Etymology of "Elohim"?

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rgprice
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Etymology of "Elohim"?

Post by rgprice »

So "Elohim" is the plural of Eloah. Why do the Hebrew scriptures use the plural Elohim to describe "God"?

I've done some preliminary reading up on this issue and, of course, it appears as if its really unresolved.

It seems that sometimes Elohim is used in conjunction with other plural words, like verbs and adjectives, etc., and sometime with singular. It seems that one explanation is that the use of the plural Elohim was intended to signify the grand nature of God. Of course I think every explanation is just something being made up at this point.

Would it make sense that Elohim was used in a way that initially referred to the divine counsel instead of to a specific god?

Is there any progress to be made in trying to understand the use of Elohim?
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billd89
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Re:"Elohim"?

Post by billd89 »

Elohim: a Family of Gods. Who/which and corresponding to whatever, even approximately?

It's an unpopular topic, but given the archaeological evidence of Other Gods in the Semitic Pantheon in Egypt & Israel c.600-300 BC, what are the candidates for consideration?

Order:Egypt 0400 BC:Egypt 0300 BC:Gaza 0200 BC:Egypt 0300 BC:
Father:YahuPtah = On? OuranosYHWH
Mother:AnatHathorUrania(Sophia)
Son 1:HeremThothHoronAaron
Daughter 1:BethElIsis-ThermouthisAphroditeMiriam
Son 2:IshumHermesHerakles & Horus-HarpocratesMoses


Order:Byblos 1000 BC:Jamnia 1000 BC:Jamnia 0150 BC:Jamnia 0025 BC:
Father:Baal-ShamemTheos OrounosOrounos/El (?)Baal Zeboul
Mother:Baalath-GebalThea OurouniaAphrodite PalaistineAshtoreth
Son 1:Baal-HadadMelqartHeraklesBaal-Rimmon
Son 2:AdonShadrafaHauronasBaal-Gad


Order:Phoenician:Egyptian:Greek:Jewish:
Father:Baal HadadSeth-BaalZeusOn/ El
Mother:Aphrodite Ourania Astarte ??Aphrodite PalaistineEl Shaddai
Son 1:Melqart xxxHeraklesBaal Zeboul
Son 2:EshmunHauronIolaosBaal Rimmon

My own suspicion is that 'Family' or 'House' is a feminine character, but the grids are imperfect and Subject to Change; it's a work-in-progress.
rgprice
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Re: Etymology of "Elohim"?

Post by rgprice »

This is a typical summary of the meaning of Elohim: https://winebrenner.edu/2019/03/25/eloh ... enesis-11/

But it seems that no one really understand the origin of its use. I wonder if Elohim actually originally mean the divine counsel. Is Genesis 1 really talking about "God" or is it really attributing the creation to the counsel?

What are the oldest examples of the use of Elohim with singular verbs?
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billd89
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Re: "Elohim" as "Family"

Post by billd89 »

rgprice wrote: Wed Sep 14, 2022 4:07 am This is a typical summary of the meaning of Elohim: https://winebrenner.edu/2019/03/25/eloh ... enesis-11/

Consequently, many English versions render ’elōhîm as “angels” (KJV, NIV) or “heavenly beings” (NET, ESV). The ancient Greek translation, known as the Septuagint, rendered it similarly as ἄγγελοι (angeloi), “angels” or “(divine) messengers.”

I'd read the Elohim of the Septuagint as equivalent to 'Divine Host.' (I think Angels are ONE level, and also 'Not All'); the pantheon appears to be a 'Family' in divers religions of Egypt. The refined or altered definition of 'Elohim' by the Tannaim and their successors is not relevant to me, in this question. Those rabbis (and the Early Church) had every reason to destroy polytheistic evidence, and they did.

James Sweeney's definition is probably a fine representative of the reasonable Evangelical Christian position. But I STRONGLY doubt he would admit Yahu's Family as ’elōhîm, either. SO we must seek the truth elsewhere. In the Sethrum, "..all the gods of Taphanes" is suggestively Baal-Zephon's family. At Elephantine's Jewish temple, there were two feminine gods Anat Bethel and Asham Bethel. Were they Mother & Daughter gods of Yahu's Family, as that feminist author supposes?

Those two Jewish goddesses, Anat Bethel and Asham Bethel, have never been discussed here before, so far as 'Search' goes. Another (possibly same?) is Ashima, only mentioned twice and in passing. Why is the monotheistic, androcentric lie both forced and accepted still?

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rgprice
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Re: Etymology of "Elohim"?

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What of the possibility that Elohim was originally a "god" of both male and female forms, something like Phanes. https://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Phanes.html

Phanes was in some cases described as both male and female. The dual nature of Phanes is what made "him" able to be the creator of the universe.

Now, verse 27 gives some possible indication of this (depending on how you translate it): "27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."

This would suggest that the "image of Elohim" was both male and female.

Edit: This is instructive: http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?scr ... e%20angels.

Can someone explain this better, since I can't read the Hebrew. From the link above (References in the Midrashic and Talmudic Literature):

Expounding Genesis 1:1, the grand Midrash on the Book of Genesis safeguarded the unity of God and pointed out that , which could be parsed either as singular or as plural and which might denote either true/false God(s) or human/angelic agent(s) of power, depending on the context, referred to the one and only God in Genesis 1:1 because acted as the subject of the singular verb (), not the plural one (). Likewise, the grand Midrash32recalled that Genesis 1:27 read that God created (), not that gods created (), humankind. Thus, there was only one divine authority/power (), not many (), creating the universe. This hermeneutical presupposition determined the Midrashic interpretation of the plural forms which in Genesis 1-3 might refer to God.

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billd89
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Re: "Elohim" is a relic

Post by billd89 »

rgprice wrote: Wed Sep 14, 2022 7:34 am What of the possibility that Elohim was originally a "god" of both male and female forms, something like Phanes.
Egyptian God Atum was believed to have created the universe by ejaculating (or sneezing). Khepri the god of rebirth, associated with scarabs, supposedly born of a dung-ball. Even Augustine repeats the concept of dung-beetle parthenogenesis, a core feature of Khepri.

I'm curious to know precisely when the Semite Goddesses were eradicated by the Proto-Jewish religious leaders, and why.

We mistakenly view these relic forms of the old Semitic faith as 'errors' in the OT; in fact, these contradictions STRONGLY appear as evidence of what was deliberately excised. The answer to the 'Plural Gods Question' seems blazingly obvious to me; the 'Pentateuch' Authors edited the data to obscure and overwrite the folkloric polytheism of 'Jewish Egypt'.

What remains (sometimes) unclear is the order, so we must look at other Semitic evidence:

Father: ...... Zeus Ouranios ............ Baal-shamin
Mother: ..... Aphrodite Ourania ....... Astarte "Queen of Heaven"
Daughter: ... Aphrodite Palaistine .... Isis : Nurse-Maid, Sacred Whore
Son 1: ....... Herakles Belos ........... Joseph/ Serapis/ Baal-Saphon
Son 2: ....... Alexander ?? .............. Horus; Eshmun Shadrafa

El Shaddai sounds like Horon, sometimes. But I also suppose it's an earlier expression of the Pantheon/Family.
rgprice
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Re: Etymology of "Elohim"?

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Is there any early literature, such a targums, midrash, the Talmud, etc., that address the interpretation of Elohim as being both male and female?

I did see this in the link I provided above, but I don't know what the reference says and don't' fully understand what they are saying.

Moreover, the grand Midrash made other references to God's image/likeness. Explaining Genesis 2:18, the Midrash stated that without female the likeness () would be reduced which implies that the likeness referred to in Genesis 1:26-27 posited that humankind was created as male and female. Consequently, the full likeness could be predicated only of humankind defined as both male and female. Besides, it transpires that in the Midrash the terms 'image' () and 'likeness' () were employed as synonyms.

rgprice
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Re: Etymology of "Elohim"?

Post by rgprice »

It seems quite clear that even the earliest pontifications on Genesis are all really grasping at straws. It seems that all of the rabbis were operating similarly to Philo. They were all reading a text and trying to make sense out of the text using only the clues from the text itself. No real knowledge had been passed on.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Etymology of "Elohim"?

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 12:58 pm Would it make sense that Elohim was used in a way that initially referred to the divine counsel instead of to a specific god?

Is there any progress to be made in trying to understand the use of Elohim?
You will be interested in an article by Samuel Shaviv, The Polytheistic Origins of the Biblical Flood Narrative (2004). It's in Jstor at http://www.jstor.org/stable/1518524 -- if you don't subscribe your library may do so and give you online access. Or else https://sci-hub.se/10.1163/1568533042650831

Essentially the key is in the use of the definite article, according to Shaviv. Sometimes -- in certain contexts -- this can be an indicator that the original intent of Elohim was the "divine council of gods", goes his argument. The problem with finding a consistent pattern results from generations of ideologically motivated redaction (Shaviv). (Gmirkin's thesis would mean any comparison with Elohim in Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 would have to be excluded from comparison with other uses of Elohim in Genesis.)
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