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Penumbra

Yahweh = Canaanite War God/Cult?

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Posted (edited)

Knowing that a lot of you guys are very good with history, I was hoping someone could confirm/disprove this theory I came across.

Rough Summary:

It states that Yahweh was a sort of war god in Canaanite polytheism alongside other gods, such as Asherah & Baal. A cult arose that worshiped him above all others, but they only gained power during conflict. They were a form of monolatrism, meaning that they acknowledged other gods, but only allowed for worship of one (Yahweh). Over the centuries, this became monotheism and the modern big three religions... at least, that's what I got from it. I only watched it yesterday, so my understanding is rough.

These videos describe it better than I: (I realize they could be biased due to the atheism of the videos creator, but it made me curious. He lists his sources and a few corrections in the video description.)

Edit: I should mention these videos are a part of a series on a mans deconversion from Christianity to atheism, so some of the things mentioned will be unrelated to the above theory.

1:

2:

Edited by Penumbra

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Not quite, Yahwe was a weather god , see Kittel in The New Schaff, Vol. XII, p. 472, of the proto-Bedouin tribes of the Sinai.

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I'd have to agree with questionmark but with the caveat that the precise origins of Yahweh do not seem clear. In my own research I've seen him described originally as a sky or weather god in Levantine (Canaanite) cults, but I've also seen researchers propose that through time Yahweh became an amalgamation of several Levantine and Mesopotamian deities. This would not be unusual: Near Eastern deities often developed this way. However, I have never seen Yahweh described as a war god.

The Hebrews developed into a kingdom only because of the collapse of the main regional powers at the end of the Bronze Age (e.g., Egypt, Hatti, Babylon). By all appearances the Hebrews arose as a disaffected people leaving their Canaanite kin on the Levantine coast and moving inland to occupy the highlands of Judah. There, they built a unique culture for themselves, but it was a very long process of cultural transformation and evolution. In other words there's no evidence for people coming in from without and conquering all of the Canaanites who were living in the Levant. Warfare certainly occurred between the Hebrews and others in their immediate area, but it's quite unlikely ever to have been anything epic. The Kingdom of Judah was never the power-sweeping hegemon as the Old Testament tends to portray. Israel Finkelstein has an interesting and plausible theory, in fact, that the historical David was probably not much more than a powerful regional warlord who managed to build something better for himself.

In any case it's true that Judaism did not begin as a form of monotheism. In fact I would argue that the religion was first a henotheism, where one god is preferred but the worship of other gods is acknowledged as equally valid. By all accounts this is what was happening in the Early Iron Age in Judah, when the Hebrews were a nascent kingdom. William Dever (2005) presents the convincing case that the original Old Testament, when first written down in its earliest form, was a kind of "book religion" designed by the ruling elite of Jerusalem to codify, develop, and maintain their power base. To be sure, based on the material culture and the sum total of archaeological evidence from this early period, the average farmer living out in the sticks was venerating Yahweh but other deities, too. For example, it's likely that originally in the Hebrew culture Yahweh had a consort, the Canaanite goddess Asherah. Some early Hebraic vessels bear inscriptions stating "Yahweh and his Asherah."

Monolatrism is how the religion would soon develop, but in all likelihood Judaism did not become true monotheism until the post-exilic period.

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I'd have to agree with questionmark but with the caveat that the precise origins of Yahweh do not seem clear. In my own research I've seen him described originally as a sky or weather god in Levantine (Canaanite) cults, but I've also seen researchers propose that through time Yahweh became an amalgamation of several Levantine and Mesopotamian deities. This would not be unusual: Near Eastern deities often developed this way. However, I have never seen Yahweh described as a war god.

It would be quite interesting to be able to trace Yahweh's career from a low level deity to the boss of most religions that exist in the world today....:devil:

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It would be quite interesting to be able to trace Yahweh's career from a low level deity to the boss of most religions that exist in the world today....:devil:

All the right connections for upward mobility?

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I'd have to agree with questionmark but with the caveat that the precise origins of Yahweh do not seem clear. In my own research I've seen him described originally as a sky or weather god in Levantine (Canaanite) cults, but I've also seen researchers propose that through time Yahweh became an amalgamation of several Levantine and Mesopotamian deities. This would not be unusual: Near Eastern deities often developed this way. However, I have never seen Yahweh described as a war god.

The Hebrews developed into a kingdom only because of the collapse of the main regional powers at the end of the Bronze Age (e.g., Egypt, Hatti, Babylon). By all appearances the Hebrews arose as a disaffected people leaving their Canaanite kin on the Levantine coast and moving inland to occupy the highlands of Judah. There, they built a unique culture for themselves, but it was a very long process of cultural transformation and evolution. In other words there's no evidence for people coming in from without and conquering all of the Canaanites who were living in the Levant. Warfare certainly occurred between the Hebrews and others in their immediate area, but it's quite unlikely ever to have been anything epic. The Kingdom of Judah was never the power-sweeping hegemon as the Old Testament tends to portray. Israel Finkelstein has an interesting and plausible theory, in fact, that the historical David was probably not much more than a powerful regional warlord who managed to build something better for himself.

In any case it's true that Judaism did not begin as a form of monotheism. In fact I would argue that the religion was first a henotheism, where one god is preferred but the worship of other gods is acknowledged as equally valid. By all accounts this is what was happening in the Early Iron Age in Judah, when the Hebrews were a nascent kingdom. William Dever (2005) presents the convincing case that the original Old Testament, when first written down in its earliest form, was a kind of "book religion" designed by the ruling elite of Jerusalem to codify, develop, and maintain their power base. To be sure, based on the material culture and the sum total of archaeological evidence from this early period, the average farmer living out in the sticks was venerating Yahweh but other deities, too. For example, it's likely that originally in the Hebrew culture Yahweh had a consort, the Canaanite goddess Asherah. Some early Hebraic vessels bear inscriptions stating "Yahweh and his Asherah."

Monolatrism is how the religion would soon develop, but in all likelihood Judaism did not become true monotheism until the post-exilic period.

From what I've heard and read this is about what I think is true also. I've a devout Christian, but I follow the Message of Jesus, not the Laws of the Old Testiment. The message is more important then the source.

I've never heard of Yahweh described as a War God either. Middle Eastern War God usually carried weapons and Yahweh never carried a weapon that I know of. If we was described, as in the Adam and Eve story, he only wears a robe, if anything.

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Posted (edited)

The name 'Yahweh' is not the actual name of the deity in question. 'Yahweh' is simply the anglicisation of the tetragrammaton YHVH (the Hebrew 'Vod', the third symbol, was Romanised to a 'W'). The tetragrammaton was a representation of the name of the Hebrew deity, but the actual name was not allowed to be uttered (or written).

As for the attributes assigned to that deity, here is a useful paper relating the relationships between Yahweh and various (many) preceding gods and goddesses.

Edited by Leonardo

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Posted (edited)

There are numerous theories.....

Leo is right about the pronunciation of the name, I have heard it sounds more like Yahoo.....or that it is unknowable.

That he comes as an amalgamation of gods familiar to the Israelites is likely, also is the theory that the Isrealites only became monotheistic after their exile in Babylon was ended by the Messiah Cyrus the Great, Achaemenid King of Kings.....who's Zoroastrian faith influenced the Jews and set the melting-pot that would become "God" a'bublin.

you might find these interesting.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGXemCRNNH4

and this one....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aYaV72MmWo&feature=related

and this too....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ9cvYB7Tes&feature=related

Edited by The Gremlin

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While she dumbs things down for TV, misses out a fair bit, and is not as 'original' in her thinking as she seems to present; I have yet to see her conclusions brushed aside adequately.

this is the vid from the above post....couldnt post them all at once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ9cvYB7Tes&feature=related

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The answers may lie in the Ugarit pantheon and Baal cycle with Canaanites finding themselves enslaved in Egypt and integrating elements of Egyptian mystery religion.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=in1lCQ0yF40C&pg=PA257&lpg=PA257&dq=baal+cycle%2Byamm%2Byahweh&source=bl&ots=Axy8R3jw3j&sig=1jv4qS2JuVFzTcwjhxCa0yROGjo&hl=en#

Alternatively it could be simply as follows:

It has most often been proposed that the name YHWH is a verb form derived from the Biblical Hebrew

triconsonantal root היה (h-y-h) "to be", which has הוה (h-w-h) as a variant form, with a third person masculine yprefix.[

30] This would connect it to the passage in verse Exodus 3:14, where God gives his name as הֶיְהֶא רֶׁשֲא הֶיְהֶא

(Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh), translated most basically as "I am that I am" (or "I will be that which I now am"). הוהי with

the vocalization "Yahweh" could theoretically be a hif'il verb inflection of root HWH, with a meaning something like

"he who causes to exist" or "who gives life" (the root idea of the word perhaps being "to breathe", and hence, "to

live").[31] As a qal (basic stem) verb inflection, it could mean "he who is, who exists".[30]

http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/yhwh-wikipedia.pdf

Yahweh needn't be a war god but I do get a sense of Henoism. Yahweh is often described as jealous and wrathful and from the Ugarit information you get the impression there were a lot of cults in competition. There is also an argument that there was a Greater and Lesser Yahweh but truly we don't know and I find it of most value to respect the mystery and wonder and accept that whatever the truth is it is well beyond ordinary thining probably based on mathematic and metaphysics. Best to relate it to a Monism as I see it.

Edited by SlimJim22

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The answers may lie in the Ugarit pantheon and Baal cycle with Canaanites finding themselves enslaved in Egypt and integrating elements of Egyptian mystery religion.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=in1lCQ0yF40C&pg=PA257&lpg=PA257&dq=baal+cycle%2Byamm%2Byahweh&source=bl&ots=Axy8R3jw3j&sig=1jv4qS2JuVFzTcwjhxCa0yROGjo&hl=en#

Alternatively it could be simply as follows:

http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/yhwh-wikipedia.pdf

Yahweh needn't be a war god but I do get a sense of Henoism. Yahweh is often described as jealous and wrathful and from the Ugarit information you get the impression there were a lot of cults in competition. There is also an argument that there was a Greater and Lesser Yahweh but truly we don't know and I find it of most value to respect the mystery and wonder and accept that whatever the truth is it is well beyond ordinary thining probably based on mathematic and metaphysics. Best to relate it to a Monism as I see it.

In the Book he does lead his people and make war on all other gods and cities that are in his way....so I can see where the assertion comes from. There were lots of different cults in the Cannanite religions, and even in the Hebrew group...even today there are splitters!

JHVH (El)became more than a patron god after exile to Babylon, he became HE....the one and only....

The writing of the Book had to reflect His oneness and supremacy....this meant re-writing of cultural history and metaphysical tradition...what He didn't absorb and claim for Himself He destroyed and conquered.

Even as a State patron monotheist deity his priests had a hard time getting their folk to toe the line.

Possibly :unsure2:

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...

Even as a State patron monotheist deity his priests had a hard time getting their folk to toe the line.

LOL "Now stop it with high places, you people. Just stop it! We've told you that before."

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The name 'Yahweh' is not the actual name of the deity in question. 'Yahweh' is simply the anglicisation of the tetragrammaton YHVH (the Hebrew 'Vod', the third symbol, was Romanised to a 'W'). The tetragrammaton was a representation of the name of the Hebrew deity, but the actual name was not allowed to be uttered (or written).

As for the attributes assigned to that deity, here is a useful paper relating the relationships between Yahweh and various (many) preceding gods and goddesses.

YHVH I think can be pronouced 'ever' with the YH an EH/IH sound + VAH - 'ever' - that imo is the most logical name for God. He is the beginning and the end, he is eternity he is forEVER and ever, Amen.

Edited by The Puzzler

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javan = ionians

YHWH = Aeon

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Aion_lim.html

Aristotle,(4) the great Greek Philosopher, explained the derivation as a combination of two Greek words (aei ón) which signify always existing

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javan = ionians

YHWH = Aeon

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Aion_lim.html

Aristotle,(4) the great Greek Philosopher, explained the derivation as a combination of two Greek words (aei ón) which signify always existing

Always existing that's right - ever = always existing. However you end up with it in any language.

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Always existing that's right - ever = always existing. However you end up with it in any language.

the fool has said in his heart (not just with his lips. He really believes it in his heart)

'the always existing one does not exist'.

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This might come from an apparent 'hoax' manuscript, the OLB that me, Abe, and co. are obsessing over, to say the least, but wise words are entrenched in it everywhere you turn...

The word “Eva” is too sacred for common use, therefore men have learned to say “Evin.”

“Eva” means that sentiment which is implanted in the breast of every man in order that he may know what is right and what is wrong, and by which he is able to judge his own deeds and those of others; that is, if he has been well and properly brought up. “Eva” has also another meaning; that is, tranquil, smooth, like water that is not stirred by a breath of wind. If the water is disturbed it becomes troubled, uneven, but it always has a tendency to return to its tranquil condition. That is its nature, just as the inclination towards justice and freedom exists in Frya’s children. We derive this disposition from the spirit of our father Wr-alda, which speaks strongly in Frya’s children, and will eternally remain so. Eternity is another symbol of Wr-alda, who remains always just and unchangeable.

Eternal and unalterable are the signs wisdom and rectitude, which must be sought after by all pious people, and must be possessed by all judges. If, therefore, it is desired to make laws and regulations which shall be permanent, they must be equal for all men. The judges must pronounce their decisions according to these laws. If any crime is committed respecting which no law has been made, a general assembly of the people shall be called, where judgment shall be pronounced in accordance with the inspiration of Wr-alda’s spirit. If we act thus, our judgment will never fail to be right.

If instead of doing right, men will commit wrong, there will arise quarrels and differences among people and states. Thence arise civil wars, and everything is thrown into confusion and destroyed; and, O foolish people! while you are injuring each other the spiteful Finda’s people with their false priests come and attack your ports, ravish your daughters, corrupt your morals, and at last throw the bonds of slavery over every freeman’s neck.

and this part:

As he endures, he alone exists; everything else is show.

http://oeralinda.angelfire.com/#bk

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Isnt Eva a popular female christian name?

The word 'ever' is also spoken commonly without reverence.

:unsure:

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Isnt Eva a popular female christian name?

The word 'ever' is also spoken commonly without reverence.

:unsure:

Nowadays it is but I believe it may be the original name of Yahweh myself.

Eve is the first woman for the reason above - she was meant to be able to judge in her heart the correct balance but made the wrong judgement.

“Eva” means that sentiment which is implanted in the breast of every man in order that he may know what is right and what is wrong,

Evening is the time of the day that is still, it's an even time - no ripples - just even and quiet.

Edited by The Puzzler

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Just to add:

ever

O.E. æfre "ever, at any time, always;" no cognates in any other Germanic language; perhaps a contraction of a in feore, lit. "ever in life" (the expression a to fore is common in O.E. writings). First element is almost certainly related to O.E. a "always, ever," from P.Gmc. *aiwo, from PIE *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity." (see eon).

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

Eternity, vital force, long life = ever = Yahweh pronounced Eh-vah imo.

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...

Eternity, vital force, long life = ever = Yahweh pronounced Eh-vah imo.

"Eh-vah"? To me that sounds like a Bostonian trying to say "ever." Think Cliff Clavin. :P

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Always existing that's right - ever = always existing. However you end up with it in any language.

The "Eva" could well be the second syllable but the first is likely to be Yod if the Tetragrammaton is to be followed. Yod I believe means Father and Hev Mother so this makes sense.

I believe this could be a close approximation of the pronunciation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmyclauEcVU

It is likely the original Judaism was tribal, mystical and involved chanting before it was organized under the Patriarchal dogma imposed by Priests imitating Babylon.

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YHVH I think can be pronouced 'ever' with the YH an EH/IH sound + VAH - 'ever' - that imo is the most logical name for God. He is the beginning and the end, he is eternity he is forEVER and ever, Amen.

The 'most logical name' for the Hebrew God is whatever name the Hebrew's assert God gives itself (alternatively, if you subscribe to the idea that the god is imagined rather than real, whatever name the Hebrews gave God then asserted it was the name God attributed to itself.) Regardless, we do not know that name, but know is not 'ever'.

You are certainly entitled to refer to that Hebrew god by one of it's alleged attributes, however.

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The "Eva" could well be the second syllable but the first is likely to be Yod if the Tetragrammaton is to be followed. Yod I believe means Father and Hev Mother so this makes sense.

I believe this could be a close approximation of the pronunciation.

It is likely the original Judaism was tribal, mystical and involved chanting before it was organized under the Patriarchal dogma imposed by Priests imitating Babylon.

yod can also be a vowel. (ee)

so can the vav (o)

hence aeon (and javan = ion)

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The 'most logical name' for the Hebrew God is whatever name the Hebrew's assert God gives itself (alternatively, if you subscribe to the idea that the god is imagined rather than real, whatever name the Hebrews gave God then asserted it was the name God attributed to itself.) Regardless, we do not know that name, but know is not 'ever'.

You are certainly entitled to refer to that Hebrew god by one of it's alleged attributes, however.

Right, so you don't know it but know it's not ever, do you Leo? I think Yahweh YHVH can be easily pronounced 'ever' and that's how I see God, eternal and ever-lasting and it agreed with the ancient Greek name that Granpa gave from eon and that word agreed with the etymology for 'ever'. "Aristotle,(4) the great Greek Philosopher, explained the derivation as a combination of two Greek words (aei ón) which signify always existing".

No other word is consistantly used to describe God. Forever and ever, Amen. That's my opinion for now and I'll only be repeating myself to continue to post here until I think it might be something else. Leave you all to it, I've got an OLB mystery to solve. :tu:

Edited by The Puzzler

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