Thursday, May 28, 2020

Yahwism and the Rule of Faith

But where did this corpus of Yahwistic texts come from? Who preserved it and so forth? Obviously and most mundanely, it was originally the people of Israel and Judah, and then, belatedly, the early Jewish and Christian communities that descended from them and composed, preserved, and transmitted the religious literature that eventually came to be recognized as the canonical writings of the OT/HB. Religious literature, however, emerges from religious experience, except in the most cynical and secular interpretations of religion. What that means is that it was Israel’s experience of the god YHWH that led to the composition, preservation, and transmission of a massive amount of literature about YHWH, which in turn helped to insure YHWH’s survival and also served to separate him from his more plodding ANE peers. Since this is mostly a historical judgment based on sociohistorical factors and the existence of certain literary realia—one that could be taken in a thin way—I wish to thicken it up a bit with some theological considerations.

I do so by appealing to the notion of “the rule of faith” (regula dei), a term used in the study of early Christianity for a statement of belief that existed in something of a symbiotic relationship with further development and practice of that belief.—Brent A. Strawn in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, 152–53

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