Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Not really one of the gang

But there is also YHWH’s distinctiveness to consider. So, while YHWH is part of the gang—at least some of the time, and maybe more frequently than that—there are still moments when he is not one of the gang, or at least not only that. This judgment is no less historical than were assertions about YHWH’s similarity, since the same could be said for each and every ANE deity, at least to some degree. Each one of these gods, that is, is unique in some fashion. Marduk is not Baal, and Hathor is not Isis, and Ishtar is not Nabu—well, until they sort of are. The gods retain individuality, except when they don’t, which is what happens in certain relatively rare cases where they are collapsed into each other via a focus on just one high god in a move that is summodeistic, henotheistic, monolatrous, or monotheizing, if not fully monotheistic. Or it can happen in moments of god mergers, where formerly if not formally distinct gods are equated and identified thereafter.—Brent A. Strawn in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, p. 151

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