Friday, March 13, 2020

YHWH against the gods

What has been said in the preceding section about the integration of the divine world in Yahweh should not be interpreted as implying a gradual evolution from polytheism to monotheism. Such an interpretation would not conform to the complexity of the origins of Yahwism, nor would it account for the fact that this radical centralization of divine power and authority in Yahweh is present from the earliest stages. From the beginning also, insofar as we can press the question of origins, there is present what might be called a counter-theme: Yahweh against the gods. The God of Israel, who comes out of the gods and in whom the world of the gods may be discerned, stands over against all other gods, claiming a unity and exclusiveness that rules them out. Such a claim is not primarily an ontological assertion but a claim on Israel, the worshipers of Yahweh. It nevertheless carries with it a theological perspective on the nature of the divine reality that is of far-reaching significance in the history of Israelite religion.—Patrick D. Miller in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, p. 24

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