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Offline Lectus

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Biblical evidence of polytheism
« on: November 15, 2013, 03:47:36 PM »
Quote
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

Maybe Yahweh was really a different God than Jesus? And maybe there were other gods too?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 04:09:06 PM by Lectus »
Religion: The belief that an all powerful God or gods created the entire universe so that we tiny humans can be happy. And we also make war about it.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Biblical evidence of politheism
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 04:03:15 PM »
Many other gods are mentioned by name in the Bible and Yahweh refers to them. He does not say that they do not exist, nor does he say they have no powers. Rather He says they should not be worshipped. The episode of Moses and Aaron and 72 others climbing Mount Sinai shows that prior to this, the Children of Israel worshipped Baal Haddad. Yahweh makes his move in Jeremiah through King Jehoram command. Here Yahweh says not to worship other gods. Ashure/Astarte is particularly singled out - a goddess imported from Babylon and once associated with Yahweh as His wife.

The most interesting example in the Bible of another god is that of Chemosh: a human sacrifice to Chemosh ensure the retreat of the Israelite army under the command of God.

Anyway, for what it is worth, there is this. Yahweh was one of many gods:

el-elohim-yahweh
http://atheozoa.blogspot.com/2010/11/el-elohim-yahweh.html
There is a clear overlap between the ancient Ugaritic religion and the Judaism (and by implication, Christianity and Islam as well). However it seems that such information is hardly known to the average adherents of those religions implicated.

It should be made clear that the information presented is not some minority view or "heretical"/"atheist" propaganda. The data here can be found in archeology books pertaining to ancient middle east religions or, more specifically, the canaanite religion. In fact, some of the sources I'll be citing or quoting from are religious sources.

I first stumbled across this topic when watching the Atheist Experience TV show podcast. Tracie Harris co-hosted 3 episodes (Episodes #464, #466, #483) where the topic was discussed. And here is the relevant blog post on the Atheist Experience blog: Ugarit and the Bible.*

If you do a Google search on "Ugarit and the Bible", this webpage by the Quartz Hill School of Theology comes up on top: Ugarit and the Bible. This also one of the sources cited by Tracie Harris at the AETV blog. As far as I can tell, the information on the page is accurate and is comparable to those found in the books at libraries. So this shouldn't strike anyone as being non-mainstream.

I'll let them speak for themselves why Ugaritic text pertains to the bible:
Why should people interested in the Old Testament want to know about this city [Ugarit] and its inhabitants? Simply because when we listen to their voices we hear echoes of the Old Testament itself. Several of the Psalms were simply adapted from Ugaritic sources; the story of the flood has a near mirror image in Ugaritic literature; and the language of the Bible is greatly illuminated by the language of Ugarit.

Let's begin with the word "El". Correction, the name "El". While "El" is translated as a generic word for "god" in the hebrew bible, this was not the case before. According to the ugarit religion, El is a proper name for the supreme deity of the ugaritic pantheon. He is identified as the creator of "the heavens and the earth", the father of 70 gods as well as the father of man.

Elohim is plural. Not singular as advocated by translators of the bible. Elohim refers to El's pantheon of gods, his council.

And Yahweh? He was one of the 70 sons of El. Here's the relevant quote from Wikipedia regarding the development in ancient Israel:
In the earliest stage Yahweh was one of the seventy children of El, each of whom was the patron deity of one of the seventy nations. This is illustrated by the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint texts of Deuteronomy 32:8-9, in which El, as the head of the divine assembly, gives each member of the divine family a nation of his own, "according to the number of the divine sons": Israel is the portion of Yahweh. The later Masoretic text, evidently uncomfortable with the polytheism expressed by the phrase, altered it to "according to the number of the children of Israel"

I know I am quoting Wikipedia, which is not exactly scholarly material, but I'm only doing so because the content agrees with the books I read in the libraries as well as other online sources.

Notice the parallels between El and Yahweh and it becomes obvious the worshipers of Yahweh assimilated the characteristics of El into Yahweh at some point in history. And it seems that theologians know this:
Other deities worshipped at Ugarit were El Shaddai, El Elyon, and El Berith. All of these names are applied to Yahweh by the writers of the Old Testament. What this means is that the Hebrew theologians adopted the titles of the Canaanite gods and attributed them to Yahweh in an effort to eliminate them. If Yahweh is all of these there is no need for the Canaanite gods to exist! This process is known as assimilation.

This assimilation seems to be demonstrated by the association of El's consort (ie, a goddess), Asherah, with Yahweh.
From Bible.org
Athirat, or as she is referred to sometimes, Ilat (i.e., goddess of the god El), is the most prominent goddess in the Ugaritic pantheon, though her origin appears to go back well before Ugarit (1200-1400 B.C.E.) to the time of the Ebla tablets. In the Ugaritic pantheon she is the consort of El. She is referred to as the "mother of the gods" or "procreatress of the gods." She thus shares in El's creative work. She is also referred to as "Lady Athirat of the sea" and by the Semitic word qd (i.e., holy). She figures prominently in the Ugaritic texts in which Baal and Anat are requesting from El a palace for Baal to live in (CTA 4), texts concerning Shahar and Shalim (CTA 23) and in another wherein she is said to receive a sheep offered in sacrifice. The name Asherah is the designation often given this goddess in the Old Testament.

From Wikipedia
Between the eighth to the sixth centuries El became identified with Yahweh, Yahweh-El became the husband of the goddess Asherah, and the other gods and the divine messengers gradually became mere expressions of Yahweh's power.

From the Quartz Hill School of Theology
One of the most interesting of these lesser deities, Asherah, plays a very important role in the Old Testament. There she is called the wife of Baal; but she is also known as the consort of Yahweh! That is, among some Yahwists, Ahserah is Yahweh’s female counterpart! “Lord” or “Master” is the translation of Baal and can be used for high ranking officials as well as deities. To identify a Baal, you need a following name, e.g. Baal-Hadad

Wiki: "Ba?al" can refer to any god and even to human officials; in some texts it is used as a substitute for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba?al was commonly used. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of "Ba?al" refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven, but rather refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images, each called ba?al and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a false god.

Apparently it seems that there is also evidence for the assimilation of Baal Hadad into Yahweh. Baal Hadad is a storm god and the only one in the Ugaritic pantheon that is identified by the title "rider of the clouds". This title is later attributed to Yahweh in the bible. For those who wouldn't mind reading longer articles, check out this article on Bible.org: Baalism in Canaanite Religion and Its Relation to Selected Old Testament Texts [Google Cache version].

For those want to read more, check out Wikipedia on these topic as well. See "Canaanite religion" and "Early history of Yahweh worship".

The relationship between Yahweh of the Abrahamic religions and the gods of the Ugaritic pantheon (in particular, El) is obvious.

Why isn't this information more widely known?

More unusually, why don't such knowledge pose a problem to adherents of those faiths? I would think this would make it more than obvious that religions are made up (ie, fiction).

What's your excuse?

* Ugarit and the Bible
Posted by: tracieh
On a few past episodes we looked at some of the gods mentioned in the Old Testament. Among them, Asherah, Nehushtan, Ba’al, Yahweh, and El.

Many people are familiar with the texts found at Qumran, commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the 1940s.
 
[Someone pointed out an error in my post, so I'm making a correction here. Where I mentioned the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, I had confused it with The Nag Hammadi texts found in Egypt during the same time period (the 1940s). The Dead Sea Scrolls focused mainly on the OT, while Nag Hammadi included texts written by early Christian authors.]

But fewer people have heard of the Ugarit findings, which began to be unearthed in the late 1920s. Both discoveries greatly increased our knowledge and understanding of Biblical texts and also of the history surrounding the evolution of Judaism and Christianity.

The Dead Sea Scrolls impacted both the Old and New Testament interpretations, while the findings at Ugarit impacted only the Old Testament. These texts and architectural inscriptions predate the Hebrew settlement at Canaan, but interestingly, they mention some of the same gods that appear in the Hebrew religious writings, produced after the Hebrew contact with the Ugarit region. The most significant god mentioned is El. In one temple inscription he is said to be the father of Ba’al. In other mentions, he is even the father of Yaweh.

In the Old Testament, Ba’al is associated with the Canaanites. And he is described as the focus of their religious worship in those stories—while El is described as being another name for Yahweh, the Hebrew patron god. In reality, however, based on the discoveries at Ugarit (the land called Canaan in the Bible), El is clearly the father of the gods in much the same way that Zeus is the head of the gods on Olympus in Greek mythology. And Yaweh is not another name for El, but a separate deity. Like Zeus, El headed a pantheon. He was not only the father of mankind, but the leader of the Ugarit gods. His pantheon, in Ugarit, is called the Elohim (literally, the plural of El).

Using the book of Genesis as an example, the best scholarly estimates date it back to somewhere between 950 and 500 BC. It appears that the writings were composed in two styles, one style preferring to refer to god as El and the other using YHWH (or Yahweh). Eventually these texts came together into the form we have today, sometime around 450 BC. Just to give some perspective, the best documented time in the Ugarit history was between 1450 and 1200 BC.

According to many modern apologists, El is simply another name for god, or even a generic word for “god” used by the Hebrews; and Elohim is simply another form of El. However, Bible translators do translate Elohim as plural in some instances and do translate El to be a proper noun in some instances. Some apologists defend a wholly singular usage of Elohim by pointing to the inconsistency with which Elohim is used with singular verb forms; however, this does not rule out the very real (and likely) potential that as monotheism evolved out of polytheism, the Hebrew texts were adjusted to correct for this problem (as we discussed the evolution of the book of Genesis in the above paragraph). However, it does seem oddly coincidental—and difficult to overlook—that the Hebrews had significant contact with Canaan and then, some years afterward, wrote out a Hebrew religious mythology using a name for god that parallels the Ugarit mythology’s chief deity. It is also odd that Elohim appears in Ugarit texts as a clearly plural form of El, and then later in a sometimes confused singular/plural fashion in the Hebrew texts.

The important question becomes, then: Is there any reason beyond the contact with Canaan to view the Hebrew deity as being synonymous with the Canaanite god El? The answer is “yes.” There are parallels between the two gods. For example, if we look at more of the attributes of El in the Ugarit texts, we find that El had a consort, Asherah (who was also, occasionally, recorded as the consort to Yahweh). This would appear to distance the Hebrew El from the Ugarit El then, if there is no mention of the Hebrews combining El with Asherah. However, there is mention in the Hebrew texts that illustrates that Asherah was connected with El in the minds of the Hebrews as well as in their worship. Twice in Jeremiah (chapter 7 and chapter 44), she is referred to as the Queen of Heaven, and it is clearly indicated that the Hebrews were worshipping her in those instances. Also, in 2 Kings 18, it is noted that her objects of worship (the Asherah poles) were removed from the “high places” of worship to El/Yahweh.

There is no doubt that as the Hebrews moved from polytheism, into henotheism, and ultimately into monotheism, that they adjusted their religious practices accordingly. It is not surprising that the worship of Asherah was ultimately condemned, discouraged, and forbidden. But what can’t be ignored is the fact that the Hebrews did acknowledge Asherah. They did worship her. And they did associate her with El by placing her symbols in the same temples of worship. If Hebrews did not adopt the older Ugarit El, with which they were surely familiar, then it is very odd that Asherah also appears in their religious texts and worship.

I would never underestimate the apologist’s ability to find a perspective that can reinterpret this data to make it less problematic. However, the clear and simply explanation is this: The Hebrews interacted with Ugarit, adopted their pantheon, and their religion evolved, as all religions do through time, to become a uniquely Hebrew monotheism.

Further Reading:
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9074104/Ugarit
[General information about Ugarit]

http://www.theology.edu/ugarbib.htm
[Describes similarities and parallels between Biblical texts and Ugarit texts]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis
[Describes the production of Genesis]

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05393a.htm
[Presents an apologetic case for the singular form of Elohim]

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html
[Another apologetic case for the singular form of Elohim]

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9009821/Asherah
[Identifies Asherah as El’s consort]

http://cc.usu.edu/~FATH6/bible.htm
[Information about Asherah]

http://www.religion.rutgers.edu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=188
[Asherah as the Queen of Heaven]
 
Labels: AE TV show, Biblical history
at 8/27/2007 12:50:00 PM
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Nick

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 04:51:23 PM »
Mormons believe in many different gods.  They can even become one themselves.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Holy Sheet

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2013, 03:57:58 AM »
Hi, I joined this forum because I found this topic quite interesting.

I wanted to get someone's take on this explanation from WLC's site
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/jewish-beliefs-about-god

I can't tell if this is a successful refutation to the points made or not.
I like to try and familiarize myself with all the apologetic excuses so
I can expose the flaws. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2013, 06:57:25 AM »
Hi, I joined this forum because I found this topic quite interesting.

I wanted to get someone's take on this explanation from WLC's site
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/jewish-beliefs-about-god

I can't tell if this is a successful refutation to the points made or not.
I like to try and familiarize myself with all the apologetic excuses so
I can expose the flaws. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
Lot of mental gymnastics being done on that page in order to ignore the simplest most reasonable answer. It also does not address the larger pantheon of gods. The author does not cite where he got his info from, and we are unsure of his credentials... all it states is he is a Dr and teaches at a seminary. A lot of those degrees are sketchy and his position would lead me to believe he may not be unbiased... which isnt to say that he cant be, but without any further details on his background (what his degree is in and from where), no support for his assertions, I dont know what to make of his argument other than it appears to be the typical line of apologetics.

There's a lot of information readily available. A good start is Karen Armstrong's A History of God it'll get your pallet wet for the topic.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2013, 07:37:58 AM »
Dr. Richard Hess’s response gets off to a bad start when he quotes his interpretation of the Bible. His first problem is the acceptance that Moses was a real person. It is clear that the first 5 books of the Bible are written around an invented central character for the sole purpose of creating a cohesive narrative: Moses never existed, or, at best, if he did, he was a footnote in history.

You should bear in mind that the Israelite tribe was threatened to the north by the Assyrians and to the south by the Egyptians. The fictitious story of the Exodus reflects cheap propaganda against an Egyptian army that had, at one time, controlled the area occupied by the tribe (“but Yahweh freed them”.)

Dr Hess then says
Quote
Jewish Beliefs about God – The titles of “El” and “Elohim”
“El” appears as a title in the Bible. Like the much more frequent “Elohim,” it derives from ancient Semitic words for “god/God.” It is true that “El” appears as the name of the chief god in the myths of Ugarit, a West Semitic (Hebrew is also a West Semitic language) city from the 13th century B.C. However, the word also appears there to refer to any deity or even a spirit. Therefore, it need not refer to the God of Israel. You discuss Psalm 82 at some length. It is possible that this text refers to the allotment of responsibilities for the management of different nations of the earth to members of the heavenly council, whom we would call angels.
I can find no genuine support for El being anything other than a father god. His claim that angels (then unknown) were the “Heavenly council” is ridiculous. We need only look at “Thou shalt have no gods before me” to know that there were other gods and that Yahweh was assuming the mantle of a single dictator – he would do everything that all the other gods did. If you look at the history of the Moabites, you see that they worshipped other gods and this was claimed as the reason that Yahweh sent his tribe against them. (The truth of the matter was more prosaic: it was a question of land and borders.)

You may recall the story of Moses Aaron and 72 (or 73) others going up Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments. In the story, Aaron hears a god speak (and maybe sees the god.) Aaron then descends from the mountain and builds a golden calf; the symbol of Baal Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture. Now, if Yahweh really did speak, and if he did see Yahweh, why would Aaron do this?

The story therefore seems to indicate that prior to this event, Baal Hadad was the god of the Israelites and Aaron is convinced that he has seen Baal Hadad. Additional support is given to this theory because Baal Hadad was known to appear as a cloud – the thing that spoke to those on Mount Sinai.

If we move on, the book of Jeremiah shows the point at which the Israelites were changed from a polytheistic (more accurately a henotheistic) tribe to a monotheistic tribe. Jeremiah was the Rush Limbaugh of King Josiah. Josiah means “Healed by God” and, in gratitude, undertook the forcible conversion of the Israelites to Yahwism – Jeremiah was the CEO of this conversion and it is he who speaks of leaving all other gods and worshipping Yahweh alone.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Holy Sheet

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2013, 01:34:39 PM »
Ok, great. Thanks for the info guys.  8)

Offline Holy Sheet

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2013, 02:47:09 PM »
Is there an online English translation of the Ugarit somewhere? I can't find one.

More specifically, one that shows what parts of the Bible resemble the Ugarit - a side by side comparison of sorts?

Online wheels5894

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 03:33:12 PM »
Mormons believe in many different gods.  They can even become one themselves.

This is how different

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 06:32:03 PM »
Is there an online English translation of the Ugarit somewhere? I can't find one.

More specifically, one that shows what parts of the Bible resemble the Ugarit - a side by side comparison of sorts?

You may be asking for something that has not yet been done.

In the meantime:

A basic outline of the discovery of the Ugaric texts appears here:

http://www.theology.edu/ugarit.htm

It is told more in the way of an adventure story than a serious piece of archaeology but it does the job.

Psalm 29

Psalm 29 provides our final example of the potential of the Ugaritic texts for illuminating the Bible. The Psalmist praises God in powerful language, evocative of a thunderstorm; thunder, described as God's voice, is referred to seventimes. In 1935, H.L. Ginsberg proposed that Psalm 29 was originally a Phoenician hymn which had found its way into the Psalter. In support of his hypothesis, he noted several aspects of the psalm which suggested to him that it had been composed initially in honor of the storm god, Baal; he drew upon the Ugaritic texts to substatiate his hypothesis. Theodor Gaster took the hypothesis further in a study published in the Jewish Quaterly Review in 1947. Drawing on the evidence of the Ugaritic texts, he proposed tht the psalm was originally Canaanite; it had been modified for inclusion in Israel's hymnbook simply by the replacement of the name Baal with the personal name of Israel's God.


Just in case it isn't clear, and for emphasis, all the Godbotherers had done was steal the writings on Baal Hadad and changed the name to "Yahweh". For me at least, the evidence is pointing towards Yahweh being Baal Hadad rather than El but that slowly Yahweh became the Creator god.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 07:06:27 PM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2013, 05:54:03 AM »
I invoke the Mark of the Book.  Great stuff here Greybeard!
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jtk73

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2013, 10:48:01 AM »
I know that this is slightly off topic but Tracie (Tracy?) is my favorite or at least one of my favorites on The Atheist Experience. So often when talking with theists, she will 'come back' with a reply or question to their statements that is spot on and I will find myself thinking "Wow. I never thought of it that way." Maybe I had something in mind that I would have replied to the theist further in the conversation whereas she completely stops them in their tracks before the conversation gets any further. And more often than not, after her reply, the theist grows silent for a few moments and you can hear the gears in their head grinding and trying to catch up.

I don't admire this in the sense of she is coming back with a zinger or a one-liner and 'putting down' a theist but in the sense that when that theist grows silent, you know that she has said something that is making them think critically even if just for a second. Not just that theist but also a lot of the theist that are watching or listening in.

Offline SocialConstruct

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2013, 09:36:56 AM »
Mormons believe in many different gods.  They can even become one themselves.
The climax of religious narcissism. &)

Offline charlie24

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2013, 08:36:25 AM »
In Isaiah 44:6 God says: "I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God."
In vs. 8: "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God, I know not any."

The Gods you mentioned in the Bible are all false Gods. They are called by their names as the people named them so they would know that The God knows all about it. The prophet Isaiah was charged by God to deliver this message to the people as a warning of worshiping false Gods.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2013, 09:26:30 AM »
In Isaiah 44:6 God says: "I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God."
In vs. 8: "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God, I know not any."

The Gods you mentioned in the Bible are all false Gods. They are called by their names as the people named them so they would know that The God knows all about it. The prophet Isaiah was charged by God to deliver this message to the people as a warning of worshiping false Gods.
Charlie,

You have to put some effort into this, you know.

I have already shown that the Bible does mention other gods. The Bible does acknowledge the power of these gods. You also have to realise that the word "false" has several meanings.

"I thought John was my friend but he betrayed me. He was a false friend." -> this does not say that John does not exist. It merely comments on John's character.

You also need to know that the Israelites worshipped many gods. It was mainly King Josiah who forced the people to abandon the other gods. The other gods continued to exist in the communities around Israel. We know that the Moabites and Amalkelites and lots of other tribes did not worship Yahweh but kept worshipping the gods that the Israelites had abandoned. History shows that they did no worse than the Israelites.

Also, you should think a little about Isaiah and who he was and why he said things: He was very much dedicated to Yahweh. Now, you do not expect a Republican to suggest less spending on defence and more spending on Obamacare, do you? No, you don't. So why would you expect Isaiah to say anything other than "Worship Yahweh!"?
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline johnrain

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2014, 05:15:09 AM »


Listen to this lovely song.

Online wheels5894

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2014, 05:25:10 AM »
Maybe a nice song but it shows how the various gods in the bible have been through the blender and come out as one god. El Shaddai was not the same as YHWH. I suppose it is through songs like this that Christians can manage not to nitce that the bible has a lot of polytheism in it.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2014, 01:37:18 PM »
El ShaddaiWiki (Hebrew: ?? ????, IPA: [el ?ad?aj]) is one of the Judaic names of God, with its etymology coming from the influence of the Ugaritic religion upon modern Judaism. Shaddai was one of the many Gods in Canaanite religion. El Shaddai is conventionally translated as God Almighty. While the translation of El as "god" in Ugarit/Canaanite language is straightforward, the literal meaning of Shaddai is the subject of debate.
[...]
Another theory is that Shaddai is a derivation of a Semitic stem that appears in the Akkadian shadû ("mountain") and shadd?`û or shaddû`a ("mountain-dweller"), one of the names of Amurru. This theory was popularized by W. F. Albright[citation needed] but was somewhat weakened when it was noticed[by whom?] that the doubling of the medial d is first documented only in the Neo-Assyrian period. However, the doubling in Hebrew might possibly be secondary. According to this theory, God is seen as inhabiting a mythical holy mountain, a concept not unknown in ancient West Asian mythology (see El), and also evident in the Syriac Christian writings of Ephrem the Syrian, who places Eden on an inaccessible mountaintop.

This seems reasonable as Yahweh inhabits the High Places and is likely to be of Canaanite origin.

Mount HorebWiki, Hebrew: ?????, Greek in the Septuagint: ?????, Latin in the Vulgate: Horeb, is the mountain at which the book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. It is described in two places (Exodus 3:1, 1 Kings 19:8) as ??? ?????????? the Mountain of God. The mountain is also called the Mountain of Yahweh.

In other biblical passages, these events are described as having transpired at Mount Sinai, but though Sinai and Horeb are often considered to have been different names for the same place, there is a body of opinion that they may have been different locations.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2014, 01:54:19 PM »
Another theory is that Shaddai is a derivation of a Semitic stem that appears in the Akkadian shadû ("mountain") and shadd?`û or shaddû`a ("mountain-dweller"), one of the names of Amurru.

"Dah's Crom!!  Strong on his mountain!!"
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Offline Holy Sheet

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2014, 03:51:26 PM »
Does this guy make a case or is he just trying to cover up the polytheistic imports?
http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/HIPHILDeut32%20Psa82%20article.pdf

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Biblical evidence of polytheism
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2014, 09:47:10 AM »
Does this guy make a case or is he just trying to cover up the polytheistic imports?
http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/HIPHILDeut32%20Psa82%20article.pdf
The piece is very well-written and well-argued: it should be read. The writer explains that: The argument is put forth [against his proposition that El and Yahweh were never one] is that the Bible suggest Yahweh was at one time a junior member of the pantheon under El the Most High, but that he has now taken control as king of the gods.

The writer does tackle the difficult questions:

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 reads: When the Most High [El] gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of [the sons of God]. But the LORD’s [Yahweh’s] portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.

However, what the writer omits is that there was a pantheon of gods that stretched from the Gulf of Oman in the East, to parts of Turkey in the West and also North to what is now Turkmenistan. Throughout OT times, empires rose and fell and leaders imposed their own gods on the populace, it is small wonder that there are many records from the Babylonian, Akkadian, Hittite, Canaanite etc. empires in which gods change their name and or function but the image of the god stays much the same[1].

Baal Hadad was originally a son of El but later became the creator god himself. This is shown by the fact that El’s wife (mother of Hadad) is later confused as Baal Hadad’s wife.

Hymns to Baal Hadad are copied but with the name changed to Yahweh in the Bible.

So what seems to have happened was that in Israel and Judea there was a belief in El as the father god and Ashura[2] as his wife and that their sons and daughters were lesser gods.

One of the lesser gods appears to have been Yahweh. King Jehoram[3] was a great Yahwist and ordered Jeremiah to proclaim Yahweh the only god. Jeremiah did this successfully by propaganda and violence. He also seems to have supplanted Yahweh in place of El and dismissed Ashura[4] and all the other gods  over time hence much fuss about proving Yahweh to be the one and only god.

So basically we have a change from polytheism/henotheism to monotheism with one character, Yahweh, destined to survive to the last episode when the transition is complete and Yahweh has supplanted El and "the council of gods": the Elohim.

It reminds me of a story told by a farmer I knew years ago:

A rat-cacher came regularly to the farm and usually caught 20 or 30 rats in a cage trap. On one occasion the rat-catcher was sick for a few weeks and when the farmer looked in the cage, there was only one large and well-fed rat and a few bones scattered around.
 1. 
I often thought that the prohibition on making images of "God" was so that the images of previous gods would be forgotten and then those gods would be forgotten - very effective propaganda.
 2. there are various spellings and pronunciations
 3. check name…
 4. although there is a small piece of pottery that mentions Yahweh and his wife Ashura
« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 09:54:43 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”