Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

David Bokovoy

Ben Mcguire On Monotheism In The Bible

Recommended Posts

From another board, Ben posted the following summary of his views concerning the development of monotheism within Judaism:

And a note for David -

I do not think that post-exilic Judaism was strictly monotheistic. I believe though that monotheism was becoming the norm. And certainly by the exilic period YHWH had absorbed El for the most part in biblical Israelite religion. Strict monotheism may have existed, but I think it comes much later. We don't see it in, for example, Philo (which is quite late). And the New Testament asserts it non-monotheism more as a response to this kind of language in Judaism - not by rejecting it outright - but by showing how their dualism (Father-Son) is superior to the Father-Logos of Philo-istic type traditions. Nor do the old traditions that Jesus invokes (I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning) or the Wisdom traditions invoked in the New Testament (Kevin knows what I am referring to here) demonstrate this strict monotheism as the norm - these passages would have been completely out of place against a stark monotheism that is sometimes alleged to have existed then.

This was well-stated. I absolutely agree with your perspective.

I too pointed to the change in Deuteronomy 32:8 as evidence that some post-exilic editors/authors were starting to feel uncomfortable with many of the divine council expressions such as â??sons of God.â?

There certainly would not have been a need to â??correctâ? this verse if the authors had felt comfortable with the statement that the sons of God controlled the nations. I rely upon this important point in a forthcoming critique of Michael Heiserâ??s views.

Furthermore, I believe that the same issue applies to the intentional switch from the Aramaic phrase â??sons of godsâ? to â??sons of the judgesâ? in the various Targumim for Genesis 6.

In other words, why bother switching â??godsâ? to â??judgesâ? in the Targumim if the expression â??sons of godâ? was not understood as some sort of religious threat?

Interesting, however, that we still see the council of the gods functioning in late biblical texts such as Daniel and the writings of Deutero-Isaiah.

These are some of the reasons why I suggested that though some post-exilic writers were clearly pushing towards radical monotheism, I do not believe that even these authors were nearly as monotheistic as most contemporary Bible-based religions.

Anyway, thanks for summarizing your views. I completely agree!

Best,

--David

Share this post


Link to post

Can someone tell me Ben's credentials? I want to cite him in a paper I'm working on (arguing the Hebrew national cult was neither the first nor the archetypal monotheistic faith) but I would rather not cite "some guy I know online." Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post

Ben has always been a perennial favorite of mine to read. It's close to illegal for someone to know as much as he does.... :P

I have also found some interesting things on this angle....

The Greek for Most High God is fascinating. It is upyistou (hupsistou â?? here the superlative genitive adjective) which, literally according to the BDAG means in the highest place, in relation to lower geographical areas. And the 2nd meaning is "pertaining to being the highest in status, o upyisto the Most High of God, distinguished from lesser deities and other objects of cultic devotion."

There are, in both geographical area, as well as fundamental reality, lesser deities than the Most High God, of course, otherwise, the words are meaningless if He is the only God. The BDAG also notes â??God Most Highâ?? certainly has a firm place in Israelite experience, and OT usage [LXX] would account for its use in the NT, coupled with semantic opportunity provided by polytheistic formulation.

This is most important as the Friberg Lexicon indicates

Upyisto h on superlative of the adverb uyi; highest, most exalted; (1) spatially highest, loftiest, neuter plural ta uyista as a substantive the highest heights, heaven, the world above (Matthew 21.9); (2) in relation to rank and power most high; substantially, as a name for God o uyistou the Most High (Mark 5.7)

Notice this is concerning, among other things, the highest high. This is not proving that other heights donâ??t exist though. It is the same with God. He is the "Most High God," in relation to the other Gods. The same thing is found with the superlative in the German Bible. We read there Gottes des Hochsten. In German, you add â??ste(n) to the superlative adjective or adverb. The superlative is a relationship between comparisons of things, people, gods, etc. When we say the highest tree, this is not proving others donâ??t exist, only that this is the highest. The same with the idea here of God in the Bible. The very term presupposes there are other Gods (Yahweh as Son of God, for instance). Jesus is a crystal clear example of this as he is called the Son of the Highest.

It is most important therefor when we read in the Louw-Nida Lexicon of the New Testament with Semantic Domains that in some languages the concept of height is unrelated to that of importance so we have to translate "Most High" as something like "Most important," or even "the greatest." This is the "supreme one" and they go to Luke 1:32, which says "he will be called Son of the Most High." The one who is supreme is primarily one of status.

This obviously is in relation to another of lesser status, in this case, Son (Jesus) is a lesser status than the Most High, the Father. Son is the Greek huios, a definite geneological and descendant, posterity, and offspring concept as it relates to mankind. Now it is interesting in this relation that the beni elim, are the "sons of God," in the Old Testament and are noted as einzelne G

Share this post


Link to post
I have absolutely zero credentials in this field.

In all honestly, I always learn from Benâ??s posts. Over the years, I have followed up on scholarly writings Ben has recommended and have altered my perspectives based upon his posts.

Iâ??ve recently sent Ben a copy of a somewhat technical paper that Iâ??m preparing for submission to a non-LDS scholarly periodical in the hopes of obtaining Benâ??s critique.

Donâ??t let him fool you. In my humble opinion, Benâ??s â??credentialsâ? come through with every post.

Share this post


Link to post

I should also add that despite what certain others have suggested regarding his abilities that I always learn from the Backyard Professor and I sincerely hope that both his pod casts and high quality posts will continue.

Share this post


Link to post

When I sit daydreaming, having delusions of grandeur, this is the kind of thread I envision contributing to. Then when the door bangs and I am rudely brought back to reality I realise that I probably don't have the brains or the talent to get a handle on Hebrew and Greek as the chief contributors here do. I can barely figure out what an adjective is in English never mind the future-imperfects and past participles etc of an ancient language. So let me wonder aloud here and perhaps they may respond.

I wonder first of all how it is that they got to learn these exotic languages and then secondly where it is that they get all this information on councils of Gods, targums, pre-exilics El/Yhwh stuff? Anyone care to enlighten someone who looks through a glass so dark you can weld with it?

:P

Share this post


Link to post

I can't help with the languages, but you can read Barker's The Great Angel, and Mark Smith, the Early History of God.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

Share this post


Link to post

Iâ??ve recently sent Ben a copy of a somewhat technical paper that Iâ??m preparing for submission to a non-LDS scholarly periodical in the hopes of obtaining Benâ??s critique.

No! Don't submit it to a Non-LDS scholarly periodical!! That would violate our sacred code of never allowing our ideas to be scrutinized by the outside world!! You could doom us all!!!

Sargon

Share this post


Link to post

When I sit daydreaming, having delusions of grandeur, this is the kind of thread I envision contributing to.

Yesterday I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.

Phaedrus

Share this post


Link to post

Yesterday I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.

:P<_<:unsure:

Kevin:

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll trawl amazon for them.

Share this post


Link to post

>From another board, Ben posted the following summary of his views concerning the development of monotheism within Judaism

I would like to know where this other board is so I can also gain knowledge and understanding.

Many of the boards I frequent are going down for the count, so I'm looking for alternatives.

Share this post


Link to post

Hello Darth Bill,

I would like to know where this other board is so I can also gain knowledge and understanding.

It's from the mormondiscussions site. I believe it's on the "Bokovoy on the Warpath Again" thread.

**Which is not to be mistaken with the "Bokovoy Chronicles" or any other "Bokovoy" related thread.

Share this post


Link to post

A suggestion on the languages, if I might....... not that I am all that much of an expert (probably more in line with being an ex-squirt! :P )

I ordered several Hebrew college courses from the bookstore a few years back and have enjoyed learning from them. I did much the same with German and Greek. Now I m working on my goal of reading the Bible in four languages, Hebrew, Greek, German and English. ( I read every day in these four languages and it's getting rather interesting now!) I am beginning to make decent progress also, thank goodness!

They honestly are easy to find on the internet these days.

Oh, and....... thanks for your kind words David B., but it is from you and Ben who the rest of us learn from.

Best,

Kerry

Share this post


Link to post

Hello Darth Bill,

It's from the mormondiscussions site. I believe it's on the "Bokovoy on the Warpath Again" thread.

**Which is not to be mistaken with the "Bokovoy Chronicles" or any other "Bokovoy" related thread.

You shall know their jealously and conversely your ability by the level and intensity of their scorn. David, keep up the good work.

Share this post


Link to post

It's from the mormondiscussions site.

My curiosity having been somewhat stimulated by this, I surfed on over to this location to have a quick look. What a marvelous place. Seems to me that the main thing happening there is discussing what is happening here. I was reminded of the great and spacious building... I don't know how you handle that place.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...