Friday, May 15, 2020

The differences

[T]he data presently available must be reckoned with, and this includes the material from the OT, which, despite its distinction from texts recovered directly from the dirt and its more “traditioned” nature, still counts as evidence, and thus has to be taken into thorough consideration in any sort of discussion of YHWH. To put the matter mildly, the profile of YHWH found in this corpus—quite apart from its particular problems or irregularities—outpaces every other ancient Semitic god we know, in quantity alone if not also in quality. There are similarities, to be sure, among YHWH, Chemosh, Marduk, and their other divine friends, but differences are also manifest—again in quantity alone, if not also quality. Simply put, we know a whole lot more about YHWH’s “interior life” than we do about Balu’s. The differences between YHWH and the gods that are apparent at this juncture (and not only here) highlight the inadequacy of this first, overly-similar response (over-similarity), even as they also lead directly to the second unhelpful perspective.—Brent A. Strawn in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, p. 143

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