rgprice wrote: ↑Sat Aug 27, 2022 8:03 am
neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Sat Aug 27, 2022 7:43 am
Gmirkin, I think, is attempting to explain how the idea of Jewish-Samaritan monotheism came about and does not explore how society itself changed -- though it evidently did, whether or not we accept Gmirkin's theory.
True, but his proposal has societal implications. You can't work from only the texts and propose a model of how texts may have been produced based on textual evidence alone, if that proposal is entirely impractical societally.
It would seem from what Gmirkin is proposing that as of 280 BCE Judeans were worshiping Asherah, Yahweh, Baal, El, and many, many others, having never heard of Moses, David, Solomon, etc. and then by of 250 or at least 200 BCE at least hundreds of thousands of Judeans worshiped only one God and tied their heritage to Moses, David, Solomon, etc. That seems very difficult to believe.
Hi again, RG--- I have been following up some other reading and it looks to me that we have to accept that the archaeological evidence is clear: prior to the Hellenistic period (or very late Persian period) there is no evidence that Judean communities, from Egypt, through Delos, Palestine and Babylonia, had knowledge of Mosaic laws, Abraham, or very little of anything that we associate with "biblical Judaism".
The Judeans did not know about "Israel" but called themselves Judeans/Jews. They worshiped Yhwh alongside other gods, and freely associated in business and marriage with neighbours with a preference for gods other than Yhwh. Passover was a festival but with no known association with an Exodus myth. The Sabbath was a special day -- for trading and markets, not for rest.
During the Persian era they did were not allowed independence in religious matters but required permission from the Persian authorities before they could build a temple -- and multiple temples were okay. Priests in Jerusalem did not object to the temple in Elephantine, for example.
The "god of heaven" was often used as an expression for Yhwh but it was a term that was also inclusive of Ahuramazda, Marduk, Aten-Re.
A striking, clearly recognisable change in the political structure did not take place until the restoration of Judean kingship in the 2nd century BC. It was not until the Hasmoneans that the Torah was explicitly and programmatically declared to be the basis of their rule and enforced with all its rigour. . . .
What happened before that . . . is beyond our knowledge. . . .
Possible reasons are the political-military situation and the economic conditions of foreign rule, internal conflicts between residents in the country and returnees from the Diaspora and, last but not least, the spiritual challenge that Hellenism posed for all involved.
--- translated from Kratz, Reinhard G. “Zwischen Elephantine Und Qumran: Das Alte Testament Im Rahmen Des Antiken Judentums.” In Congress Volume Ljubljana 2007, XVI, 640 Pp. ed. edition., 129–46. Leiden ; Boston: BRILL, 2009. -- pp 144-146
I'm reminded of Nehemiah -- written well after the Persian period its story is set in -- where a bit of physical persuasion was applied to force the population to start keeping the sabbath, and Ezra's efforts to break up interracial marriages.