Accounting for The Covenant

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Jacob Aliet
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Accounting for The Covenant

Post by Jacob Aliet » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:46 am

Studying of the OT and ANE texts indicates that from a polytheistic background, the Caananite tribes shifted to henotheism and the game changer seems to have been the covenant with Moses that made the Israelites stand as a distinct group and set the foundation to monolatry and ultimately monotheism with Yahweh becoming El and the other gods being destroyed and denied.
However, there is one problem.
Several ANE scholars have questioned or even denied the existence of Moses (at least not in the scale depicted in the OT), so, whence come monotheism/monolatry? What was the turning point? Were Exodus and Genesis written well past the mornachic period and entailed a revisionist history that sought to plant Yawheh and the covenant firmly behind the success of the Davidic Kingdom?
What is the answer? Or is my question wrong?

Ulan
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Re: Accounting for The Covenant

Post by Ulan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:31 am

The most common model in today's OT scholarship is that monotheism developed as not only idea but religious norm after the return from the Babylonian Exile. When some of the Judean elite that grew up in Babylon was sent back to the new Persian province to lead it, they somehow seem to have brought these ideas with them. Jerusalem was a very small town during Persian times (the estimates reach from 1500 to 2750 people), and I guess it was not much more than the temple itself, where Judaism was forged during that time. This was especially true after the leadership of the temple also took over civilian rulership of Yehud Medinata around 450 BC.

Of course, there were already henotheistic themes in the older texts. Some influence of Zoroastrianism is assumed. The monarchic strain may have been taken from the Marduk cult. Some biblical stories may have been brought from this area, like the Garden Eden story, maybe the story of the Tower of Babel (it shows some parallels to events in the times of Nabonidus). The book of Esther may be the reworking of a story about Marduk and Ishtar, but that was obviously much later.

Details differ from scholar to scholar, but the general idea seems to be mostly accepted. The Moses stories are of course older. Some parts are assumed to be among the oldest texts in the OT. It's just assumed they got their final form in Persian times.

Charles Wilson
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Re: Accounting for The Covenant

Post by Charles Wilson » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:40 am

Ulan wrote:The most common model in today's OT scholarship is that monotheism developed as not only idea but religious norm after the return from the Babylonian Exile.
I agree with you here, Ulan. https://www.amazon.com/Cult-Asherah-Anc ... ds=asherah
The development of the Garden of Eden Motif does not find any other god/goddess aligned with El which implies that the GoE Construction is Post-Return-from-Exile. The idea of "Satan" becomes an interesting development. Asherah has been relegated to a totem whose workings scarcely resemble a functioning goddess, "Consort of El". As I stated in another thread, females even pray to the male god when they pray for greater fertility.
The Moses stories are of course older. Some parts are assumed to be among the oldest texts in the OT. It's just assumed they got their final form in Persian times.
I've heard (from Moffatt Trans.?) that the Song of Deborah exhibits some old/"primitive" signs.

CW

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Secret Alias
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Re: Accounting for The Covenant

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:25 am

Believe it or not I know a Jacob Aliet who was from Kenya. But in case anyone is interested in what I have to say here goes.

That white people think the Jewish religion is monotheistic because of the pressure that placed by their ancestors on ALL RELIGIONS AND PHILOSOPHIES as the Empire was crumbling and the paranoid Emperors wanted to reinforce the authority - their authority - of the 'ruler of the world' is one thing. But the reality is that 'God' (or a god) was wandering around the earth (and specifically the environs of Gerizim/Salem). Could the first users of the Pentateuch have been so stupid as to believe that the universe was governed from Gerizim or a 'secret throne' at the top of an 'invisible mountaintop' or ladder that went up from the mountain? No, I can't believe that.

Much rather we have to accept that the two powers theology which is clearly in evidence in the earliest editions of Exodus meant that Yahweh was one of at least two gods and that the Most High God wasn't the exclusive god for Israel only Ish/Ishu/Yahweh. This makes sense when you consider that the Pentateuch was written while a foreign power ruled over the Israelites (notice that the Pentateuch has no provisions for the calling up of soldiers and Moses is described as something other than a 'king').
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Peter Kirby
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Re: Accounting for The Covenant

Post by Peter Kirby » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:04 pm

Secret Alias wrote:Believe it or not I know a Jacob Aliet who was from Kenya.
And I'm glad he found the forum... welcome!
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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