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Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel 
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Post Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel



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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
It continues to amaze me that a key to decode the Bible is sought by people who refuse to read other than the most superficial explanations into what the Bible says. A possible explanation for the presence of God in the Garden is that humans had not yet fallen. When God asked where they were because the had hidden themselves after disobeying perhaps it was to facilitate Adam and Eve seeking forgiveness rather than them having done a good job of secreting themselves. I suggest interest parties read Genesis Chapter 3 and see if it doesn't become obvious that God is pleading with them to confess.

Wright brags that he was in Sunday School but he doesn't seem to have learned much.

So far about 50% fluff, 40% unsubstantiated speculation 5% garbage and 5% fact.

I thought it quite humorous that Wright seems to disagree with Kaufman on page 100. Though not a fan of Kaufman myself, Wright has not demonstrated the chops to take him on, and he should have by page 100.


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Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:58 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
You're zooming ahead of us here. Are you maybe reading too fast to consider what Wright says, because you already know that you disagree with it? You will understand, though, that a problem that Wright may have (according to you) in interpreting the Bible is probably not a problem of fact, at least to him. It is just a difference in interpretation of a story. I'm not saying he doesn't or won't make true factual errors, but you haven't indicated yet what this 95% of non-facts is.


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Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
DWill wrote:
You're zooming ahead of us here. Are you maybe reading too fast to consider what Wright says, because you already know that you disagree with it? You will understand, though, that a problem that Wright may have (according to you) in interpreting the Bible is probably not a problem of fact, at least to him. It is just a difference in interpretation of a story. I'm not saying he doesn't or won't make true factual errors, but you haven't indicated yet what this 95% of non-facts is.


No, I didn't zoom ahead. I trudged through the entire first section, which as far as I could see had little to do wht 'god' and much to do with religion. I also refrained from comment on most of the errors Wright had in that section.

Bear with me regarding the 95%.


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- G.K. Chesterton


Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:50 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
stahrwe wrote:
DWill wrote:
You're zooming ahead of us here. Are you maybe reading too fast to consider what Wright says, because you already know that you disagree with it? You will understand, though, that a problem that Wright may have (according to you) in interpreting the Bible is probably not a problem of fact, at least to him. It is just a difference in interpretation of a story. I'm not saying he doesn't or won't make true factual errors, but you haven't indicated yet what this 95% of non-facts is.


No, I didn't zoom ahead. I trudged through the entire first section, which as far as I could see had little to do wht 'god' and much to do with religion. I also refrained from comment on most of the errors Wright had in that section.

Bear with me regarding the 95%.

These errors, are they errors of reasoning or argumentation? Please let us know about them, as the discussion is tending to flag.


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Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
DWill wrote:
stahrwe wrote:
DWill wrote:
You're zooming ahead of us here. Are you maybe reading too fast to consider what Wright says, because you already know that you disagree with it? You will understand, though, that a problem that Wright may have (according to you) in interpreting the Bible is probably not a problem of fact, at least to him. It is just a difference in interpretation of a story. I'm not saying he doesn't or won't make true factual errors, but you haven't indicated yet what this 95% of non-facts is.


No, I didn't zoom ahead. I trudged through the entire first section, which as far as I could see had little to do wht 'god' and much to do with religion. I also refrained from comment on most of the errors Wright had in that section.

Bear with me regarding the 95%.

These errors, are they errors of reasoning or argumentation? Please let us know about them, as the discussion is tending to flag.


So, you want me to stir things up a bit?

Ok.

First, a small issue. In this chapter Wright refers to Yhwh as Israel's God. Hebrew has no distinction between upper and lower case letters. The general practice is that when YHWH is written it is written in all capital English letters.

Wright has a deplorable habit of claiming that a theory is out of favor but then going on to describe the theory see page 113.

I love what he says on page 116;
Quote:
"The Bible actually contains shards of evidence of such a time but they're hard to find, because over the ages the Bible's editors and translators haven't exactly taken pains to highlight them. Quite the contrary consider this innocent sounding verse ...

Quote:
Deuteronomy 32:8 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

9 For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.


"This verse, though a bit obscure, seems to say that God - called the "Most High" in one place and "LORD" in another - somehow divided the world's people into groups and then took an especially proprietary interest in one group, Jacob's. But this interpretation rests on the assumption that "Most High" and "the LORD" do both refer to Yahew, Do they?"


This is one of those cricket chirping moments when I ask myself why am I reading this guy's book? If he is that ignorant of one of the fundamental propositions of the Bible that he thinks God's calling of Israel is obscure. I am not sure there is much point in continuing. and it isn't just that. It seems to be a big revelation Wright gives us that Israel started as a polytheistic culture. To this I submit:

Quote:
Genesis 11:28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.


Remember Ur, Wright mentions it back in Section I. They were polytheists. Abraham's family were polytheists. Abraham was most like a polytheist, before God called him. His grandson, Jacob returns to the homeland to find a wife. Ends up marrying Leah and Rachel, the daughters of kinsmen. After 20 years or so, Jacob has a falling out with Laban and leaves with his by now large family. As an act of pique Rachel steals her fathers idols leading to the following
Quote:
Jacob Flees from Laban
Genesis 31
17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;

18 and he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Pa'dan–a'ram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gil'e-ad.

22 ¶ And it was told Laban on the third day, that Jacob was fled.

23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gil'e-ad.

24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

25 ¶ Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gil'e-ad.

26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?

27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?

28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.

29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?


So far, it seems to Wright that it is a big revelation that the patriarch of the Jews was a polytheist. It wouldn't have been so big a revelation if he had read Genesis.

Now, regarding the name of God and supposed changes, here is what Scofield has to say:

Quote:
Elohim or Yahweh?
Why does Genesis 1 refer to God exclusively by the Hebrew title Elohim, "God," while the second chapter of Genesis, beginning in the second half of Genesis 2:4, speaks exclusively of Yahweh Elohim, that is, "the LORD God"? So striking is this divergence of the divine names that it has been common in critical circles of biblical scholarship to conclude that the writer, or, as those in the critical school prefer, the redactor (a sort of copyeditor) used basically two different sources for the two creation accounts found in the two chapters.

The person who paved the way for this theory of dual sources was Jean Astruc (1684-1766), the personal physician to Louis XV and a professor on the medical faculty of the University of Paris. While he still held to the Mosaic authorship of all of the Pentateuch, his volume on the book of Genesis published in 1753 offered the major clue that the names Elohim and Yahweh were the telltale traces that Moses used two sources to compose this material - material that obviously recorded events occurring before his time.

This explanation as to how Moses had access to material far beyond his own lifetime and the reason for the use of the dual names, however, was too facile; it failed to note that the variation in the employment of these two divine names in the book of Genesis was subject to certain rules that could be described rather precisely. First of all, the name Yahweh, "LORD," (notice the English translation convention of rendering this name in large and small capital letters, as opposed to "Lord," which renders another word meaning something like "master") is a proper noun used exclusively of the God of Israel. Elohim, on the other hand, is a generic term for "God" or "gods" that only subsequently became a proper name.

Yahweh is used wherever the Bible stresses God's personal relationship with his people and the ethical aspect of his nature. Elohim, on the other hand, refers to God as the Creator of the whole universe of people and things, and especially of the material world: he was the ruler of nature, the source of all life. This variation of divine names can be seen most dramatically in texts like Psalm 19. In this psalm Elohim is used in the first part, which describes God's work in creation and his relationship to the material world. But in the middle of the psalm the psalmist switches to the topic of the law of the LORD and the relationship the LORD has with those who know him; there the name Yahweh appears.

A further complication occurs because Exodus 6:3 notes that God says, "I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them." The resolution to this apparent contradiction to some 150 uses of the name Yahweh during the patriarchal period is to be found in a technical point of Hebrew grammar, known as beth essentiae, in the phrase "by my name." This phrase meant that while Abraham, Isaac and Jacob heard and used the name Yahweh, it was only in Moses' day that the realization of the character, nature and essence of what that name meant became clear. "By the name" is better translated "in the character [or nature] of Yahweh [was I not known]."

Thus the name Yahwoh is used when the Bible wishes to present the personal character of God and his direct relationship with those human beings who have a special association with him. Contrariwise, Elohim occurs when the Scriptures are referring to God as a transcendent Being who is the author of the material world, yet One who stands above it. Elohim conveys the more philosophically oriented concept that connects deity with the existence of the world and humanity. But for those who seek the more direct, personal and ethically oriented view of God, the term Yahweh was more appropriate.

Accordingly, Genesis 1 correctly used the name Elohim, for God's role as Creator of the whole universe and of all living things and all mortals is what the chapter teaches. The subject narrows immediately in Genesis 2-3, however; there it describes God's very intimate and personal relationship with the first human pair, Adam and Eve. God is depicted as walking and talking with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Therefore Yahweh is appropriately joined to Elohim to indicate that the Elohim of all creation is now the Yahweh who is intimately concerned to maintain a personal relationship with those who will walk and talk with him.

http://www.answering-islam.org/BibleCom/yahweh.html


What is bothersome is that the information about the names is readily available and Wright could have found them if he had looked. He is free to disagree but if he does, he should at least include the information and his reasons.


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“You cannot evade the issue of God, whether you talk about pigs or the binomial theory, you are still talking about Him. Now if Christianity be. . . a fragment of metaphysical nonsense invented by a few people, then, of course, defending it will simply mean talking that metaphysical nonsense over and over. But if Christianity should happen to be true – then defending it may mean talking about anything or everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true.”
- G.K. Chesterton


Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:42 am
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
stahrwe wrote:
So, you want me to stir things up a bit?

But of course!
Quote:
First, a small issue. In this chapter Wright refers to Yhwh as Israel's God. Hebrew has no distinction between upper and lower case letters. The general practice is that when YHWH is written it is written in all capital English letters.

As you say, small stuff.
Quote:
Wright has a deplorable habit of claiming that a theory is out of favor but then going on to describe the theory see page 113.

His words are, "Wellhausens's scheme doesn't enjoy the near universal esteem it had in the mid-twentieth century, but there's no denying that the Bible features different vocabularies for Israel's god." I can't agree that this qualification is deplorable.
Quote:
This is one of those cricket chirping moments when I ask myself why am I reading this guy's book? If he is that ignorant of one of the fundamental propositions of the Bible that he thinks God's calling of Israel is obscure. I am not sure there is much point in continuing. and it isn't just that. It seems to be a big revelation Wright gives us that Israel started as a polytheistic culture.

I agree that the wording could be called " a bit obscure," with the apparent difference between " the Most High" and the LORD. You seem to imply that he's in some way criticizing the call itself, but that's not his purpose.

On the polytheistic beginnings of the Israelites, what Wright wants to highlight is of course evolution from polytheism to monotheism. This will be a gradual, not a sudden, transition. He wants to show us how early Bible references retain some of the polytheism that illustrate that the picture was mixed for a while, with Yahweh the head of a pantheon before gradually becoming the one God. I don't think he intends as a bombshell that polytheism is mentioned in the Bible. He does think it's underappreciated that later editors of the Bible did not brush away the embedded polytheism is the story of the rise of Yahweh.

Quote:
Now, regarding the name of God and supposed changes, here is what Scofield has to say:

Quote:
Elohim or Yahweh?
Why does Genesis 1 refer to God exclusively by the Hebrew title Elohim, "God," while the second chapter of Genesis, beginning in the second half of Genesis 2:4, speaks exclusively of Yahweh Elohim, that is, "the LORD God"? So striking is this divergence of the divine names that it has been common in critical circles of biblical scholarship to conclude that the writer, or, as those in the critical school prefer, the redactor (a sort of copyeditor) used basically two different sources for the two creation accounts found in the two chapters.

The person who paved the way for this theory of dual sources was Jean Astruc (1684-1766), the personal physician to Louis XV and a professor on the medical faculty of the University of Paris. While he still held to the Mosaic authorship of all of the Pentateuch, his volume on the book of Genesis published in 1753 offered the major clue that the names Elohim and Yahweh were the telltale traces that Moses used two sources to compose this material - material that obviously recorded events occurring before his time.

This explanation as to how Moses had access to material far beyond his own lifetime and the reason for the use of the dual names, however, was too facile; it failed to note that the variation in the employment of these two divine names in the book of Genesis was subject to certain rules that could be described rather precisely. First of all, the name Yahweh, "LORD," (notice the English translation convention of rendering this name in large and small capital letters, as opposed to "Lord," which renders another word meaning something like "master") is a proper noun used exclusively of the God of Israel. Elohim, on the other hand, is a generic term for "God" or "gods" that only subsequently became a proper name.

Yahweh is used wherever the Bible stresses God's personal relationship with his people and the ethical aspect of his nature. Elohim, on the other hand, refers to God as the Creator of the whole universe of people and things, and especially of the material world: he was the ruler of nature, the source of all life. This variation of divine names can be seen most dramatically in texts like Psalm 19. In this psalm Elohim is used in the first part, which describes God's work in creation and his relationship to the material world. But in the middle of the psalm the psalmist switches to the topic of the law of the LORD and the relationship the LORD has with those who know him; there the name Yahweh appears.

A further complication occurs because Exodus 6:3 notes that God says, "I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them." The resolution to this apparent contradiction to some 150 uses of the name Yahweh during the patriarchal period is to be found in a technical point of Hebrew grammar, known as beth essentiae, in the phrase "by my name." This phrase meant that while Abraham, Isaac and Jacob heard and used the name Yahweh, it was only in Moses' day that the realization of the character, nature and essence of what that name meant became clear. "By the name" is better translated "in the character [or nature] of Yahweh [was I not known]."

Thus the name Yahwoh is used when the Bible wishes to present the personal character of God and his direct relationship with those human beings who have a special association with him. Contrariwise, Elohim occurs when the Scriptures are referring to God as a transcendent Being who is the author of the material world, yet One who stands above it. Elohim conveys the more philosophically oriented concept that connects deity with the existence of the world and humanity. But for those who seek the more direct, personal and ethically oriented view of God, the term Yahweh was more appropriate.

Accordingly, Genesis 1 correctly used the name Elohim, for God's role as Creator of the whole universe and of all living things and all mortals is what the chapter teaches. The subject narrows immediately in Genesis 2-3, however; there it describes God's very intimate and personal relationship with the first human pair, Adam and Eve. God is depicted as walking and talking with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Therefore Yahweh is appropriately joined to Elohim to indicate that the Elohim of all creation is now the Yahweh who is intimately concerned to maintain a personal relationship with those who will walk and talk with him.

http://www.answering-islam.org/BibleCom/yahweh.html


What is bothersome is that the information about the names is readily available and Wright could have found them if he had looked. He is free to disagree but if he does, he should at least include the information and his reasons.

What is bothersome a little to me, I hope you don't mind my saying, is that you make us work too hard! It would have helped greatly if before throwing down this long passage you had summarized just what Wright does with the name of God. Then we might have had some guidance regarding the contrast you intend us to see. But better yet, just give us a snippet of quotation. I seem to recall some standard taught to us in school about the length of quotations in research papers....


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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
DWill wrote:
stahrwe wrote:
So, you want me to stir things up a bit?

But of course!
Quote:
First, a small issue. In this chapter Wright refers to Yhwh as Israel's God. Hebrew has no distinction between upper and lower case letters. The general practice is that when YHWH is written it is written in all capital English letters.

As you say, small stuff.
Quote:
Wright has a deplorable habit of claiming that a theory is out of favor but then going on to describe the theory see page 113.

His words are, "Wellhausens's scheme doesn't enjoy the near universal esteem it had in the mid-twentieth century, but there's no denying that the Bible features different vocabularies for Israel's god." I can't agree that this qualification is deplorable.
Quote:
This is one of those cricket chirping moments when I ask myself why am I reading this guy's book? If he is that ignorant of one of the fundamental propositions of the Bible that he thinks God's calling of Israel is obscure. I am not sure there is much point in continuing. and it isn't just that. It seems to be a big revelation Wright gives us that Israel started as a polytheistic culture.

I agree that the wording could be called " a bit obscure," with the apparent difference between " the Most High" and the LORD. You seem to imply that he's in some way criticizing the call itself, but that's not his purpose.

On the polytheistic beginnings of the Israelites, what Wright wants to highlight is of course evolution from polytheism to monotheism. This will be a gradual, not a sudden, transition. He wants to show us how early Bible references retain some of the polytheism that illustrate that the picture was mixed for a while, with Yahweh the head of a pantheon before gradually becoming the one God. I don't think he intends as a bombshell that polytheism is mentioned in the Bible. He does think it's underappreciated that later editors of the Bible did not brush away the embedded polytheism is the story of the rise of Yahweh.

Quote:
Now, regarding the name of God and supposed changes, here is what Scofield has to say:

Quote:
Elohim or Yahweh?
Why does Genesis 1 refer to God exclusively by the Hebrew title Elohim, "God," while the second chapter of Genesis, beginning in the second half of Genesis 2:4, speaks exclusively of Yahweh Elohim, that is, "the LORD God"? So striking is this divergence of the divine names that it has been common in critical circles of biblical scholarship to conclude that the writer, or, as those in the critical school prefer, the redactor (a sort of copyeditor) used basically two different sources for the two creation accounts found in the two chapters.

The person who paved the way for this theory of dual sources was Jean Astruc (1684-1766), the personal physician to Louis XV and a professor on the medical faculty of the University of Paris. While he still held to the Mosaic authorship of all of the Pentateuch, his volume on the book of Genesis published in 1753 offered the major clue that the names Elohim and Yahweh were the telltale traces that Moses used two sources to compose this material - material that obviously recorded events occurring before his time.

This explanation as to how Moses had access to material far beyond his own lifetime and the reason for the use of the dual names, however, was too facile; it failed to note that the variation in the employment of these two divine names in the book of Genesis was subject to certain rules that could be described rather precisely. First of all, the name Yahweh, "LORD," (notice the English translation convention of rendering this name in large and small capital letters, as opposed to "Lord," which renders another word meaning something like "master") is a proper noun used exclusively of the God of Israel. Elohim, on the other hand, is a generic term for "God" or "gods" that only subsequently became a proper name.

Yahweh is used wherever the Bible stresses God's personal relationship with his people and the ethical aspect of his nature. Elohim, on the other hand, refers to God as the Creator of the whole universe of people and things, and especially of the material world: he was the ruler of nature, the source of all life. This variation of divine names can be seen most dramatically in texts like Psalm 19. In this psalm Elohim is used in the first part, which describes God's work in creation and his relationship to the material world. But in the middle of the psalm the psalmist switches to the topic of the law of the LORD and the relationship the LORD has with those who know him; there the name Yahweh appears.

A further complication occurs because Exodus 6:3 notes that God says, "I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them." The resolution to this apparent contradiction to some 150 uses of the name Yahweh during the patriarchal period is to be found in a technical point of Hebrew grammar, known as beth essentiae, in the phrase "by my name." This phrase meant that while Abraham, Isaac and Jacob heard and used the name Yahweh, it was only in Moses' day that the realization of the character, nature and essence of what that name meant became clear. "By the name" is better translated "in the character [or nature] of Yahweh [was I not known]."

Thus the name Yahwoh is used when the Bible wishes to present the personal character of God and his direct relationship with those human beings who have a special association with him. Contrariwise, Elohim occurs when the Scriptures are referring to God as a transcendent Being who is the author of the material world, yet One who stands above it. Elohim conveys the more philosophically oriented concept that connects deity with the existence of the world and humanity. But for those who seek the more direct, personal and ethically oriented view of God, the term Yahweh was more appropriate.

Accordingly, Genesis 1 correctly used the name Elohim, for God's role as Creator of the whole universe and of all living things and all mortals is what the chapter teaches. The subject narrows immediately in Genesis 2-3, however; there it describes God's very intimate and personal relationship with the first human pair, Adam and Eve. God is depicted as walking and talking with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Therefore Yahweh is appropriately joined to Elohim to indicate that the Elohim of all creation is now the Yahweh who is intimately concerned to maintain a personal relationship with those who will walk and talk with him.

http://www.answering-islam.org/BibleCom/yahweh.html


What is bothersome is that the information about the names is readily available and Wright could have found them if he had looked. He is free to disagree but if he does, he should at least include the information and his reasons.

What is bothersome a little to me, I hope you don't mind my saying, is that you make us work too hard! It would have helped greatly if before throwing down this long passage you had summarized just what Wright does with the name of God. Then we might have had some guidance regarding the contrast you intend us to see. But better yet, just give us a snippet of quotation. I seem to recall some standard taught to us in school about the length of quotations in research papers....


I don't object to the criticism and I understand. My problem is two fold. One, I have found in myself in the past the unfortunate ability to read something and immediately lock in on an inpterpretation. Later, someone else explains their different intreptation and I understand where they are coming from. I am still correct mind you but if I summarize, I fear I risk depriving people of the material I started. I much prefer the base material but I will try to include a summary. Also, remember that I frequently find myself in the minority position with a serious credibility issue so I need to bulster my position.

As for Abraham's call, it isn't an obscure issue but gets to the heart of the title of the book. I would propose that there was no more evolution of Abraham to monotheism than there was for Saul the Christianity. It just happened. God called Abraham and asked if he was willing to abandon his previous life and gods and follow Him. He agreed. Now there was a process of learning about God but it wasn't the same process as one would expect in an evolutionary proceeding.


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Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:38 am
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
stahrwe wrote:
As for Abraham's call, it isn't an obscure issue but gets to the heart of the title of the book. I would propose that there was no more evolution of Abraham to monotheism than there was for Saul the Christianity. It just happened. God called Abraham and asked if he was willing to abandon his previous life and gods and follow Him. He agreed. Now there was a process of learning about God but it wasn't the same process as one would expect in an evolutionary proceeding.

Let me finish reviewing this chapter. I don't recall Wright making any particular point about Abraham's own turn to monotheism being gradual. It makes sense that he would not want to, because he's claiming a much wider time scale than that of a single life (however long, I guess), and he also might not have a strong sense that Abraham was historical. But you've hit the nail right on the head as to how he differs from the view the Bible offers on the surface: the change to monotheism didn't just happen but was a shift occurring over a long time.


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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
DWill wrote:
stahrwe wrote:
As for Abraham's call, it isn't an obscure issue but gets to the heart of the title of the book. I would propose that there was no more evolution of Abraham to monotheism than there was for Saul the Christianity. It just happened. God called Abraham and asked if he was willing to abandon his previous life and gods and follow Him. He agreed. Now there was a process of learning about God but it wasn't the same process as one would expect in an evolutionary proceeding.

Let me finish reviewing this chapter. I don't recall Wright making any particular point about Abraham's own turn to monotheism being gradual. It makes sense that he would not want to, because he's claiming a much wider time scale than that of a single life (however long, I guess), and he also might not have a strong sense that Abraham was historical. But you've hit the nail right on the head as to how he differs from the view the Bible offers on the surface: the change to monotheism didn't just happen but was a shift occurring over a long time.


My point is that so far, Wright has not mentioned Abraham's call. If he fails to then he has ignored a major story in the Bible about the origin of montheism.

I would like to revisit my comment about Yhwh being a small criticism. I was content to lead it as such until Wright himself makes the point about capitalization and uses it to promote his theory. It is problematic that his book fails to use the proper 'case' for letters when he then turns around and uses 'case' as support of his position.

Wright also has a tendency to introduce a controversial topic with a disclaimer that this is a theory which enjoys little support but should be considered; then, the next time it comes up as, "As we have previously seen," as if it is an established fact.


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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
Page 105

The penultimate paragraph, beginning: Us? Who is us


Quote:
sn The plural form of the verb has been the subject of much discussion through the years, and not surprisingly several suggestions have been put forward. Many Christian theologians interpret it as an early hint of plurality within the Godhead, but this view imposes later trinitarian concepts on the ancient text. Some have suggested the plural verb indicates majesty, but the plural of majesty is not used with verbs. C. Westermann (Genesis, 1:145) argues for a plural of “deliberation” here, but his proposed examples of this use (2 Sam 24:14; Isa 6:8) do not actually support his theory. In 2 Sam 24:14 David uses the plural as representative of all Israel, and in Isa 6:8 the Lord speaks on behalf of his heavenly court. In its ancient Israelite context the plural is most naturally understood as referring to God and his heavenly court (see 1 Kgs 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Isa 6:1-8). (The most well-known members of this court are God’s messengers, or angels. In Gen 3:5 the serpent may refer to this group as “gods/divine beings.” See the note on the word “evil” in 3:5.) If this is the case, God invites the heavenly court to participate in the creation of humankind (perhaps in the role of offering praise, see Job 38:7), but he himself is the one who does the actual creative work (v. 27). Of course, this view does assume that the members of the heavenly court possess the divine “image” in some way. Since the image is closely associated with rulership, perhaps they share the divine image in that they, together with God and under his royal authority, are the executive authority over the world.
Netbible.org

Orthodox Judaism - What does Genesis 1:26 say in Hebrew?
Expert: Eli Hadar - 9/11/2007

Question
What does Genesis 1:26 say in Hebrew?
Can you tell me in English, since the Bible from Hebrew to English can not be 100% translated Word for Word.
Thankyou for your time and support.

26 And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.'

I can only assume that you're asking me this question because this is a surefire way for Christians to slam-dunk a concept of trinity down your throat. Well, that would not be a way to do it. I'd like to quote Rabbi Tovia Singer below, and credit him with this answer in its entirety - I am simply repeating what he said in answer to this missionary claim.

This verse appears in missionary literature quite often in spite of the fact that this argument has been answered countless times throughout the centuries. Let’s examine Genesis 1:26, as I have quoted it above.

With limited knowledge of the Jewish scriptures, missionaries advance the above verse in as evidence that there was a plurality in the godhead which was responsible for creation. What other explanation could adequately account for the Bible’s use of the plural pronouns such as “us” and “our” in this verse?

This argument, however, is grievously flawed. In fact, a great number of Trinitarian Christian scholars have long abandoned the notion that Genesis 1:26 implies a plurality of persons in the godhead. Rather, Christian scholars overwhelmingly agree that the plural pronoun in this verse is a reference to God’s ministering angels who were created previously, and the Almighty spoke majestically in the plural, consulting His heavenly court. Let’s read the comments of a number of preeminent Trinitarian Bible scholars on this subject. For example, the evangelical Christian author Gordon J. Wenham, who is no foe of the Trinity and authored a widely respected two-volume commentary on the Book of Genesis, writes on this verse,

Christians have traditionally seen [Genesis 1:26] as adumbrating [foreshadowing] the Trinity. It is now universally admitted that this was not what the plural meant to the original author.

The New International Version is hardly a Bible that can be construed as being friendly to Judaism. Yet, the NIV Study Bible also writes in its commentary on Genesis 1:26,

Us . . . Our . . . Our. God speaks as the Creator-king, announcing His crowning work to the members of His heavenly court. (see 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; I Kings 22:19-23; Job 15:8; Jeremiah 23:18)

Charles Caldwell Ryrie, a highly regarded dispensationalist professor of Biblical Studies at the Philadelphia College of Bible and author of the widely read Bible commentary, The Ryrie Study Bible, writes in his short and to-the-point annotation on Genesis 1:26,

Us . . . Our. Plurals of majesty.

The Liberty Annotated Study Bible, a Bible commentary published by the Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, similarly remarks on this verse,

The plural pronoun “Us” is most likely a majestic plural from the standpoint of Hebrew grammar and syntax.

The 10-volume commentary by Keil and Delitzsch is considered by many to be the most influential exposition on the “Old Testament” in evangelical circles. Yet in its commentary on Genesis 1:26, we find,

The plural “We” was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity; modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis . . . No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis . . . .

The question that immediately comes to mind is: What would compel these evangelical scholars -- all of whom are Trinitarian -- to determinedly conclude that Genesis 1:26 does not suggest the Trinity, but rather a majestic address to the angelic hosts of heaven? Why would the comments of the above conservative Christian writers so perfectly harmonize with the Jewish teaching on this verse?

The answer to this question is simple. If you search the Bible you will find that when the Almighty speaks of “us” or “our,” He is addressing His ministering angels. In fact, only two chapters later, God continues to use the pronoun “us” as He speaks with His angels. At the end of the third chapter of Genesis the Almighty relates to His angels that Adam and his wife have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge and must therefore be prevented from eating from the Tree of Life as well; for if man would gain access to the Tree of Life he will “become like one of us.” The Creator then instructs his angels known as Cherubim to stand at the gate of the Garden of Eden waving a flaming sword so that mankind is prevented from entering the Garden and eating from the Tree of Life. Let’s examine Genesis 3:22-24.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” -- therefore the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

This use of the majestic plural in Genesis 3:22-24 is what is intended by the NIV Study Bible’s annotation on Genesis 1:26 (above). At the end of its comment on this verse, the NIV Study Bible provides a number of Bible sources from the Jewish scriptures to support its position that “God speaks as the Creator-king, announcing His crowning work to the members of His heavenly court.” The verses cited are: Genesis 3:22, 11:7, Isaiah 6:8, I Kings 22:19-23, Job 15:8, and Jeremiah 23:18. These verses convey to the attentive Bible reader that the heavenly abode of the Creator is filled with the ministering angels who attend the Almighty and to whom He repeatedly refers when using the plural pronoun “Us.”

Outsiders often wonder what binding force keeps the Jewish people united in faith. This is not so odd a question when we consider the inner conflict that has followed our people throughout our extraordinary history. Bear in mind that regardless of the turbulent quarrels that fester among us, the oneness of God remains the binding thread which unites the Jewish people in history and witness. The teachings of the Torah were designed to set forever in the national conscience of the Jewish people the idea that God is one alone and therefore the only object of our devotion and worship.

Again, Rabbi Tovia Singer originally compiled these words and I am very grateful to his guidance in this matter.

All the best,
Eli
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Orthodox-Jud ... 26-say.htm



El Shaddai

Page 112 Wright says: “…in the phrase El Shaddai, famously rendered in English as “God Almighty.” As it turns out, “Almighty” is a mistranslation; though the exact meanining of Shaddai remains cloudy, it seems to refer to mountains, not omnipotence…”

Quote:
“tn Heb “Shaddai”; traditionally “the Almighty.” The etymology and meaning of this divine name is uncertain. It may be derived from: (1) שָׁדַד (shadad, “to be strong”), cognate to Arabic sdd, meaning “The Strong One” or “Almighty”; (2) שָׁדָה (shadah, “mountain”), cognate to Akkadian shadu, meaning “The Mountain Dweller” or “God of the Mountains”; (3) שָׁדַד (shadad, “to devastate”) and שַׁד (shad, “destroyer”), Akkadian Shedum, meaning “The Destroyer” or “The Malevolent One”; or (4) שֶׁ (she, “who”) plus דִּי (diy, “sufficient”), meaning “The One Who is Sufficient” or “All-Sufficient One” (HALOT 1420-22 s.v. שַׁדַּי, שַׁדָּי). In terms of use, Shaddai (or El Shaddai) is presented as the sovereign king/judge of the world who grants life/blesses and kills/judges. In Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he blesses/protects and also takes away life/happiness. In light of Naomi’s emphasis on God’s sovereign, malevolent deprivation of her family, one can understand her use of this name for God. For discussion of this divine name, see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69-72.
Netbible.org


I believe that Wright is engaging in a deliberate attempt to confuse the issue. Using words like ‘mistranslation’ and ‘cloudy’ may be technically accurate in a strict use of the words, he then goes on to ignore the 1st meaning which is still the preferred meaning which is – strong/almighty, and instead jumps to the more obscure meaning. Why? Because the preferred meaning doesn’t advance his speculative opine.

Documentary Hypothesis
On the bottom of page 112 Wright introduces the Documentary Hypothesis. I have previously stated that this hypothesis is wrong and submit the following in support and for consideration regarding my position

Quote:


THE 'DOCUMENTARY SOURCE HYPOTHESIS'
Does Anyone Still Believe the 'Documentary Hypothesis'?

A Picture of Julius Wellhausen.
________________________________________
Should Theology, Religious Studies and Comparative Religion Students Take the Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP System) Seriously?

Are the 5 Books of Moses (The Torah), a hotch-potch of largely unconnected writings by later writers?

The Intellectual Arrogance of Julius Wellhausen.
________________________________________
I recently wrote a letter. Upon reviewing my letter before posting it, I noticed that my letter was structured in 5 clear sections. In these sections I covered five different topics so my vocabulary naturally changed as I moved on to differing topics; in other words, my letter varied stylistically as I moved on to a different subject. I was immediately reminded of the 'Documentary Source Hypothesis.' I found myself musing on the ridiculous possibility that some "higher critic" might discover my letter in 1,000 years and decide that those five sections must have been written by five different writers (possibly at five different times) because of the stylistic/vocabulary changes as I changed my topic! Ridiculous you say? Sure it is, but this is exactly what some have done to parts of the Old Testament (attempts have also been made to undermine the New Testament in such a manner but far less successfully).
I want to introduce our readers to a number of links/writings which expose the sadly flawed Graf/Wellhausen Documentary Source Hypothesis.

Just what is this system (often known as the 'JEDP' system)?
The system arose in the 19th century and was the work of certain scholars who accepted the 'history of religions' school of thought. This was the application of evolutionary principles to the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible). These people were very accepting of the principle of evolution and rejected any concept of a God who 'knows the end from the beginning.' They believed that the earliest form of religion was primitive and animistic with early man having no concept of One God (Monotheism). Therefore, they reasoned, the concept of One God found in the Torah was clearly an anachronism, being back-projected by much later writers! Their minds were already made up on this point before they even started their "research"- Of course, these people were not likely to accept much within the Torah in any case since they were mostly quick converts to the (then) fledgling theory of evolution.

These liberal scholars who were committed to Theological Naturalism - ruling out any possibility of a supernatural God, set out to deconstruct the Old Testament and were especially interested in the Torah since it appeared to contradict much of their dogma. I was exposed to some of this system when at University but even our 'dyed in the wool' liberal Old Testament lecturer presented the JEPD system with a mighty 'pinch of salt' - he told us that the system has been regularly revised by later scholars and that, while the basic schema is still accepted, much has changed within the overall approach, and much likely to continue to change. Our lecturer seemed intent on being postmodernist in approach and so he seemed to have a 'You can believe whatever you like' attitude. Not necessarily a helpful approach!

Hermann Gunkel along with others of the "history of religions" school assumed that many of the stories narrated in the final text of Genesis, for example, were taken originally from imaginary stories about pagan gods and were gradually transformed by Hebrew poets into imaginary stories about an imaginary Hebrew God in relation to imaginary patriarchs who were projected as founders of the nation.
So, if we are to believe people like Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918), Hermann Gunkel (1862-1932), and others of their school of thought (in fairness, Gunkel, who was more interested in the Psalms, thought Wellhausen had gone too far in his literary claims about the Pentateuch), the Old Testament writers were utterly deceitful people with a complete disdain for the truth; moreover, we are asked to believe that a succession of writers over a very long period of time remained utterly committed to maintaining this deceitful and lying approach about the origins and history of Israel! But does that not fly in the face of the wonderful moral teaching (including the commandment not to bear false witness), which we find within the Old Testament itself?
Does this theory really 'stack up' ?

Can we really accept the notion that the writers and compilers of the Old Testament were the biggest historical liars of all time? Or should we reconsider the credentials of the Wellhausen/Gunkel gang?

We need to understand that people like Wellhausen, and then Gunkel, completely rejected any concept of a God who might inspire every word of Holy Scripture, immediately making the judgment that this could not possibly be the case, therefore any other explanation of the Old Testament was bound to be preferable.

Okay. So how did the 'JEDP' system work?

Essentially, attempts were made to find different authors who had contributed to the Torah; this led to the breaking up of the 5 books into four sections, J, E, D, and P.
How were the lines drawn? Differences of writing style and vocabulary were looked for (even though all of us change style/vocabulary whenever we change our topic in any written work).

J (from the divine name Yahweh -- in German, Jahweh); it was said to have originated in Judah between 950 and 850 B.C. and pieces of it are scattered in sections from Genesis through Numbers.

E (the Elohistic source, from the prevalence of the word Elohim); it was said to have originated in the northern kingdom of Israel between 850 and 750 BC. It too, is scattered from Genesis through Numbers.

P (the Priestly source, so called because it seems most concerned with aspects of the formal worship in the temple); it was said to come from the exile or shortly thereafter -- sixth to fifth centuries B.C. Mostly made up of the genealogies and priestly ritual described in Genesis through Numbers.

D (the Deuteronomic source, so called because it includes mostly just the book of Deuteronomy); the author or editor of this section was assumed to be responsible for the framework of the historical account that runs from Joshua through 2 Kings. D was regarded as having reached its final form during the reign of Josiah, when the priests "found" the book of the law (2 Kings 22:3-23:25).

But not all agreed with all of the components, some thought 'E' was the oldest part but others thought 'J' the older part. Various redactors (editors) came along and added bits throughout an amazingly long period of time (according to the theory). Some even thought that there were two Elohist writers, but the work was so closely intermeshed with 'J' that attempts to separate the authors were deemed problematic. It apparently did not bother these Bible critics that sometimes violence was done to the natural flow of a passage, where a particular letter 'source' was thought to give way to another.
I could go on and on... But there is really little point; some of the theories became quite extreme and bizarre and it is almost surprising that much of it ever won acceptance!!
But we have to keep reminding ourselves that not one iota of real, hard evidence exists for any of it!! Moreover, indications of real unity within the first 5 books of the Old Testament are actually abundant, but - like the theory of evolution which it was largely based upon - it was the right theory at the right time for a group of godless and materialistic pseudo-intellectual 'scholars' who wanted to set up a wholly materialistic model of religious history, without any reference to the supernatural, and, yes, undoubtedly also wanted to make a name for themselves in the new academic world of 'higher biblical criticism.'

In 1966 Professor Kenneth Kitchen wrote,
' . . . Even the most ardent advocate of the documentary theory must admit that we have as yet no single scrap of external, objective evidence for either the existence or the history of J, E, or any other alleged source-document..' (p. 23, Kitchen, K.A. (1966), Ancient Orient and Old Testament. London: Tyndale).

That was written in 1966, but about 40 years later the situation is even more bleak since it is now obvious that no evidence to support Wellhausen's theory will ever be found.

The documentary hypothesis has a number of problems - some of which, the original documentary theoryists could not have been aware of in the century in which they wrote; Kenneth Collins points one out in his essay, 'The Torah in Modern Scholarship' (find link to the full essay lower on this page),

'The documentary hypothesis was originally based on the supposition that the events in the Torah preceded the invention of writing, or at least its use among the Hebrews. This is because Julius Wellhausen lived in the nineteenth-century, but nineteenth-century notions about ancient literacy have been completely refuted by archaeological evidence. The documentarians have not updated the documentary hypothesis to take this into account, so we still find them assigning very late dates to their hypothetical sources of the Torah.... Archaeology has shown that writing was common during the time in which the events of the Torah were to have taken place.'

My Old Testament lecturer was either ignorant of the much greater knowledge of the ancient world which we now have, or he was being disingenuous when he stated that the theory has been greatly revised, and will continue to be, but still stands. The truth is that the very foundation which the history of religions school was based upon (the concept that the earliest forms of religion were simple, naive and animistic, and that belief in one all-powerful God was a late arrival), has now largely been demolished! We know much more about the religion of the ancients than the devisers of the 'JEDP' system ever did. We now know that the belief in one all-powerful God is very, very old - just as Genesis claims! Many obscure and ancient peoples and tribes have now been able to put their side of the case, and the concept of one all-powerful God as an original belief is to be found everywhere. Some of these tribes have even explained how various 'holy men' within their tribes tried very hard to hold on to Monotheism, as more corrupt strains of religious belief - such as animism - later arose!

Today, in the face of evidence from archaeology, the Dead Sea scrolls, and much more available information about the languages of the ancient world, dependence on the Wellhausen theory is looking increasingly unfeasible and, indeed, inexcusable. We now have thousands of Old Testament texts and fragments to compare and in every single case the format found in our Old Testaments is validated - if the documentary theory were really correct surely some manuscript evidence would have been discovered somewhere to reveal the work of these dishonest men and their literary conspiracy? Is not the fact that conspiracies and plotters are always discovered one of the strongest lessons of human history? Let us remind ourselves once more that the documentary theorists never produced a single shred of real evidence for their literary theory! Happily now at last there is a welcome and growing trend among scholars to view the Pentateuch as a literary unit again.

Despite this, there are still websites around which present the Documentary Theory as though it was the very latest learning, apparently unaware that many of the points which they make have long since been disproven/overturned.

{stahrwe comment: and authors who use it either trough ignorance or expediency to advance their theory. Essentially, one may use it as an excuse to read any interpretation onto a passage.}

The tragedy of all this is that for over a hundred years many Theology and Religious Studies students have been indoctrinated in a system which wholly discredits the claims of the Old Testament to be the inspired Word of God. We have to keep reminding ourselves that Jesus fully backed up the truth and authenticity of Moses and of the 'Law, Prophets and Writings' (the Old Testament), by frequently quoting from it. He based His authority and credentials upon the Old Testament! And yet some who claim to be followers of Jesus have gone along with the practice of breaking the Old Testament up into these (purely imaginary) divisions and sections, even pontificating on whether or not Moses actually existed. There is now no need for such skepticism! How odd that a system can continue to enjoy some kind of existence long after its very foundations have crumbled!!

The following links will take you to several articles outlining the serious inadequacies of the JEDP schema.
Robin A. Brace
2003
(Find my article Bibliography right at the bottom of this page).
THE TORAH IN MODERN SCHOLARSHIP
By Kenneth W. Collins

HISTORICAL CRITICISM OF THE BIBLE - METHODOLOGY OR IDEOLOGY?

THE DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS
By Mark A. McNeil

DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM AND THE OLD TESTAMENT
By Wayne Jackson M.A.

ARE THERE TWO CREATION ACCOUNTS IN GENESIS?
By Wayne Jackson M.A.

ESSAYS ON JEDP

A BRIEF NOTE ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS

DID MOSES WRITE THE PENTATEUCH?
By Don Closson

THE GENUINENESS OF GENESIS (PDF)
By Timothy Lin Ph.D.
(PLEASE NOTE: This is a PDF file which has to be downloaded).
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Albright, William F. The Israelite Conquest of Canaan in the Light of Archaeology, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 1939. Vol. 74..
Archer, Gleason Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Chicago: Moody Press, c1964.
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament. London: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Harrison, R.K. Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing company, 1970.
Free, J. P. Archaeology and Bible History. Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press, 1969.
Kitchen, K. Ancient Orient and Old Testament. London: Tyndale, 1966.
Morris, Henry M. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976
P.J. Wiseman, Ancient Records and the Structure of Genesis: A Case for Literary Unity, Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985.
The concept that all early religion was animistic or naturistic and that belief in Monotheism was a late arrival as a result of 'evolving religious thought' is now even more seriously undermined by Rodney Stark's exhaustive 2007 study of religious development. Stark's 'The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief' (HarperOne, 2007), simply must be consulted by any who want to go deeper with this subject. In this book, Stark uncovers much useful information on the antiquity of Monotheism. He writes,

"Despite decades of faulty reports that early religions were crude muddles of superstition, it turns out that the primitive humans had surprisingly sophisticated notions about God and creation."



http://www.ukapologetics.net/docu.htm


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- G.K. Chesterton


Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:14 am
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
You know, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I'm sort of ADD, And whenever I see a mountain of text like this, I just skip it. There might be a point in there somewhere, but damned if I'm going to go look for it. Life is too short.

Ditto for biblical passages by the way. I never read them. Never. If we were studying the Bible I suppose they might be relevant. But they're not relevant to 99.9% of the stuff discussed on BookTalk and they are not relevant to a discussion of Wright's book. They just clutter things up.

Another thing is, who the hell is Stahrwe quoting here? He seems to be quoting Wright in the beginning. Maybe? But all that text isn't all Wright is it? Never mind. I suddenly don't care.


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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
geo wrote:
You know, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I'm sort of ADD, And whenever I see a mountain of text like this, I just skip it. There might be a point in there somewhere, but damned if I'm going to go look for it. Life is too short.

Ditto for biblical passages by the way. I never read them. Never. If we were studying the Bible I suppose they might be relevant. But they're not relevant to 99.9% of the stuff discussed on BookTalk and they are not relevant to a discussion of Wright's book. They just clutter things up.

Another thing is, who the hell is Stahrwe quoting here? He seems to be quoting Wright in the beginning. Maybe? But all that text isn't all Wright is it? Never mind. I suddenly don't care.


That's a pretty bogus complaint. You can read a 400+ page book but a few paragraphs are too daunting? Perhaps it would be easier if I split them up. Each of the rebuttals includes either a url or a tag at the bottom showing the source. In summary, if it is too much to digest, Robert Wright takes passages of scripture twists them and applies obscure and wild interpretations to them in order to create his own fabrication of what religion is. His speculation is easily discounted with even the most cursory effort.


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Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:55 am
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
Geo to "Stahrwe"

So you're posting other people's rebuttals that are supposed to tie in with Wright's book in ways you don't explain. You expect me to wade through all that text and try to find a point in it somewhere? You have got to be kidding. Sorry, I'm not going to waste my time reading stuff other people wrote, especially if you can't bother explaining their relevance beyond a vague "I have previously stated that this hypothesis is wrong and here's what all the other apologetics have to say about it." This is beyond lame. And besides, if you're posting other people's words, they start out with zero credibility. Everything you post is a rationalization of your religious beliefs. You pretend to be some kind of authority on the Bible which in my mind makes you an authority of your own delusional fantasies. Congratulations. If you have any kind of legitimate argument against Wright's thesis I haven't heard it.

And while I'm venting, quoting scripture (as you did recently on another thread) is never a rebuttal. It is a posture of moral superiority, insulting, pointless, and intellectually lazy.

I apologize to others on this forum for this rant. I started to post something here this morning and I came across this sea of text from Stahrwe and it just didn't sit right with me. Now we can add this thread to the countless others which have been hijacked by our resident troll, Stahrwe. I would complain to the moderator, but he's the one who invited Stahrwe here!


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Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:02 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 5 - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel
Agreed, laying down long passages is always a poor way to make a point. A source never makes the point, the writer does.

Although I could never claim with a straight face that it's normal in these forums to stay on topic, I'd like for us to do better with this book. The documentary hypothesis itself would be a tangent. Wright mentions it, but that's his way of discussion. It's relevant because it illustrates how firmly established is looking at the Bible as a collection of texts. But Wright is only interested in the part of the hypothesis dealing with different names for God. He calls it an undeniable fact that the Hebrew text uses not just a single designation for God. Is this not true? Stahrwe had addressed the name issue, but again not effectively. I suggest that he try again to explain, mainly in his own words, why Wright is mistaken about the nomenclature being good evidence for the evolution of God.


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Last edited by DWill on Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:55 pm
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