10: 107:8, cf. also Mari, H. B. HUFFMO AbraJuim is an extended form of 'abram. The extension is rather due to reverence and distinction than dialectic variance. In historical times, tradition-enfirmed by folkloristic etymology (Gen 17:5; Neh 9:7)-knew the patriach only by his name 'abraJuim (Mic 7:20; Ps 47:10 etc.). At one time the patriarchs were interpreted as local Canaanite deities, or in terms of a~tral myth, particularly Abrnham. since he was; associated with centres of the Mesopotamian -moon cult (Ur and -Haran).-Sarah was equated with the moon-goddess and Abraham's father -Terah with the moon (= Yerah). Though in biblical tradition, there are allusions to the ancient cults of Abraham's place of origin (Josh 24:2), Tracing the origins of Abraham within the complicated traditions of the Pentateuch is extremely difficult. Pentateuch traditions picture him as the founder of a number of cult-places Abraham has an important place as far as gender law is considered in the ancient Hebraic sense, as the wife has limited jurisdiction and Sarah has to get authority from Abraham to chastise Hagar. Abraham is presented in the Bible as having come from Mesopotamia. The descendants of Abraham spent centuries in Egypt and then came to dwell in the midst of a Canaanite civilization. The language spoken by the Israelite's is historically related to the languages of the Semitic world around them. Copies of ancient Near Eastern literature have been discovered in the excavations of Israelite cities.

    Yeah my posting used the word Shekhinah and is a Hebrew word, you are using at least it seems like Koine Greek. Per Strong's concordance the word you are looking for is pneuma and is wind, spirit the original word is πνεῦμα, ατος, τό and the differences are Hebrew and Greek wording.

    Have you been reading the postings between me and Quid? You should read from there, he is a Christian so you can follow what he is debating.

    But you are thinking and I like that.
  8. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

    United States
    Eber is descended from Shem and is therefore Semitic regardless of the origin of the name; is great-plus grandfather to Abraham, and is obviously a notable patriarch in that bloodline thus the name Hebrew was carried by the Israelites, as it is today by the Jews. The NT letter to the Hebrews was certainly intended for others besides the Jews.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
  9. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    In the Biblical timeline we see Abraham, his father is Terah, and up to Eber and then up to Shem at least for Biblical purposes. However, Semitic does not equal Israeli, Semitic refers to a people, dialect, political status, even religion of dwellers in a land. Also it is more likely that Shem is a Shemite, meaning he is not Israeli, we don't see an emergence of Israeli's until Abraham enters Canaan, you see a formality of this with the Bible character being named Israel. But, Abraham is the father of the Israeli's; also Eber, Terah, Shem are not Israeli at all. For example Babylonian's would have spoken a Semitic based language. But, Semitic is diverse as is Indo-Euro based language, so we see Assyrians being or speaking a Semitic language as we see the Hittite's speaking an Indo-Euro language.

    There is a debate on Patriarch's being Canaanite and the reasons for this are due to linguistics.

    Also there are several flood epics in Mesopotamia, the eldest being Ziusudra whose family survives the flood, this epic is thought to have occured between 5000-5500 bc, and the later being Noah, is thought to have occured betwene 2350-2360 bc, whose family survives the flood. Also the name Noah is only describe synthetically from its derivatives in certain tongues Hebrew, Tiberian, Syriac, Aramaic, even Koine Greek but none of these cultures would relate to that time period as we only find Akkadian Semitic language prevelant and possibly Sumerian. As Bible isn't written until a period much later, but there are no traces beyond 1200 bc.

    The "name Hebrew" is a description of a language held by Israelite's and now Jews, but was originally the language of Canaan which is one of two subgroups of Northwest Semitic languages, the other languages being Aramaic and Ugaritic.

    Sumerian's begin as polytheistic, Israelite's end up as monotheistic, it's just a developmental issue and less a religious one. The adoption of a one God theory comes from Henotheism, we see this for example in Akkad when each city-state would worship their own God, but we see parallels in rituals mentioned in Biblical texts and found in earlier Polytheistic cultures.
  10. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

    United States
    Shem had other descendants that became nations in the region. Of course there would be a similarity in languages.

    22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
    23 And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.
    24 And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.

    The lines of genealogies weave their way through until they arrive at Jacob/Israel. Of course Israel's antecedents aren't Israelites; only the descendants of Israel are Israelites, but all reckon themselves Hebrews as descendants of Eber.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
  11. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    Shemites is an unsubstantiated theory, Abraham coming from Ur indicates that in the Biblical timeline Noah would also come from the land of Sumer (Ancient Iraq). Eber is an Afro-Asiatic name, but has more connotation for Semitic. It would be Akkad who is Semitic in origin, as this is equated with Sargon of Akkad. The first well-attested use of the word Israel comes from an Egyptian source, dating to the reign after Ramesses II known as the Merneptah Stela (also known as the Israel Stela). during a mission to Canaan, King Merneptah claims to have destroyed Israel, but at this time is referring to a group of people rather than a state. The state of Israel goes on to develop in the early Iron Age, while states such as Egypt are declining in power. Eventually, the kingdom divides into Israel and Judah. These lands occupy much of the territory formerly known as Canaan. Hence the Israelite's coming from Canaan, and not from Sumer where we find in Biblical origin Eber.
  12. PhantomGaze

    PhantomGaze Carry on my wayward son.

    United States
    I'm not sure most people outright ignore similarities, but it is important to understand the distinction between popular cultural motifs and sources of theology. You may have many similar motifs and very different theology, especially in polemical literature.

    Eh actually I thought you posted this on a different forum for some reason. I actually wonder if my jumping on this didn't cheat you out of an even better opponent.

    Language doesn't create religion, even if the ancient Israelites had the exact same language (with the exception of the use of the word el), that doesn't really mean anything with regards to their theology. I don't see any argument here for you.

    Aaaaand this is what I mean by jumping to conclusions. If it's not one deity it's another, but none of your previous arguments even apply to this one, so you're basically starting over. It seems like the solution to you is "any solution whereby the monotheism of ancient Israel came from polytheism", any position seems acceptable except the obvious. You might have one argument for this polytheistic origin and another for that, but they can keep being shot down. Regarding Melchizedek as a Jebusite, scholars aren't clear on whether the author of Genesis intended him to be understood as a Jebusite, or part of an earlier group.

    Come again? Melchizedek was believed to be a priest in the temple of zedek, not El. Beyond that a mythical figure. Cherry-picking the word "dawn" out of the psalms(the psalms no less which are supposed to be poetic) as some kind of proof-text evidence doesn't equate to any kind of substantial evidence. I could cherry-pick any random word I wanted like "spear" and say it's connected to a new testament quote from Jesus about "swords" because spears and swords go together often. That's basically the equivalent of the argument you made.

    So another point for me.

    According to Daniel Block, "Gods of the Nations" 2000, this argument is far fetched, and he and an author I previously cited go on to offer a few rebuttals.

    http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/c...w&start=10&sa=N#search="JC De moor Yahweh el"

    The divine assembly didn't have much use in the Bible, it seemed simply a motif for recognizing the greatness of Yahweh.
    Except that "sons of" according to Anderson can be just a reference for the divine realm. Which is likely in this case.

    That cherry-pick was so arbitrary, I'm in shock.

    So strange then that so much of the Bible opposes worshipping idols.

    Rebuttals are written after the work they're rebutting. There's no problem with that. Culture that happened to be polytheist influenced Israelite Monotheism, but polytheism was obviously not part of that influence. The Israelites had very distinct opinions on their theology, and the relationship between humanity and God which was not reflected in the surrounding religious systems. To really understand influence you have to take yourself out of the world of images and pictures, and start looking at the concepts behind their ideas and identities. Otherwise you'll never develop a strong argument.

    Any concept of God, and understanding of God is a type of theology, be it ancient or modern. Labeling something this or that has no bearing on the underlying concept. As far as theology developing over time, it can develop over time, or it can be relatively quickly revealed. And this is the problem I see the most with your argument, you focus on similar names and pictures and symbols, but I haven't heard you say anything about the israelite concepts of sin, and redemption and everything else.

    No, you're equating language with theology. Language doesn't matter here. Theology matters if you want to prove something about monotheism or any theism for that matter.

    Neither do yours. The point is, you're stating certain things as if they're factual, but I'm challenging them because they're not.

    At this point, I actually think I'm going to withdraw, not because I couldn't keep going, but because these posts take a lot of time. In spite of the fact that you've obviously done a lot of research on this topic, I don't think you are headed down the right track with this argument, because you seem to be over focused on trying to wring out interpretations of the bible that you can claim have some kind of root in polytheism, a lot of them have been pretty well shot down by Daniel Porter in this article here that I've cited before.

    http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/c...w&start=10&sa=N#search="JC De moor Yahweh el"

    Furthermore, I think the real origin of Monotheism, whether it was intuited in the days of yore, before or after polytheism, or God found some polytheists and revealed himself specifically to them, is forever lost to antiquity.

    But I'll leave you all to discuss that in my absence. Have fun. I might poke back every once in a while to see how its going. God bless.
  13. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    So in Sumer we see they have culture, ideologies, religion, and society. Sumer would predate the Israelite’s by a very long stretch of time, so the development of theology is passed on through time, along with cultural developments. A good example is the Sabbath which is a day of rest, I think Saturday. The earlier use of the term come from Babylon, sappatu, and is originally the 15th day of the month, the Jews being monotheistic borrow the ideas of a day of rest from Babylon, who believe in a multitude of Gods. So we see an influence from culture to culture and an adoption of themes. I will agree that theology has changed and evolved (both positively and negatively) over the ages, but it is hard to make such a distinction when it comes to older societies due to the fact that their theology is included in their social norms. We even see when someone commits a “sin” in Sumer they are held in a trial at a court, and their “sin” is rectified before their God in ritual. We can even see the same with the Hattat ritual in the Old Testament and similarities in the Hittite and early Mesopotamian atonement rituals. I would have to thoroughly disagree with you that theology is not passed along.

    Sumerian being a Pre Semitic aggulagnative language inherently is part of their religion. Israelite’s would speak a Semitic based language, they wouldn’t speak a Sumer language.

    What I am stating is that polytheism influences polytheism, and polytheism influences henotheism, and henotheism influences monotheism. Please show me where monotheism is a prelude to polytheism? Show me an earlier civilization than the people of Sumer and were monotheist, the closest we find and is not pre Sumer is the Egyptians, the Akhenaten are monotheistic, but it is a far cry from Christian or early Israelite monotheism. In order for your claim to succeed the Israelite’s would have to not have come out of Canaan.

    It’s very hard to “cherry pick” 2 Chron 20:16 and its rooted word. It is generally accepted that in origin this denoted 'the foundation of [the god] Shalem', Shalem being the god of dusk (cf. Jeruel, 'foundation of El' in 2 Chron. 20.16). It is interesting that Shahar (dawn) and Shalem (dusk) are brothers in Ugaritic mythology, as they were begotten at the same time by the god El (KTU2 1.2.3). If the god Shalem ('dusk') was prominent in Jebusite Jerusalem mythology, it is only natural that his brother Shahar, 'dawn', would appear there as well.

    Melchizedek is a Jebusite priest out of Canaan, in Bible lit they are a tribe who inhabited Jerusalem prior to its conquest by Joshua.

    You state Zedek, but it’s Zadok who is a Jebusite and not an Israelite.

    According to the book of Genesis, Melchizedek king of Jerusalem, was also a priest of El Elyon, “God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). The meaning of the name Melchizedek is “My King is [the god] Zedek.” In the book of Hebrews, the name Melchizedek is interpreted to mean “King of Righteousness” (Hebrews 7:2).

    While I make reference to one singularity, it would be much longer for me to incorporate the entire scope of my argument.

    Also, the fact is that, in early Israel, many people identified Yahweh with Baal. Saul’s son was named Eshbaal, “Man of Baal” (1 Chronicles 8:33) and one of David’s sons born in Jerusalem was called Beeliada, “Baal Knows” (1 Chronicles 14:7). In addition, the name of one of the soldiers who served in David’s army was Bealiah, “Baal is Yahweh.”

    I have only a short reference for this, but I will give more on Ba’al and Yahweh in a minute.

    · Was Zadok a Jebusite?

    · Anchor Bible Dictionary, George W. Ramsey

    It’s not really a point for anyone to distinguish El and its meaning to each culture. Notice I stated that El becomes a general term, not that it originally was.


    All theology is an attempt to treat the most fundamental human problems through a metaphysical game of suspended disbelief.

    I clicked on your link; it seems the author is so far addressing the issue of El and Yahweh. Okay so the author is stating:

    “Instead, scholars use the divine council parallels in the Ugaritic texts and Hebrew texts to prove that the biblical religion was no different from the Canaanite religion. The question is whether or not there is a valid argument for these claims. Does the Hebrew Scriptures allow for Ugaritic parallelism? Is Yahweh the only supreme deity in the Hebrew Scriptures or is there another? To answer these questions, this thesis will examine how scholars on both sides of the argument understand the function of Yahweh in two primary texts proposed to have divine council imagery: Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and Psalm 82.”

    My contention is that El does seem to reflect the Canaanite background; however this author is discussing whether or not Hebrew parallels Ugarit. He seems to give function of Yahweh mainly per Biblical texts. We can explore this a little deeper. Before we begin I will reference “Religious Texts from Ugarit” by author N Wyatt. And of course Yahweh and Gods and Goddess of Canaan by author John Day.

    I will use one argument and we can see where it goes to.

    The author your refer to at (http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/c...w&start=10&sa=N#search="JC De moor Yahweh el") in sum has an assertion that, "Deuteronomy 32:8-9 presents a unique problem in the area of comparative studies. The polemic of a divine council in the traditionally monotheistic text has raised many questions and concerns. While some may argue for Yahweh and El to be members of the same Canaanite pantheon, there is a lack of evidence that Yahweh was ever recognized as a Canaanite deity as he does not appear in the Ugaritic pantheon. The ideology of Yahweh being a subordinate of El is also incoherent with the broader scope of the text itself. First, it is observed that the divine beings within the council of Yahweh are not identified and are considered inferior to him. Second, the rib pattern does not support Yahweh being subordinate to any other deity. Yahweh is evidenced most clearly in Deuteronomy 32:6-7 where five functions of El are ascribed to Yahweh.124 Finally, in Deuteronomy 4:19-20, it is accepted that Yahweh is the one who assigned the nations to the host of heaven and took Israel as his own inheritance. Heiser sums up the issue well by saying “Israel was not given to Yahweh by El, which is the picture that scholars who separate El and Yahweh in Deuteronomy 32 want to fashion. In view of the close relationship of Deuteronomy 32:8-9 to Deuteronomy 4:19-20, it is more consistent to have Yahweh taking Israel for his own terrestrial allotment by sovereign act as Lord of the council.”

    According to your author Yahweh is not in Ugaritic literature and is not "sub" to El. Let’s look into this below:

    Yahweh and El were originally separate deities, the question is then raised where Yahweh originated. Yahweh himself does not appear to have been a Canaanite god in origin: for example, he does not appear in the Ugaritic pantheon lists. Most scholars who have written on the subject during recent decades support the idea that Yahweh had his origins outside the land of Israel to the south, in the area of Midian (cf. Judg. 5.4-5; Deut. 33.2; Hab. 3.3, 7) and there has been an increasing tendency to locate Mt Sinai and Kadesh in N.W. Arabia rather than the Sinai peninsula itself. The former view, long held by German scholars, has been supported by evidence of a civilization in the Hejaz area in N. W. Arabia (Midian) in the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age, in contrast to the general lack of this in this period in the Sinai peninsula. Also, the epithet 'Yahweh of Teman' in one of the Kuntillet 'Ajrud inscriptions fits in with this. References to the Shasu Yahweh in Egyptian texts alongside the Shasu Seir may also be cited in support. Though M.C. Astour has questioned this, claiming that the reference was not to Seir in Edom but to Sarara in Syria, on balance, however, the Egyptian Scrr still seems more likely to be a slip for S 'r (Seir) than the name Sarara. As will be seen at various points later on in this chapter, a plausible case can be made that several of the El epithets referred to in Genesis in connection with patriarchal religion do indeed derive from the worship of the Canaanite god El (El-Shaddai, El-Olam, El-Bethel, and possibly El-Elyon). As Eissfeldt and others have also noted, the promises of progeny to the patriarchs bear comparison with the promise of progeny by the god El to Keret and Aqhat in the Ugaritic texts. Although no one can today maintain that the patriarchal narratives are historical accounts, there are grounds for believing that their depiction of an El religion does at least in part reflect something of pre-monarchical religion, however much it has been overlaid by later accretions. In favor of a pre-monarchic El religion amongst the Hebrews one may first of all note the very name Israel, meaning probably 'El will rule', a name already attested in the late thirteenth century BCE on the stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah. It is surely an indication of El's early importance that the very name of the people incorporates the name of the god El. Secondly, as various scholars have noted, prior to the rise

    El's Influence on Yahweh Accepted by the Old Testament

    Granted that El and Yahweh were originally separate deities who became equated, the question now arises what was the nature of El's influence on the depiction of Yahweh. Here several points emerge which will be discussed under the following headings.

    Yahweh as an aged God

    One instance where a strong case can be made for the influence of El symbolism on Yahweh concerns those few places where Yahweh is represented as an aged God with many years. In the Ugaritic texts El is frequently given the epithet 'ab $nm, 'Father of Years' (e.g. KTU2 1.4.IV.24), a concept reinforced by the references to his grey hair (e.g. KTU2 1.3.V.2, 24-25; 1.4.V.4). In the Old Testament there are just three places where Yahweh's 'years' are alluded to, and it is therefore particularly striking that in two of these he is specifically called by the name El. The first of these is in Job 36.26, where Elihu declares, 'Behold, God ('el) is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable'. Clearly Yahweh is being represented as a supremely aged deity. The second occurrence is in Ps. 102.25 (ET 24), where the Psalmist prays, '"O my God ('elty\ I say, "take me not hence in the midst of my days, thou whose years endure throughout all generations!"' The fact that Yahweh is here referred to as 'my God' (literally, 'my El') is all the more striking in that it is the one place in the whole Psalm in which God is not addressed as Yahweh (cf. vv. 2,
    13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23 [ET 1, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22]). The only other instance in the Old Testament where Yahweh's 'years' are mentioned is Job 10.5, where Job asks God, 'Are thy days as the days of man, or thy years as man's years?' (This is part of a section in which God is called 'eloah, a term related to 'el, e.g. in Job 10.2.). But these specific references to Yahweh's years are not the only places where he is depicted as an aged God. As J.A. Emerton was the first to note, Dan. 7.9 also has this concept and has appropriated it from El. In Daniel's apocalyptic vision God is there entitled the 'Ancient of Days', a term reminiscent of 'Father of Years', and we read that 'the
    hair of his head was like pure wool', which likewise reminds one of EL In keeping with this, the one like a son of man who comes with the clouds of heaven and reigns for ever after being enthroned by the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7.13-14) derives ultimately from Baal, 'the rider of the clouds', and the beasts of the sea, whose rule is succeeded by that of the one like a son of man, reflect Yam, Leviathan, and others, who were defeated by Baal. It seems inherently plausible that we have an Old Testament allusion related to El's being an aged deity in Gen. 21.33, where the patriarchal deity at Beer-sheba is called El-Olam, 'El, the Eternal One', which may possibly have meant originally 'El, the Ancient One', as P.M. Cross has noted.

    However, the proposal of P.M. Cross to find an allusion to 'El (god) of eternity' ('I d 7m) in the Proto-Sinaitic text 358 has proved to be unfounded, since M. Dijkstra, having examined the text at first hand, has shown that this reading is invalid. El-Olam was the local Canaanite god of Beer-sheba, but as we know from archaeology that Beer-sheba was not settled before c. 1200 BCE, the cult there will not antedate that time.

    Yahweh as Wise
    It was the god El who was especially noted for his wisdom according to the Ugaritic texts (KTU2 1.4.V.65, etc.). It seems that the author of Ezekiel 28 was familiar with this notion, since the king of Tyre's wisdom is emphasized in vv. 2, 3, 4, 5, and elsewhere in the very same context he claims to be God ('el). As will be seen below, El traditions lie behind the notion of the garden of Eden, so it is striking that the divine wisdom is connected with the story of the first man in Gen. 3.5, 6, 22; Ezek. 28.12, 17, and Job 15.7-8. In my opinion it is probable that it was from the god El that the notion of Yahweh's wisdom was appropriated. Plausibility is added to this view by the fact that wisdom and old age were traditionally associated, and, as noted already, it was from the god El that the notion of Yahweh as an aged deity with many years was derived. We do not know whether Yahweh was conceived of as a creator god from the beginning or not. One cannot presuppose this from the name itself, for it is more likely that it means 'he is' rather than 'he causes to be' (i.e. creates); certainly the former sense is how the Old Testament itself understands it (cf. Exod. 3.14). Anyhow, whether Yahweh was conceived to be a creator god from the beginning or not, there is some evidence that there are occasions on which the Old Testament has appropriated El language when it speaks of Yahweh as creator. Thus, it can hardly be a coincidence that Gen. 14. 19, 22 speaks of 'El-Elyon, creator (qoneh) of heaven and earth', and Deut. 32.6 declares, 'Is not he your father, who created you (qanekaj.This is so because not only is it the case that the verb qnh is used outside the Bible to speak of El's creative activity, but in both cases cited above we have other evidence supporting El influence: Gen. 14.19 and 22 specifically refer to El(-Elyon), and Deut. 32.8 also refers to the 'sons of God' (implicitly seventy, deriving from the seventy sons of El) as well as the name Elyon. (We should also note the personal name Elkanah ['elqand], 'God [El] has created', 1 Sam. 1.1, etc.) It is therefore possible that it is not merely a coincidence when we find the concept of God as creator and the name El together elsewhere in the Old Testament. Psalm 19.2 (ET 1) proclaims, 'The heavens declare the glory of God ('el)', and Ps. 102.26-27 (ET 25-26), which speaks of God's work as creator, is not only sandwiched between two verses referring to God's years (cf. El;vv. 25, 28, ET 24, 27), but following the only verse in the Psalm (v. 25, ET 24) to refer to God as 'eli, 'my God (lit. El)', rather than Yahweh. Reference was made above to Gen. 14.19, 22, 'El-Elyon, creator of heaven and earth', where this deity is depicted as the pre-Israelite, Jebusite god of Jerusalem. Elyon also occurs elsewhere as a divine name or epithet a number of other times in the Old Testament (e.g. Num. 24.16; Deut. 32.8; Ps. 18.14 [ET 13], 46.5 [ET 4], 78.17, 35, 56, 82.6, 87.5; Isa. 14.14; Dan. 7.22, 25, 27). There is dispute as to whether Elyon was originally the same deity as El or not. Philo of Byblos (c. 100 CE) depicts Elioun, as he calls him, as a separate god from EL Interestingly, he refers to Elioun (Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 1.10.15) as the father of Heaven (Ouranos) and Earth (Ge), which is reminiscent of the creator god El, and also strongly supports the idea that the reference to El-Elyon as 'Creator of heaven and earth' in Gen.
    14.19. 22 is an authentic reminiscence of the Canaanite deity, and not simply invention.

    Prima facie the eighth-century BCE Aramaic Sefire treaty also represents Elyon as a distinct deity from El, since 'El and Elyon' occur together (XA/222.A.11). This is one of a number of cases of paired deities in the treaty, some of whom are god and consort, whilst some others represent two parts of a whole. It is difficult to see how the pairing of El and Elyon fits into either of these categories. It has sometimes been suggested that 'El and Elyon' here might be a compound divine name, analogous to Kothar-and-Hasis, for example, in the Ugaritic texts. Whether or not they are the same deity, since Elyon was apparently the creator, which was also the case with El, it
    would appear that these two gods were functionally equivalent. Some other language associated with the name Elyon in the Old Testament is also El-like, for example, the association of Elyon with the mount of assembly (Isa. 14.13-14), with the sons of God or Elyon (Deut. 32.8; Ps. 82.6), and with the mythical river and streams (Ps. 46.5 [ET 4]).

    The Sons of El (God)
    In the Old Testament there appears the concept of Yahweh's having a heavenly court, the sons of God. They are referred to variously as the 'sons of God' (be ne ha'eldhim, Gen. 6.2, 4; Job 1.6, 2.2; or bene' elohim, Job 38.7), the 'sons of gods' (bene 'elim, Pss. 29.1, 89.7 [ET6]), or the 'sons of the Most High' (bene 'elyon, Ps. 82.6). It is also generally agreed that we should read 'sons of God' (bene 'elohim) for 'sons of Israel' in Deut. 32.8 (see below). There are further numerous places where the heavenly court is referred to without specific use of the expressions 'sons of God(s)' or 'sons of the Most High'. Thus, the heavenly court is mentioned in connection with the first human(s) (Gen. 1.26, 3.22; Job 15.7-8) or elsewhere in the primaeval history (Gen. 11.7; cf. Gen. 6.2 above), and in the context of the divine call or commission to prophesy (1 Kgs 22.19-22; Isa. 40.3, 6; Jer. 23.18, 22; cf. Amos 3.7). We also find it referred to in connection with the guardian gods or angels of the nations (Isa. 24.21; Ps. 82.1; Ecclus 17.17; Jub. 15.31-32; cf. Deut. 32.8 and Ps. 82.6 above; implied in Dan. 10.13, 20; 12.1). Apart from isolated references to the divine assembly on the sacred mountain in Isa. 14.13 and to personified Wisdom in the divine assembly in Ecclus 24.2, the other references to the heavenly court are more general (Zech. 1.10-11, 3.7, 14.5; Ps. 89.6-8 [ET 5-7]; Dan. 4.14 [ET 17], 7.10, 21, 25, 27, 8.10-13; cf. Job 1.6, 2.2, 38.7 and Pss. 29.1, 89.7 [ET 6] above). Just as an earthly king is supported by a body of courtiers, so Yahweh has a heavenly court. Originally, these were gods, but as monotheism became absolute, so these were demoted to the status of angels. It was H. Wheeler Robinson who first drew attention to this concept in the Old Testament, though he cited only Babylonian parallels and so concluded that the origin of the Israelite notion was Babylonian, overlooking the more recently discovered Ugaritic parallels concerning the sons of EL It is in connection with the Canaanite god El and his pantheon of gods, known as 'the sons of El', that a direct relationship with the Old Testament is to be found. That this is certain can be established from the fact that both were seventy in number. At Ugarit we read in the Baal myth of 'the seventy sons of Asherah (Athirat)' (Sb'm. bn.'am, KTU21.4.VI.46). Since Asherah was El's consort, this therefore implies that El's sons were seventy in number. Now Deut. 32.8, which is clearly dependent on this concept, declares, 'When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God'. The reading 'sons of God' (bene 'elohim) has the support of the Qumran fragment, 4Q Deut, 30 the LXX, Symmachus, Old Latin and the Syro-Hexaplaric manuscript, Cambr. Or. 929.31.

    This is clearly the original reading, to be preferred to the MT's 'sons of Israel' (bene yisrd'el), which must have arisen as a deliberate alteration on the part of a scribe who did not approve of the polytheistic overtones of the phrase 'sons of God'. Interestingly, it is known that the Jews believed there to be seventy nations on earth, so that the sons of God were accordingly also seventy in number. This emerges from the table of the nations in Genesis 10, where there are seventy nations, and from the later Jewish apocalyptic concept according to which there were seventy guardian angels of the nations (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Deut. 32.8; 1 En. 89.59-77, 90.22-27). This view, which I have defended previously, seems eminently reasonable. The criticisms that it has received seem unconvincing. Thus, first, R.N. Whybray claims that it is illegitimate to argue from the number seventy, since this is merely a conventional way of referring to a large, but indeterminate, number. But this does not seem to be the case here, since Genesis 10 lists precisely seventy nations on earth. Secondly, D.I. Block has claimed that the seventy gods of the nations implied in Deut. 32.8 are rather to be seen as a back projection from the notion of seventy nations on earth, such as is found in Genesis 10. Since, however, the idea of seventy sons of God (El) is already attested prior to Deut. 32.8, as the Ugaritic texts prove, Block's theory seems strained.

    Finally, it is interesting to note that the Old Testament never refers to the heavenly court as 'the sons of Yahweh'. As we have seen above, apart from one instance of bene 'elyon, we always find 'sons of God', with words for God containing the letters '/ (beneha'elohim, bene 'elohim, be e 'elim). This finds a ready explanation in their origin in the sons of the Canaanite god El.

    Did you miss the part talking about how Ugarit and El's assembly of the gods did indeed meet on a mountain? It is also interesting that the name of 'el (God) is mentioned in the phrase 'stars of God', and that the stars and the sons of God are sometimes equated (Job 38.7; cf. KTU2 Ezekiel 28.2, 9 should also be recalled, since God is there three times referred to as 'el (a term used elsewhere in Ezekiel only in Ezek. 10.5), part of a passage that has multiple allusions characteristic of Ugaritic El: the emphasis on the divine wisdom (vv. 2-6), the watery nature of the dwelling (v. 2), and the expression moSab >elohim 'seat of God (or gods)' (v. 2).

    Okay so the reference you make from your article is that:

    “He later explains however, that the title “sons of” may just be a designation of the divine realm.” (see above on Sons).

    Cherry picking I know is your fave word, however, even the Bible isn’t placed in proper order from its own books, so in what order would you favor I use as so I am not “cherry picking”? Job is thought to have been written out of order from the Old Testament.

    Biblical literature is very much anti “idolatry”, what happens when you look at the sources and roots, such as the E, J, P sources you find that meanings aren’t contemporaneous with its own passages.

    On rebuttals: the Israelite’s aren’t the first to develop the idea of Monotheism; the Israelite’s are the first to develop it from Henotheism after Babylonian captivity. However, we see the Aten as being monotheistic, long before the Israelite’s adopt it. In this view I’d have to drop all preconceived notions of the adoption of Polytheism and Monotheism as the Aten are Monotheist, granted it isn’t the same Monotheism the Israelite’s carry. I’d really like to know what concepts the Israelite’s had that was totally different. We see them engaging in Hattat rituals as we did in early history with the Hittite’s and much earlier the Mesopotamian’s. We see them engaging in the Sabbath which was the Sapattu in Babylon. The only thing that really changes is that there is a one God concept with the Israelite’s and that concept is new to the Israelite’s, but before them the Aten already have this concept. So I am curious to know what changes exactly?

    Language matters very much so, the word for Sky God is Anu in Sumer, in Akkad it is An, and we see a head of each pantheon in each polytheistic group and setting and it specifically deals with language. The difference between Akkad and Sumer is that Akkad is a Semitic based language while Sumer is not Semitic based in language. This may seem insignificant, but if the people of Sumer have a Pre Semitic based language, obviously the concept of God isn’t the same, but it has influence on the other culture. Also, you cannot have Semitic language developed without Sumer language, go see the Sumerian and Akkadian lexicons for this.

    I know we disagree and if you are going to withdraw I understand. But, thank you for your candor; it was truly a stimulating disagreement. Lastly, I tend to think that if a Monotheistic God did reveal Monotheism to Polytheist they would have reflected so, but of course we will disagree. Thank you for your time.