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David Bokovoy

Psalm 82

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Yesterday evening I attended a presentation given by Professor Peter Machinist at the Harvard Semitic Museum. Iâ??d been looking forward to the lecture for sometime, since I knew that Dr. Machinist would share his views concerning Psalm 82, a pivotal text for interpreting the biblical view of the Divine Council.

Dr. Machinist did not disappoint. Since some on this board share an interest in such things, I thought I would simply provide a brief synopsis of Dr. Machinistâ??s views, as I understood them.

Like most Biblicists, Professor Machinist suggests that later traditions that interpret the elohim in Psalm 82 as a reference to human judges rather than actual deities are simply an attempt to preserve radical monotheism as an apologetic.

The text only makes since if we interepret the elohim in Psalm 82 as a reference to literal gods.

Dr. Machinist suggests that Psalm 82 is an extremely unique text in as much as it presents the only view that he is aware of in which gods appear being transformed into human beings. Many traditions from both the Hellenized and Near Eastern worlds present the opposite view, namely of human beings becoming gods, but Psalm 82 stands out as a unique text by presenting gods becoming human.

For Dr. Machinist, the story of Adam in Genesis 2-3 provides a crucial background for interpreting the biblical Psalm. According to Machinist, Genesis 2-3 presents a view that defines from a biblical perspective the difference between humanity and the gods.

While Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, Adam could partake freely from the Tree of Life for he did not possess knowledge. As an immortal being, once Adam obtained knowledge he wasnâ??t â??likeâ? God, Adam was a god. From a biblical perspective, a God possesses both wisdom and immortality. Adam could possess one or the other, but the moment Adam possessed both qualities, he was a literal god and therefore a threat to the other divine beings.

According to Machinist, this tradition has influenced Psalm 82, which presents the gods of the divine council who possess both knowledge and immortality. Since these deities assigned to govern the foreign nations in a manner that reflects biblical views witnessed in texts such as Deuteronomy 4 and 32 had not adequately performed their duty to judge their respective nations, Israelâ??s deity assumes the responsibility to serve as the single God, governing humanity. As a punishment, Israelâ??s deity strips these gods of their divinity, stating that they will die like Adam.

Psalm 82 plays upon the view that a God is a God because he or she possesses knowledge and immortality. Like the story of Eden, Psalm 82 even plays upon the very word yadaâ?? â??to knowâ? in verse five.

With this perspective, Dr. Machinist views Psalm 82 as an extraordinary text that provides a unique window into the historical move towards radical monotheism in ancient Israel.

Interesting thoughts from a highly learned individual that I believed some on the message board would enjoy reading.

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David,

That's fascinating. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Many of the early Christians also understood Psalm 82 to have reference to the deities becoming human.

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I had no idea about this, guess I have more reason to read my scripts next time around. Thanks David.

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I think I'll stick with the clarification that Jesus gave regarding Psalms 82, in that those that receive the word of God, are called gods.

And he wasn't speaking of the Torah, but the personal minute by minute instruction a seeker receives from the voice of God.

son

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I think I'll stick with the clarification that Jesus gave regarding Psalms 82, in that those that receive the word of God, are called gods.

Which is only half the story. In John 10:34-36, we see Jesus making a divine comparison; that if they were referred to as gods then how can it be blasphemy for Jesus to call himself the son of God? Therefore, Ps 82 is gods (divine) and not gods (human judges).

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Thanks, David.

I hope he intends to publish on the subject.

Me too. In a recent paper I posited that the interpretation as judges was merely an apologetic reconciliation of the scriptures with a strictly literal Greek monotheism. His comments would have been a beefy addition to my footnotes. I had to settle for citing Christ in John 10:34â??35.

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I hope he intends to publish on the subject.

I'm fairly certain he has though I don't know where or when .. I recall the name and the topic from another board discussion and a link to a journal article.

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Which is only half the story. In John 10:34-36, we see Jesus making a divine comparison; that if they were referred to as gods then how can it be blasphemy for Jesus to call himself the son of God? Therefore, Ps 82 is gods (divine) and not gods (human judges).

Yep!

I would add, beware of the false doctrines of those that make God into a business.

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I think I'll stick with the clarification that Jesus gave regarding Psalms 82, in that those that receive the word of God, are called gods.

And he wasn't speaking of the Torah, but the personal minute by minute instruction a seeker receives from the voice of God.

son

So ignore Acts 17:28? And other places which calls us literal children of God? I have often wondered how so many could ignore the plane and precious truth that a dog has puppies who are just little dogs undeveloped to their fullest potential. Yet when we are called children or offstring of God-- they dance around it like they are frightened they may have to do something.

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So ignore Acts 17:28? And other places which calls us literal children of God? I have often wondered how so many could ignore the plane and precious truth that a dog has puppies who are just little dogs undeveloped to their fullest potential. Yet when we are called children or offstring of God-- they dance around it like they are frightened they may have to do something.

I don't disagree with this. Every seed produces after its own kind.....

We are Sons and Daughters of God, therefore Gods in the making, if so the word of God comes to us. If we choose not to hearken to it, then we are children of Satan.... so says the scriptures....

son

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Yesterday evening I attended a presentation given by Professor Peter Machinist at the Harvard Semitic Museum. Iâ??d been looking forward to the lecture for sometime, since I knew that Dr. Machinist would share his views concerning Psalm 82, a pivotal text for interpreting the biblical view of the Divine Council.

Dr. Machinist did not disappoint. Since some on this board share an interest in such things, I thought I would simply provide a brief synopsis of Dr. Machinistâ??s views, as I understood them.

Like most Biblicists, Professor Machinist suggests that later traditions that interpret the elohim in Psalm 82 as a reference to human judges rather than actual deities are simply an attempt to preserve radical monotheism as an apologetic.

The text only makes since if we interepret the elohim in Psalm 82 as a reference to literal gods.

Dr. Machinist suggests that Psalm 82 is an extremely unique text in as much as it presents the only view that he is aware of in which gods appear being transformed into human beings. Many traditions from both the Hellenized and Near Eastern worlds present the opposite view, namely of human beings becoming gods, but Psalm 82 stands out as a unique text by presenting gods becoming human.

For Dr. Machinist, the story of Adam in Genesis 2-3 provides a crucial background for interpreting the biblical Psalm. According to Machinist, Genesis 2-3 presents a view that defines from a biblical perspective the difference between humanity and the gods.

While Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, Adam could partake freely from the Tree of Life for he did not possess knowledge. As an immortal being, once Adam obtained knowledge he wasnâ??t â??likeâ? God, Adam was a god. From a biblical perspective, a God possesses both wisdom and immortality. Adam could possess one or the other, but the moment Adam possessed both qualities, he was a literal god and therefore a threat to the other divine beings.

According to Machinist, this tradition has influenced Psalm 82, which presents the gods of the divine council who possess both knowledge and immortality. Since these deities assigned to govern the foreign nations in a manner that reflects biblical views witnessed in texts such as Deuteronomy 4 and 32 had not adequately performed their duty to judge their respective nations, Israelâ??s deity assumes the responsibility to serve as the single God, governing humanity. As a punishment, Israelâ??s deity strips these gods of their divinity, stating that they will die like Adam.

Psalm 82 plays upon the view that a God is a God because he or she possesses knowledge and immortality. Like the story of Eden, Psalm 82 even plays upon the very word yadaâ?? â??to knowâ? in verse five.

With this perspective, Dr. Machinist views Psalm 82 as an extraordinary text that provides a unique window into the historical move towards radical monotheism in ancient Israel.

Interesting thoughts from a highly learned individual that I believed some on the message board would enjoy reading.

Interesting thoughts. However , I'd like to know just what kind of threat Adam posed to the other divines? I mean , to be a god means to possess all knowledge , power , etc. From the biblical text all Adam gained was the ability to discern good and evil. Though Adam had become as the gods in respect to the knowledge of good and evil , yet were not the gods still more powerful than Adam in all other respects?

Also , I have been thinking of the objections that our non-LDS Christian friends pose to our belief in eternal progression / deification and our creating our own , individual worlds and populating them with our own children. It occurred to me from the Divine Council narrative that though we may become gods we may not have our own worlds , but rather may manage worlds by committee. After all , we have that very thing illustrated with the Divine Council. One would think that each of these gods would have their own worlds to manage and yet we see with the Divine Council that many gods have a part to play with one world , in this instance this earth. So , do some gods get to create and manage their own earths while others are only authorized to hold positions on the Divine Council in collaboration with other gods concerning just one earth? It just brings to my mind more intriguing questions and adds another layer to the "mystery of godliness".

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While Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, Adam could partake freely from the Tree of Life for he did not possess knowledge. As an immortal being, once Adam obtained knowledge he wasn’t “like” God, Adam was a god. From a biblical perspective, a God possesses both wisdom and immortality. Adam could possess one or the other, but the moment Adam possessed both qualities, he was a literal god and therefore a threat to the other divine beings.

Margaret Barker, in her paper BELONGING IN THE TEMPLE mentioned that Adam and Eve, if I understand her correctly, weren't without knowledge, but they had great knowledge and it wasn't until they decided to do things on their own, to act independently of God, not acting in harmony with God, they remained in the Garden.

Satan, because of this, is always described as the deceiver, the one who makes things seem

similar and attractive, when in fact the result is the exact opposite. When the creation is restored

and the Kingdom established, in St John’s vision in the Book of Revelation, ‘the deceiver of the

whole world is thrown down (Revelation 12.9). The deceiver’s first words, in the Garden of

Eden, had been that the forbidden tree would make humans into gods, when in fact it turned

them into mortals. They had already been created as the image of God, entrusted with preserving

the creation, but they were deceived into creating for themselves a world of thorns, thistles, dust

and death. Satan convinced them that his type of freedom was better. The image of God in

which Adam had been created was one expressed in self giving, not in taking, in self limiting,

resting on the Sabbath day when everything was good and there was enough.

The great warning was that the human pair had chosen the wrong tree, and by opting for freedom

in the sense of choosing how they would use their knowledge - the knowledge of good and evil -

they found that other options had been closed to them. The mighty angel with a flaming sword -

in later tradition the angel was identified as Uriel, the archangel who inspired the human mind -

guarded the way to the tree of life whose fruit was true wisdom. Now wisdom was defined as

that way of knowing and having knowledge that kept all things in harmony. In other words,

Wisdom maintained the covenant, and the knowledge that could be used for good or evil

destroyed it. Freedom - the biblical narrative would describe it as disobedience - destroyed the

covenant bonds and the whole system that the covenant maintained. Total individual freedom

and harmony are incompatible, in the biblical world view. Everyone was put at risk by the

freedom of one or two. It is often said that humans were created free, but the biblical story is

does not say this. They were created in the image of God, and lost that status when they broke

the unity and chose instead to be free. The prayer attributed to St Augustine sums up this way of

thinking:

‘O Lord God, the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee,

and the strength of the hearts that serve thee, help us so to know thee that we may truly

love thee, and so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect

freedom’ (literally Whom to serve is to reign like a king’) (Gelasian Sacramentary).

She also added an interesting bit of trivia at the end:

To live a full and happy life, the ancient Hebrew had to be part of the temple and what it

represented. In his culture, the craftsman had received his skills from God; the doctor had been

taught by angels; the mathematicians had been taught by angels. Their wise men had been

entrusted with the vision of God and creation which they had to teach faithfully to their people.

Each person was made in the image of God, with all that that entailed by way of rights and

responsibilities. Each was responsible for maintaining the covenant that gave him security. If

the priests failed in their duty to guard the tradition, and the people acted in ignorance, the whole

system was in danger. When Adam was set in the garden of Eden to till it and to keep it, (Gen.

2.15), the ancient Hebrew would also have recognised that Adam, the human, was set in the

creation as its high priest, to preserve the traditional teaching. The words ‘till and keep’ can also

be understood as ‘lead worship and preserve tradition’.

I also read someplace, can't remember where, that the immortal servants of the gods were gardeners and were immortal themselves and this person mentioned that Adam was a gardeners and therefore was just a little less than a god.

EDIT: I just want to add that it's threads like this that really make my time here in MAD worthwhile and also to realize that I don't know as much as I do and that much of what I know can be looked at from a different angle and it makes a lot more sense.

Thanks a lot David.

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Margaret Barker, in her paper BELONGING IN THE TEMPLE mentioned that Adam and Eve, if I understand her correctly, weren't without knowledge, but they had great knowledge and it wasn't until they decided to do things on their own, to act independently of God, not acting in harmony with God, they remained in the Garden.

She also added an interesting bit of trivia at the end:

I also read someplace, can't remember where, that the immortal servants of the gods were gardeners and were immortal themselves and this person mentioned that Adam was a gardeners and therefore was just a little less than a god.

EDIT: I just want to add that it's threads like this that really make my time here in MAD worthwhile and also to realize that I don't know as much as I do and that much of what I know can be looked at from a different angle and it makes a lot more sense.

Thanks a lot David.

Whoa!!!! Amazing stuff!!! :P

To maintain harmony one must self-sacrifice his/her own freedom? Jesus maintained the covenant (He was the promise) by the self-sacrifice of His freedom in Gethsemane , " Father ,thy will , not mine be done". He gave up His individual freedom in the interest of maintaining the heavenly system!

Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

The same applies to us :

Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

By giving up one's own freedom to do something other than the will of the Father one maintains the order and harmony of the heavenly familial relationship?

Mat 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

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Two questions, David.

1. Am I correct in understanding that the background provided by Genesis 2-3 is that Adam (man) himself was a god who fell from the council and died, much like the fate of those gods mentioned in Psalm 82.

2. Do you think that Jesus' use of this psalm was itself an indication that he, like the gods mentioned in the psalm, had been a god of the council once, and would indeed die like a man?

Thanks for all of your wonderful insights!

--Consiglieri

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Yesterday evening I attended a presentation given by Professor Peter Machinist at the Harvard Semitic Museum. I'd been looking forward to the lecture for sometime, since I knew that Dr. Machinist would share his views concerning Psalm 82, a pivotal text for interpreting the biblical view of the Divine Council.

David, I hope you can answer this, but I have long thought that Psalm 82 was a "borrow" from another culture in much the same way as the the "Hymn to the Aton" was incorporated into the Psalms as well. Given the eclectic nature of the Psalms is it possible that this particular psalm was synthesized from a Mesopotamian text into a Hebrew text?

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Whoa!!!! Amazing stuff!!! :P

To maintain harmony one must self-sacrifice his/her own freedom? Jesus maintained the covenant (He was the promise) by the self-sacrifice of His freedom in Gethsemane , " Father ,thy will , not mine be done". He gave up His individual freedom in the interest of maintaining the heavenly system!

The same applies to us :

By giving up one's own freedom to do something other than the will of the Father one maintains the order and harmony of the heavenly familial relationship?

AMAZING Stuff!

It gives a whole new meaning to the number 42.

Do not parents self-sacrifice to bring a child into the world? At least they should. A child puts a lot of ones own ambitions on hold.

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AMAZING Stuff!

It gives a whole new meaning to the number 42.

Do not parents self-sacrifice to bring a child into the world? At least they should. A child puts a lot of ones own ambitions on hold.

Yes , indeed.

I don't get the reference to the number 42 , though. To me , 42 represents Ronnie Lott. :P

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Yes , indeed.

I don't get the reference to the number 42 , though. To me , 42 represents Ronnie Lott. :P

A reference to "Hitchhikers Guide...", perhaps?

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Thanks for all the fish!

The question is more important....

The ultimate meaning of life, the Universe, and everything.

Isn't God the ultimate self sacrificer.

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A reference to "Hitchhikers Guide...", perhaps?

Oh. Sorry , I'm not familiar with that. Oh well.

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Oh. Sorry , I'm not familiar with that. Oh well.

People, we have an unbeliever in our midst!

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People, we have an unbeliever in our midst!

Let us go forth and find her and lead her into the fold :P

By the way I think I'll go crazy today. Anyone have a bouncing chesterfield I can chase? :crazy:;)

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Yesterday evening I attended a presentation given by Professor Peter Machinist at the Harvard Semitic Museum. Iâ??d been looking forward to the lecture for sometime, since I knew that Dr. Machinist would share his views concerning Psalm 82, a pivotal text for interpreting the biblical view of the Divine Council.

Dr. Machinist did not disappoint. Since some on this board share an interest in such things, I thought I would simply provide a brief synopsis of Dr. Machinistâ??s views, as I understood them.

Like most Biblicists, Professor Machinist suggests that later traditions that interpret the elohim in Psalm 82 as a reference to human judges rather than actual deities are simply an attempt to preserve radical monotheism as an apologetic.

The text only makes since if we interepret the elohim in Psalm 82 as a reference to literal gods.

Dr. Machinist suggests that Psalm 82 is an extremely unique text in as much as it presents the only view that he is aware of in which gods appear being transformed into human beings. Many traditions from both the Hellenized and Near Eastern worlds present the opposite view, namely of human beings becoming gods, but Psalm 82 stands out as a unique text by presenting gods becoming human.

For Dr. Machinist, the story of Adam in Genesis 2-3 provides a crucial background for interpreting the biblical Psalm. According to Machinist, Genesis 2-3 presents a view that defines from a biblical perspective the difference between humanity and the gods.

While Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, Adam could partake freely from the Tree of Life for he did not possess knowledge. As an immortal being, once Adam obtained knowledge he wasnâ??t â??likeâ? God, Adam was a god. From a biblical perspective, a God possesses both wisdom and immortality. Adam could possess one or the other, but the moment Adam possessed both qualities, he was a literal god and therefore a threat to the other divine beings.

According to Machinist, this tradition has influenced Psalm 82, which presents the gods of the divine council who possess both knowledge and immortality. Since these deities assigned to govern the foreign nations in a manner that reflects biblical views witnessed in texts such as Deuteronomy 4 and 32 had not adequately performed their duty to judge their respective nations, Israelâ??s deity assumes the responsibility to serve as the single God, governing humanity. As a punishment, Israelâ??s deity strips these gods of their divinity, stating that they will die like Adam.

Psalm 82 plays upon the view that a God is a God because he or she possesses knowledge and immortality. Like the story of Eden, Psalm 82 even plays upon the very word yadaâ?? â??to knowâ? in verse five.

With this perspective, Dr. Machinist views Psalm 82 as an extraordinary text that provides a unique window into the historical move towards radical monotheism in ancient Israel.

Interesting thoughts from a highly learned individual that I believed some on the message board would enjoy reading.

Well David,

Now you have Machinist, Margaret (Maa) Barker, and Dr. Heiser in your camp. I'll try to find out Bruce Waltke's view on this Psalm.

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