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The Revelation at Mount Sinai (TORAH)


Thorkyll

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Given the claim that the Jews did not become monotheistic until during or after the Babylonian Exile,

would anyone care to elaborate what theology was taught to Israel by God at Mount Sinai?

It did happen, so let's not even bother arguing about it. God commanded the Jews,

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is One: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,

and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be

in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou

sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou

risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between

thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

What, if not the Shema prayer (Adonai Echad), was originally written on the mezuzot and the tefillin which God commanded the

nation of Israel to make for themselves?

Edit: the main question of this post is this ~

What theology did Israel receive from God at Mount Sinai?

Kind Regards,

Thorkyll

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Given the claim that the Jews did not become monotheistic until during or after the Babylonian Exile,

would anyone care to elaborate what theology was taught to Israel by God at Mount Sinai?

It did happen, so let's not even bother arguing about it.

So you're wanting people to defend a specific viewpoint, but you're demanding they do so within a framework that rejects that viewpoint? That's ludicrous.

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So you're wanting people to defend a specific viewpoint, but you're demanding they do so within a framework that rejects that viewpoint? That's ludicrous.

No, I'm wanting Mormons to defend a specific viewpoint; and I was under the

assumption that Mormons operated within that framework --- namely, that the

Revelation at Mount Sinai did indeed take place. Was that a ludicrous assumption?

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No, I'm wanting Mormons to defend a specific viewpoint; and I was under the

assumption that Mormons operated within that framework --- namely, that the

Revelation at Mount Sinai did indeed take place. Was that a ludicrous assumption?

It does not necessarily follow that all that is in Deuteronomy as presently constituted has anything to do with the original Sinaitic revelation.

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The Shema does not affirm monotheism, but the preeminence of Yahweh. Check out, for example, the Jewish Study Bible at Deu. 6:4, which accurately translates as "Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone."

"the first, older translation [Yahweh is one] which makes a statement about the unity and indivisibility of God, does not do full justice to this text.... The verse makes not a quantitative argument (about the number of deities), but a qualitative one, about the nature of the relationship between God and Israel. Almost certainly, the original force of the verse... was to demand that Israel show exclusive loyalty to our God, YHWH- but not thereby to deny the existence of other Gods!" Indeed,it continues- "what it might mean to say that God is 'one' is not the same as affirming there is only one God." My bolding.

The monotheistic interpretation is a re-interpretation.

A larger-scale argument that this is the true meaning of 6:4 is that Deuteronomy is structured like a political treaty. A king's subjects were required to swear loyalty and "love" [i.e. obediance] to the king, but this obviously does not negate the existence of other kings!

For example, here's the Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon, which commands the vassals to "love [him] as yourselves". Sounds an awful lot like Deu 6:5, the second half of the shema, "you must love YHWH as yourselves."

YHWH is the king, and he alone is soveriegn, but that doesn't negate the existence of other deities in the Israelite mind.

(This also shows that much of Deuteronomy was at least edited, and perhaps written, late, certainly not contemporary with Moses.)

Edit: Oh wait, those are JEWISH scholars in the JEWISH Study Bible. Can't trust THEIR scholarship.../sarcasm

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Exactly. Context is important. Such as when the Greek (Septuagint, or LXX) version of Deuteronomy (which may be the oldest we have, older than a majority of the Hebrew manuscripts we have found), presents The Most High God (El) dividing up the nations, and granting each of his sons a nation to have responsibility over.

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It does not necessarily follow that all that is in Deuteronomy as presently constituted has anything to do with the original Sinaitic revelation.

You do realize that the revelation at Sinai was national and

that its contents were passed down not only as a nation but

individually within each family unit? We're not talking about

a text here, we're talking about an oral covenant with Israel.

What was originally written on the mezuzot and the tefillin?

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The Shema does not affirm monotheism, but the preeminence of Yahweh. Check out, for example, the Jewish Study Bible at Deu. 6:4, which accurately translates as "Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone."

That's nonsense. The text says: shema yisrael adonai eloheinu adonai echad (God is one).

"the first, older translation [Yahweh is one] which makes a statement about the unity and indivisibility of God, does not do full justice to this text.... The verse makes not a quantitative argument (about the number of deities), but a qualitative one, about the nature of the relationship between God and Israel. Almost certainly, the original force of the verse... was to demand that Israel show exclusive loyalty to our God, YHWH- but not thereby to deny the existence of other Gods!" Indeed,it continues- "what it might mean to say that God is 'one' is not the same as affirming there is only one God." My bolding.

The monotheistic interpretation is a re-interpretation.

A larger-scale argument that this is the true meaning of 6:4 is that Deuteronomy is structured like a political treaty. A king's subjects were required to swear loyalty and "love" [i.e. obediance] to the king, but this obviously does not negate the existence of other kings!

For example, here's the Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon, which commands the vassals to "love [him] as yourselves". Sounds an awful lot like Deu 6:5, the second half of the shema, "you must love YHWH as yourselves."

YHWH is the king, and he alone is soveriegn, but that doesn't negate the existence of other deities in the Israelite mind.

(This also shows that much of Deuteronomy was at least edited, and perhaps written, late, certainly not contemporary with Moses.)

This is an interesting story, but where's the EVIDENCE? All I see are claims.

Edit: Oh wait, those are JEWISH scholars in the JEWISH Study Bible. Can't trust THEIR scholarship.../sarcasm

I've no idea what this diatribe is about. Care to actually answer the question of this thread:

What theology did Israel receive from God at Mount Sinai?

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Exactly. Context is important. Such as when the Greek (Septuagint, or LXX) version of Deuteronomy (which may be the oldest we have, older than a majority of the Hebrew manuscripts we have found), presents The Most High God (El) dividing up the nations, and granting each of his sons a nation to have responsibility over.

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That's nonsense. The text says: shema yisrael adonai eloheinu adonai echad (God is one).

No, it says "Yahweh is one." ???? is not a generic term for "god," it's just a personal name. The statement makes absolutely no judgment concerning the existence of other gods. If I say "Steve is one" I'm not denying the existence of other Steve's. The statement has nothing to do with anything outside of Yahweh's person.

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...

What theology did Israel receive from God at Mount Sinai?

...

Simple enough -- YHWH was the predominate God, The Almighty

who covenanted with the children of Israel. All other "gods"

were lifeless idols or evil spirits -- or, possibly, in the

minds of some people, "angels."

But where was the Mountain of God located?

If I wish to stand upon Horeb today, where should I go?

A few years back I flew over southern Sinai in a 747 -- and a

mountain was pointed out to the passengers. I doubt very, very

much that it was the Mountain of God spoken of in the Torah.

UD

.

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What does the so-called septuagint have to do with anything?

Wait wait... the "so-called septuagint"? Are you suggesting that it is not actually the Septuagint, or that it is mislabled, or a sarcastic term? Is Septuagint a pejorative term for you?

That's nonsense.

Well, that nonsense comes from Jewish scholars. I'll take their understanding of Hebrew, history, and theology (and mine) over yours ;)

Put up some arguments, instead of labels. Where's your evidence that "one" MUST mean monotheism? I don't see any, just claims :P

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That's nonsense. The text says: shema yisrael adonai eloheinu adonai echad (God is one).

From a letter I wrote to a local pastor:

Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema, makes the grand statement, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." Both modern Jews and Christians alike view this as an unmistakable declaration that there is only one God in existence, therefore paving the way for such radically monotheistic, trinitarian, or modalist precepts. However, this is once again misunderstood. The Hebrew simply reads YHVH eloheinu YHVH echad or "Yahweh our God Yahweh one." The NRSV translates it as "The Lord is our God, the Lord alone." (emphasis mine) This demonstrates that Yahweh was seen as unique to Israel (which is made evident by the alternate translation "The Lord is our God, the Lord is unique") and that He alone was to be the center of their worship. The context involves a covenant loyalty and fidelity to Yahweh and vice versa as demonstrated in vs. 5. It is not a declaration of ontological monotheism. Echad, the Hebrew translated as "one," can be used in a numerical sense, but also represents a compound unity (IE when Adam and Eve are described as "one flesh" in Genesis). This is applicable to Yahweh due to His integrity and moral unity with Israel. "Two words are made use of in the Old Testament scriptures for
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No, it says "Yahweh is one." ???? is not a generic term for "god," it's just a personal name. The statement makes absolutely no judgment concerning the existence of other gods. If I say "Steve is one" I'm not denying the existence of other Steve's. The statement has nothing to do with anything outside of Yahweh's person.

I know it says YHWH. I wrote "God" because it is talking about God, afterall.

You're right, but what if only five minutes earlier you had said "there are no

other Steve's beside me"?

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I know it says YHWH. I wrote "God" because it is talking about God, afterall.

But those statements have distinct meanings.

You're right, but what if only five minutes earlier you had said "there are no other Steve's beside me"?

I would see what he meant. You mean to insist Deuteronomy and Deutero-Isaiah deny the existence of other gods, but they manifestly do not. They are saying the other gods are irrelevant. Deutero-Isaiah also has Babylon and Nineveh claim they are the only cities, and there are no others. We know this rhetoric means they're just the only ones that matter. Deuteronomy also states the other nations and other gods are "as nothing before him." "As nothing" is quite distinct from "nothing." You have to understand the rhetoric, not just automatically accept as literal whatever fits into your ideology.

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Wait wait... the "so-called septuagint"? Are you suggesting that it is not actually the Septuagint, or that it is mislabled, or a sarcastic term? Is Septuagint a pejorative term for you?

I said "so-called" because it's not the septuagint. It's not the translation which Ptolemy II forced some Jewish scholars to write. Those translators made specific changes to the text which simply don't appear in the septuagint we have today, which means it's a forgery.

Well, that nonsense comes from Jewish scholars. I'll take their understanding of Hebrew, history, and theology (and mine) over yours ;)

Put up some arguments, instead of labels. Where's your evidence that "one" MUST mean monotheism? I don't see any, just claims :P

The author being a scholar and a Jewish hardly adds any weight to his argument.

The Jewish Study Bible is not just written by Jews, and those Jews that did write it

are part of a particular school of thought. They don't represent Judaism, that's for sure.

Put up some arguments? All I've done is ask a question. The last time I

checked, "God is One" and "beside Whom there is no other" are a good

indication that the author was a monotheist.

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I would see what he meant. You mean to insist Deuteronomy and Deutero-Isaiah deny the existence of other gods, but they manifestly do not. They are saying the other gods are irrelevant. Deutero-Isaiah also has Babylon and Nineveh claim they are the only cities, and there are no others. We know this rhetoric means they're just the only ones that matter. Deuteronomy also states the other nations and other gods are "as nothing before him." "As nothing" is quite distinct from "nothing." You have to understand the rhetoric, not just automatically accept as literal whatever fits into your ideology.

To second this:

"These phrases express the incomparability of Yahweh among the other elohim
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But those statements have distinct meanings.

I would see what he meant. You mean to insist Deuteronomy and Deutero-Isaiah deny the existence of other gods, but they manifestly do not. They are saying the other gods are irrelevant. Deutero-Isaiah also has Babylon and Nineveh claim they are the only cities, and there are no others. We know this rhetoric means they're just the only ones that matter. Deuteronomy also states the other nations and other gods are "as nothing before him." "As nothing" is quite distinct from "nothing." You have to understand the rhetoric, not just automatically accept as literal whatever fits into your ideology.

"There is none besides me" sounds to me like a theological statement by Babylon's patron goddess. Anyway, in a Jungian sense, the other gods do exist; but I just don't see a reason to take them as being entities that actually exist, as opposed to abstract ideas. For example, I know perfectly well that the devil doesn't exist; but he does exist to the extent that I would say "he is nothing next to God". I'm basically comparing God with the devil, which to some extent assumes his existence for the sake of argument. Would that statement be an acknowledgement of his actual existence, though? I don't think so.

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"There is none besides me" sounds to me like a theological statement by Babylon's patron goddess.

And that would be an indefensible and absolutely ridiculous reading of the text. The chapter is metaphorically referring to Babylon as a harlot that is boasting that she is the only harlot. She uses almost identical wording to the phrases to which you earlier referred. The sense is not that she is the only city on earth (or the only prostitute on earth), but that for her people (Babylonians) she is all that matters. Since the same author says the same about Yahweh vis-a-vis Israel, the sense is clear.

Anyway, in a Jungian sense, the other gods do exist; but I just don't see a reason to take them as being entities that actually exist, as opposed to abstract ideas.

The author of Deuteronomy disagrees with you. See Deut 4:19 and then 32:8-9, where it is stated quite unequivocally that God is responsible for setting up the other gods over the nations for their worship. These are not non-entities. Psalm 82 describes their negliect and Yahweh's resultant accession to rule over the entire earth.

For example, I know perfectly well that the devil doesn't exist; but he does exist to the extent that I would say "he is nothing next to God". I'm basically comparing God with the devil, which to some extent assumes his existence for the sake of argument. Would that statement be an acknowledgement of his actual existence, though? I don't think so.

But only because you've already clarified. If the rhetoric is all that's there, and you explicitly state numerous times that other gods do exist, then there's absolutely no reason to conclude the other gods do not exist.

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The revelation at Sinai is not called Torah, it is called MATAN TORAH.

The theology recieved was political in nature, echoing vassalship treaties and pledges of fealty to earthly rulers.

It does not require you to believe that there is only one god (much of the rhetoric in the Bible becomes somewhat pointless if one does) but that you will worship and serve but one god.

Much the same as what Paul said about gods and lords many.

I'm from Israel and know many religious Jews who have no problem with that concept, their attitude is rather one of I don't really care if there are any other Gods, I worship the Lord.

Jewish legends and folk traditions are full of echoes of there having been more than one God.

Anyway, shema Israel is my favourite anti-trinitarian scripture, because no matter how you look at it, Jehovah is one Jehovah.

The LXX is what we have. Ptolemy did not force any Jews to translate for him, this is merely a pretty legend. It seems rather that the LXX was translated in behalf of the Alexandrine Jewish community for their own use.

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