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e=mc2

Does the Shema Prove There are No Other gods?

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Monotheism & The Shema: ?????? ??????? ??????????? ??????? ??????????? ???????? Hear O Israel: the Lord your God the Lord is one: Is This Proof There are No Other gods?

The Shema can be translated in various ways depending on which context one proposes for its meaning. The verb ??????? in the Qal imperative means

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As usual, interesting stuff. I remember a professor telling me once in relationship to Japanese Shinto that it was only through the introduction of other religious beliefs, i.e., Buddhism that Shinto actually acquired a name. Before that it just simply existed without a real name (Shinto as a name is borrowed from the Chinese).

Similarly, the shema reflects a need to defend God where there exists a supposed attack against belief in one God. It also seems to indicate a form of explicit theology where God rules or is at least superior to any other. In comparison Simo Parpola believes that the Assyrians were essentially monotheistic because they had at the center of their religious matrix, the deity Assur. Many (Barbara Porter) have contended that they were, indeed, polytheistic because they worshiped multiple gods. The argument could be conversely that since the Hebrews also worshiped God in one of his forms, e.g., Asherah, then they too were polytheistic. If anything the shema shows a form of early implicit theology Where God is understood as the head of a greater godhead comprising supernatural entities of all levels.

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e=mc2,

I'm in something of a mood at the moment, so feel free to take that into account when I reply: Is there anything that ever could prove that there are no other gods? I mean, the Shema is in Deuteronomy, a book that contains statements asserting explicitly that there is no other god in heaven or on earth besides YHWH (Deut. 4:35, 39; 32:29), but those who wish to argue for plurality of gods don't seem to find these in any way "proof" against their position. Such texts will either be explained away by some exegetical maneuver or, if that proves difficult to pull off, dismissed as reflecting the theological views of those who supposedly worked over the Deuteronomic material. I am not referring necessarily to you here, but there are those who will engage in the most careful exegesis of a biblical text where they feel it will help their cause, but dismiss a biblical text entirely in such ways if the text proves troublesome to their theological construct. We will be assured that only a fundamentalist who subscribes to biblical inerrancy can argue that any one specific text, or even any group of biblical texts, can "prove" anything. You probably know the drill.

I hold to a very conservative, traditional theology, and I don't think that the Shema, in and of itself, directly addresses the question of the ontological status of other "gods." I would, however, argue that the Shema has implications for the ontology of YHWH, the God of Israel. It would seem rather clearly to indicate (however one translates it) that YHWH is a single divine being; that YHWH is one God; or, to put it another way, that YHWH is the name of the one specific God who asserts throughout Deuteronomy that he has an exclusive relationship with Israel in which he is their one and only God.

Now, if you want to ask a really interesting question, you might ask whether the Shema "proves" (or let us just say "means") that YHWH was to be the deity (or, for those who wish to maintain some sort of plurality of gods doctrine, the chief deity) of the people of Israel--and if so, how that squares with the notion that the real chief deity, the preeminent deity, was actually another deity that was supposedly YHWH's father, while YHWH was, supposedly, our elder spirit brother. And keep in mind two points here. (1) The Shema asserts that YHWH is "our Elohim." (2) The Shema includes verse 5 as well as verse 4, and verse 5 would appear to express the highest possible devotion to YHWH.

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Rob asks a great question:

Is there anything that ever could prove that there are no other gods?

Kerry says:

Yes, the ONE sure thing, a revelation from God himself telling us. But it is nowhere to be found. There certainly *is* found information that Yahweh is to be Israel's God. But this does not prove other gods don't exist. Of course they do. Deuteronomy 32 tells us that.

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Rob asks a great question:

Is there anything that ever could prove that there are no other gods?

Kerry says:

Yes, the ONE sure thing, a revelation from God himself telling us. But it is nowhere to be found. There certainly *is* found information that Yahweh is to be Israel's God. But this does not prove other gods don't exist. Of course they do. Deuteronomy 32 tells us that.

In my readings I have found that there really isn't a consensus on belief in this. Some writings show them to be separate entities while others conflate them completely.

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Now, if you want to ask a really interesting question, you might ask whether the Shema "proves" (or let us just say "means") that YHWH was to be the deity (or, for those who wish to maintain some sort of plurality of gods doctrine, the chief deity) of the people of Israel--and if so, how that squares with the notion that the real chief deity, the preeminent deity, was actually another deity that was supposedly YHWH's father, while YHWH was, supposedly, our elder spirit brother. And keep in mind two points here. (1) The Shema asserts that YHWH is "our Elohim." (2) The Shema includes verse 5 as well as verse 4, and verse 5 would appear to express the highest possible devotion to YHWH.

And yet I think as a Trinitarian it is going to be awfully hard for you to win this discussion should it get beyond the Shema.

The whole insistence on "monotheism" seems to be in the eye of the beholder, doesn't it? Ask a Jew or a Muslim if Christians are Monotheists.

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And yet I think as a Trinitarian it is going to be awfully hard for you to win this discussion should it get beyond the Shema.

The whole insistence on "monotheism" seems to be in the eye of the beholder, doesn't it? Ask a Jew or a Muslim if Christians are Monotheists.

Good point! But even the Hebrew of the Shema does NOT preclude a Trinitarian thinking, whatsoever, anymore than it supposes a monotheism. Yes, I am aware that some scholars think so, but I simply disagree. The Hebrew is ambiguous in some respects, but monotheistic? Not even.

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e=mc2,

I'm in something of a mood at the moment, so feel free to take that into account when I reply: Is there anything that ever could prove that there are no other gods?

(1) If the text stated explicitly that other gods did not exist, and not using language that is also used to mean something does exist but is irrelevant; (2) if the text did not repeatedly affirm the existence of other gods; and (3) if the religious tradition did not continue to recognize other gods after the publication of the text, then you could make a good case for no other gods existing. With the Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism, however, none of these hold.

I mean, the Shema is in Deuteronomy, a book that contains statements asserting explicitly that there is no other god in heaven or on earth besides YHWH (Deut. 4:35, 39; 32:29), but those who wish to argue for plurality of gods don't seem to find these in any way "proof" against their position.

Because Deuteronomy (1) also repeatedly affirms the existence of other gods (Deit 4:19; 32:8-9, 43, including lots of explicit divine council imagery: 30:19; 32:1; 33:2; 33:27), and (2) uses the same rhetoric to refer to the nations, which obviously do exist. Conservative interpreters of the Bible are always telling me that I can't recognize context to save my life, and yet the rhetoric context of the "no other" language couldn't be more explicit.

Such texts will either be explained away by some exegetical maneuver or, if that proves difficult to pull off, dismissed as reflecting the theological views of those who supposedly worked over the Deuteronomic material. I am not referring necessarily to you here, but there are those who will engage in the most careful exegesis of a biblical text where they feel it will help their cause, but dismiss a biblical text entirely in such ways if the text proves troublesome to their theological construct.

And yet I've shown time and time again that my "exegetical maneuvers" are the scholarly consensus, which constitutes scholars who are Christian (even Evangelical), Jewish, agnostic, and straight atheists. (A good review of the scholarship is Robert Gnuse, "The Emergence of Monotheism in Ancient Israel: A Survey of Recent Scholarship," Religion 29.4 [1999]: 315-36 -- I can send you a copy if you like) You can also attend my paper at the Early Jewish Monotheisms session of SBL this year: "What is Deity in LXX Deuteronomy?" Additionally, despite asserting that my exegesis is inconsistent and derivative, you haven't been able to show it.

We will be assured that only a fundamentalist who subscribes to biblical inerrancy can argue that any one specific text, or even any group of biblical texts, can "prove" anything. You probably know the drill.

No, single texts can prove a lot of things, but single texts cannot have their meaning changed just so they can be brought into line with a "bigger picture" that must, paradoxically, derive from those very texts. Historical, literary, and rhetorical context have to be considered. The "bigger picture" is the only thing in this discussion that really has no place.

I hold to a very conservative, traditional theology, and I don't think that the Shema, in and of itself, directly addresses the question of the ontological status of other "gods."

I agree with you there, and I think there are plenty of conservatives who feel the same.

I would, however, argue that the Shema has implications for the ontology of YHWH, the God of Israel. It would seem rather clearly to indicate (however one translates it) that YHWH is a single divine being; that YHWH is one God; or, to put it another way, that YHWH is the name of the one specific God who asserts throughout Deuteronomy that he has an exclusive relationship with Israel in which he is their one and only God.

Except for all the verses where other gods are called on to praise him, or to take over rule of nations, or to witness before him.

Now, if you want to ask a really interesting question, you might ask whether the Shema "proves" (or let us just say "means") that YHWH was to be the deity (or, for those who wish to maintain some sort of plurality of gods doctrine, the chief deity) of the people of Israel

Not only does it mean that Yhwh is to be their only God, but only the Yhwh worshipped in the Jerusalem temple is to be their God. Not Yhwh of Teman, not Yhwh of Shomron, or of any other local temples, like Dan, Arad, Bethel, Megiddo, Beer Sheba, Lachish, Tel Halif, Tel Kedesh, Ta

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Good point! But even the Hebrew of the Shema does NOT preclude a Trinitarian thinking, whatsoever, anymore than it supposes a monotheism. Yes, I am aware that some scholars think so, but I simply disagree. The Hebrew is ambiguous in some respects, but monotheistic? Not even.

It appears that it is not only Hebrew which is ambiguous on this point. I looked up the etymology of the English word "only" surmising that clearly it was related to "one". It appears that it is also related to "alone" not surprisingly.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=only

(Emphasis Added)

only

O.E.

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How interesting mfbukowsi!

I was on vacation in Hawaii and heard a news flash- I will deliberately not punctuate it:

"big island woman hurt in car crash"

and I could think of at least 3 meanings, the funniest of which reminded me of an old joke: "Your mama's so fat, she has her own zip code". I guess if she were big enough she could be her own island too.

The meaning of language is found in it's use in the context and generally speaking the context is never totally clear unless it is specifically written to be so, as it is in a legal brief or philosophical discourse where the meaning of terms becomes the subject of the discourse itself.

Prayer is not exactly legal or philosophical discourse so it is not surprising that it would be very ambiguous indeed.

It is a cry from the heart of praise and pleading, the way a child speaks to a parent. Not many children are "born lawyers!" (Thank goodness!)

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Apparently Rob is addressing this very issue in his Trinity Debate Challenge. Somebody brought up the Shema and Rob responded:

You asked what my exegetical basis was for the suggestion that

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mfbukowski,

It's been three months since I last participated in this thread, but I've been asked to get back into it, so here goes.

Christians should define monotheism according to the teachings of the Bible, not on the basis of what Jews or Muslims think monotheism should mean. The doctrine of the Trinity is well grounded in the Bible. On this point, see my outline study on the biblical basis of the doctrine of the Trinity.

And yet I think as a Trinitarian it is going to be awfully hard for you to win this discussion should it get beyond the Shema.

The whole insistence on "monotheism" seems to be in the eye of the beholder, doesn't it? Ask a Jew or a Muslim if Christians are Monotheists.

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Dan,

I had asked:

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Christians should define monotheism according to the teachings of the Bible, not on the basis of what Jews or Muslims think monotheism should mean.

Are you insinuating that only Christians can determine the nature of monotheism or polytheism as present in the OT? Jews have nothing to say about it?

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Ron,

You wrote:

Are you insinuating that only Christians can determine the nature of monotheism or polytheism as present in the OT? Jews have nothing to say about it?

No. I was simply addressing how Christians should define monotheism, not how anyone else should or whether anyone else may. Jews who reject Jesus and the New Testament will not be addressing the issue from the standpoint of what Christians call the whole Bible, so this may make some difference. How Jews define monotheism is their business. How Christians define monotheism is theirs, and my point is that Christians should define monotheism on the basis of the Bible, not based on what Jews (or anyone else, such as Muslims) say monotheism means.

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Ron,

You wrote:

No. I was simply addressing how Christians should define monotheism, not how anyone else should or whether anyone else may. Jews who reject Jesus and the New Testament will not be addressing the issue from the standpoint of what Christians call the whole Bible, so this may make some difference. How Jews define monotheism is their business. How Christians define monotheism is theirs, and my point is that Christians should define monotheism on the basis of the Bible, not based on what Jews (or anyone else, such as Muslims) say monotheism means.

Thank you for your answer. I do have a concern with your conclusion, though. If modern Christians negate the understanding that Jews both modern and ancient have with the Torah et al then they are abrogating a whole segment of an ancient mindset which Jesus most assuredly bought into and subscribed to. I would have to say with some confidence that Jesus would be more comfortable with the zeitgeist developed by the Jews and less by the modern Christians.

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Your first point is really the key issue here. If there are other gods but they are

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Dan,

Hi again. You wrote:

But this imposes an outside idea of how a deity functions. If you let the text determine how a deity functions you have to go by what the text calls a deity. You're not doing that, though. You're just telling the text their deities don't function like your deities.

I disagree. I derive my view of how a deity functions from the text. There are different ways of understanding what a god or deity is functionally, but one obvious way is that a god or deity is an object of worship (religious devotion, which may include prayer, sacrifice, etc.). In Deuteronomy, there is only one god or deity in this functional sense. You could argue that there is only one for Israel, and that would be correct, but I don't see any basis for claiming that anyone outside Israel is authorized or legitimated in worshiping other gods (see below). Of course, the term "gods" could be understood to mean any supernatural being, and I think there are texts in the OT where that usage is evident. Obviously, the OT teaches that there are many supernatural beings. But when the OT asserts that there is one god, which it does often and in many ways, it uses the term more narrowly and functionally to mean one supernatural being that is the proper object of worship.

I had said that I saw no mention of other gods in Deuteronomy 4:19. You replied:

See Deut 17:3.

There seems to be a translation difficulty here, but let's start by getting the context:

"2 If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, 4 and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones." (Deut. 17:2-5 ESV).

I take it you referenced Deuteronomy 17:3 because it refers to the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, which Deuteronomy 4:19 says were worshiped by other nations. Fine, but this text reveals that the worship of the sun, moon, and stars is "evil" and "an abomination" punishable by death. This is consistent with my view of the teaching of Deuteronomy that the other nations were actually doing something wrong in worshiping the sun, moon, and stars. Frankly, I can hardly imagine that you would not agree. Can we not agree that the sun, moon, and stars are not actual supernatural beings assigned as the patron gods of other nations?

As I said, there is a translation difficulty with 17:3. Several translations, like the ESV quoted above, distinguish the sun, moon, and stars from the "other gods" (Jewish Publication Society, NASB, NIV, NLT), but some include them among those gods or identify them as those gods (NKJV, NRSV). I'd be interested in your take on this question. In any case, the text does not affirm the legitimacy of treating the sun, moon, and stars as gods, and even condemns worshiping them in the strongest terms.

You wrote:

What are the sons of God if not other gods? Certainly not humans. Deut 4:19 and 17:3 preclude that silly notion, as does every other occurrence of that very technical term.

How Deuteronomy 4:19 and 17:3, which do not use the expression "sons of God," can preclude anything about the meaning of "sons of God" in another text, is beyond me. And your argument assumes a false dichotomy: either they must be gods or humans. Those are not necessarily exhaustive categories.

I had written:

"I am unfamiliar with any texts in Deuteronomy that state that no other nation exists besides Israel. I searched for any such texts and could find none (literally!). Could you cite references for this (CFR)?"

You replied:

You're not paying attention. That's not at all what I said.

Let's back up. I had written previously:

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I disagree. I derive my view of how a deity functions from the text.

I don't think you do.

There are different ways of understanding what a god or deity is functionally, but one obvious way is that a god or deity is an object of worship (religious devotion, which may include prayer, sacrifice, etc.).

The text does show that deities are the object of worship, but the text nowhere explains or infers that a deity must be the object of worship.

In Deuteronomy, there is only one god or deity in this functional sense.

Here you impose your modern monotheistic ideologies and beg the question. You're trying to argue that a being that not recognized by the text as legitimately worshipped cannot be considered a deity. This presupposes intolerant monotheism, however, since it's based on the premise that the text only recognizes as deities those deities which it worships (that's where you impose your modern monotheistic ideologies). The definition of monolatry, though, is the worship of one deity without denying the existence of other deities not worshipped. You preclude, from the start, that theological outlook, but that's the theology of the Hebrew Bible, and your argument does not work unless you begin with the premise that the Bible is not monolatrous, but intolerantly monotheistic. That's where you beg the question. Your fallacies are digging you deeper and deeper into a hole, Rob.

You could argue that there is only one for Israel, and that would be correct, but I don't see any basis for claiming that anyone outside Israel is authorized or legitimated in worshiping other gods (see below).

But the texts from Deuteronomy we've been discussing explain several times over that the other gods were allotted to the nations, and not to Israel.

Of course, the term "gods" could be understood to mean any supernatural being, and I think there are texts in the OT where that usage is evident. Obviously, the OT teaches that there are many supernatural beings. But when the OT asserts that there is one god, which it does often and in many ways, it uses the term more narrowly and functionally to mean one supernatural being that is the proper object of worship.

All you're saying is that the Hebrew Bible is monolatrous. It recognizes the existence of other deities, but only recognizes the worship of one. You're arguing for my point.

There seems to be a translation difficulty here, but let's start by getting the context:

"2 If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, 4 and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones." (Deut. 17:2-5 ESV).

I take it you referenced Deuteronomy 17:3 because it refers to the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, which Deuteronomy 4:19 says were worshiped by other nations. Fine, but this text reveals that the worship of the sun, moon, and stars is "evil" and "an abomination" punishable by death.

For Israel, not for the nations. You're forgetting the context, Rob. See Deut 29:26 and compare to Deut 4:19. The gods were allotted to the nations for their worship, and not for Israels. Yhwh was not yet a universalized deity. Irrespective, Deut 17:3 shows that the sun, moon, and stars were associated with the gods of the nations. This is confirmed by the historical record, which shows explicitly that Babylon worshipped gods of the sun, the moon, and the stars. That's what Deuteronomy is talking about (except in Deut 32:8, which was written before the exile).

This is consistent with my view of the teaching of Deuteronomy that the other nations were actually doing something wrong in worshiping the sun, moon, and stars. Frankly, I can hardly imagine that you would not agree. Can we not agree that the sun, moon, and stars are not actual supernatural beings assigned as the patron gods of other nations?

Of course, but I'm approaching this from the position of the Hebrew Bible, not from my own theological convictions of what is true and what is not, and the Hebrew Bible very clearly recognizes the sun and moon and host of heaven as deities. Why else would it speak of the host of heaven accompanying Yhwh into battle with forces of evil?

As I said, there is a translation difficulty with 17:3. Several translations, like the ESV quoted above, distinguish the sun, moon, and stars from the "other gods" (Jewish Publication Society, NASB, NIV, NLT), but some include them among those gods or identify them as those gods (NKJV, NRSV). I'd be interested in your take on this question. In any case, the text does not affirm the legitimacy of treating the sun, moon, and stars as gods, and even condemns worshiping them in the strongest terms.

Again, condemns Israel's worship of them. They were not allotted to Israel. They were allotted to the nations. My position is that the connection is very clear. The best translation, in my opinion, would be something along the lines of, "And he goes to serve other gods, whether the sun, or the moon, or all the host of heaven, which I did not command. . . ." Since Deut 4:19 explicitly associates the sun, moon, and host of heaven with the "sons of God" of Deut 32:8, there's no justification for a distinction between "other gods" and the sun, moon, and host of heaven in Deut 17:3.

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How Deuteronomy 4:19 and 17:3, which do not use the expression "sons of God," can preclude anything about the meaning of "sons of God" in another text, is beyond me.

Deut 4:19 is a direct reference to Deut 32:8. Do you disagree?

And your argument assumes a false dichotomy: either they must be gods or humans. Those are not necessarily exhaustive categories.

Please support this notion. As far as I'm aware, the Hebrew Bible presents two classes of beings. Humans beings and divine beings. Can you show a reference to some other class?

I'm paying close attention now, and I still see that what you appeared, at least, to be saying is that the rhetoric of "no other" was "used...to refer to the nations, which obviously do exist."

No, I was referring primarily to the rhetoric of irrelevance and incomparability, but as I showed, the rhetoric of "no other" is appealed to in Isaiah and Zephaniah.

I don't know what that can mean unless it means that Deuteronomy supposedly speaks of "no other nation(s)," presumably in context no other nations besides Israel.

The "no other" rhetoric is used in Isaiah and Zephaniah, and it actually refers to no other nations besides Babylon, Moab, and Nineveh. I said nothing about no other nation besides Israel.

Now, if you want to say that this isn't what you meant, fine, but to say I wasn't paying attention is inaccurate. I was following your argument as closely as I could.

Fair enough. I apologize.

To be more precise, Deuteronomy 32:21 says that if the Israelites go after that which is not a god, he will punish them with that which is not a people, "a foolish nation." Whatever this means precisely, it is a disparaging reference to enemies that don't deserve the designation "people."

Don't deserve that designation? I don't find that statement anywhere in the text, inferred or otherwise. Rather, it's just saying they're irrelevant. Unfortunately, however, for that rhetoric, Assyria was more powerful than Israel. So was Babylon. So was Persia. So was Rome. So was Greece. If you claim the author is saying those peoples don't deserve the designation "people," you cut the legs out from your own argument, since they are, ontologically, people.

I don't see how this helps your position. I agree that there are other supernatural beings that people worshiped as gods, but to apply the analogy here, they didn't deserve that designation.

You see how my view does derive from the text after all?!

No.

I didn't deny that divine council imagery is in the cultural background of the language used in these texts. I said that these texts do not explicitly refer to gods. I don't think the author of Deuteronomy intended for us to understand heaven and earth as the names of deities.

Based on what (besides your presupposition that they don't recognize other deities)? They very clearly recognize the sun, moon, and host of heaven as deities. What does Job 38:7 think of the morning stars? They are shouting for joy at the foundation of the earth and they are put parallel to the sons of God. 1 Kgs 22:19 has all the host of heaven standing around Yhwh seated on his throne.

Deuteronomy states that YHWH is God in both heaven and earth and that there is no other (4:39).

Babylon, Moab, and Nineveh say there is no other besides them. We've been through what this rhetoric means already. We've also been through the hermeneutic circle you're stuck in by prioritizing in your hierarchy of interpretation your putative monotheistic statements over other non-monotheistic statements. Why must Deut 4:29 govern the interpretation of Deut 32:8 instead of the other way around? Because you're imposing your theology upon the Hebrew Bible.

Both heaven and earth belong to YHWH (10:14). Calling on heaven and earth is perfectly understandable as a figurative way of calling on the inhabitants of both heaven and earth to be witnesses.

Quite a coincidence, then, that this figurative language happens to be the exact way that all the other nations surrounding Israel called upon their gods to judge. In light of the fact that the stars and host of heaven are repeatedly represented as deities serving Yhwh, and in light of the fact that the Hebrew Bible is replete with divine council imagery associated with the literary conventions of those surrounding nations, I cannot see how one can possibly assert that your figurative reading (that has no support anywhere in the Hebrew Bible) is the best reading.

The figurative language may derive from divine council imagery, but this doesn't mean Deuteronomy is teaching that heaven and earth are gods.

Every shred of evidence from the text points in that direction. All you can do is hold up a small handful of verses that you think preclude monolatry (even though you argue for it elsewhere) and ignore the fact that they can be rhetorically reconciled with my position with the greatest of ease, and in a manner that is consistent with numerous other Northwest Semitic literary conventions. You also have to ignore the fact that your position has no support in the text, and must draw upon modern dogmas.

Nor do I think you would agree with such a conclusion.

Again, I'm not worried about how it squares with my personal convictions. I'm worried about how it squares with what the Israelites believed.

The rest of your post goes over old ground, and I'm satisfied that the approach I've described here addresses those points as well.

I'm not.

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Dan,

I started working on a response, but my father-in-law passed away last night, and I'm getting ready to drive my family 2000 miles to attend his memorial service and funeral. It is doubtful I will be able to reply for the next couple of weeks.

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Dan,

I started working on a response, but my father-in-law passed away last night, and I'm getting ready to drive my family 2000 miles to attend his memorial service and funeral. It is doubtful I will be able to reply for the next couple of weeks.

I'm sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Take whatever time you need.

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