I like to read about ANE (ancient Near Eastern) history, especially that part of it where the antecedents of our judeo-xian worldview can be traced. In a blog devoted to studies of the Hebrew bible and OT tradition, specifically, a post where the borrowings of genesis from the Gilgamesh epic were being discussed, one scholar conceded that: "My own research suggests that the ancient Hebrews creatively drew from the
creation myths of the ANE world, and reinterpreting them with a "new twist," invented a loving, caring, God in contrdiction to the fickle, quarreling, and un-caring gods of the source-myths."
My jaw practically dropped to the floor.
The entire post: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2000-January/006066.html
Hmph. Tell to the Amalekites, the Amarites, the Moabites, the Kenites ... want me to keep going?!?
You could ask this scholar what they mean by the OT god being more caring than the source myths, if you're in a position to do so.
My guess would be something like, Yahweh was on the side of the Jewish nation - their god, who was capable of making a covenant with the Jews, and the source myth gods weren't like that.
It's all relative. If you judge Yahweh using modern moral standards and from the point of view of non-Jews, you can find lots of immorality. But this person might have meant, more caring from the point of view of the authors of the Old Testament.
My own guess is that this scholar means the xian god as being what xians themselves see their god as being -- loving, kind, etc.. -- with all the cognitive dissonance that this would entail. There is no reason to view this scholar outside of the context of xian apologistics where such people are found, making similar statements.
By the way, each 'national god' in the ANE was 'on the side of' their respective 'nation.' I.e., Ashshur was 'on the side of' the Assyrians,' and Marduk was 'on the side of' Babylonia. If you study the very earliest traces of Judaic religion, down to the origin of yhwh's various names, characteristics, etc., it shows how this god is a composite of the Canaanite gods -- the early Jews actually have their roots in this culture. Good reference works for these facts are: 'The Early History of Heaven,' 'Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan,' and 'The Early History of God,' among other books sitting on my shelves. And of course, Canaanite religion was a Semitic religion, influenced by the Semitic Assyrian and Babylonian beliefs, which in turn were influenced by earlier Sumerian beliefs.
There is no reason to view this scholar outside of the context of xian apologistics where such people are found, making similar statements.
Not much of a Bible scholar in that case, because Bible scholars are supposed to look at the Bible and other ancient writings in the context of the culture they were written in.
Without asking them what they mean by it, all you can do is to make assumptions like, they're speaking as a Christian apologist.
The same with so called 'biblical archeology,' which sees its job as proving judeo-xian faith. The term was once widely used in the English-speaking world, but has mostly changed its name, along with the adoption of a more scientific and unbiased approach in its methods. That is, in all but the USA, where it is quite active.
Biblical scholars can still look for contexts within the cultures they're researching, but that doesn't mean that they don't first possess a bedrock belief in the truth of the judeo-xian belief system. For instance, in another area of study, for many years, philosophy was the 'handmaiden of theology.'
Biblical scholars can still look for contexts within the cultures they're researching, but that doesn't mean that they don't first possess a bedrock belief in the truth of the judeo-xian belief system.
There are nonbeliever Bible scholars, so I wouldn't make the assumption you're making that this person is speaking out of Christian prejudice. You can only find out by asking them - trying to phrase the question in a "scholarly" way - e.g. "in what way is Yahweh more loving and kind than the gods from which he was derived?"
People on A/N often comment that actually reading the Bible tends to deconvert people. So Bible scholars may get deconverted by their analytical approach to the Bible.
I'm basing my assumption on the fact that the statement was simply what it was: "... invented a loving, caring, God ... ", made baldly, without any qualification as to how yhwh *in fact* had these qualities, and not the other ANE gods. There was no further explanation -- the audience was expected to already take this statement as fact, as this wasn't an argument that this was true, in the face of evidence to the contrary. This presupposes in the person making the statement the judeo-xian belief that this is the character of yhwh, as opposed to other ANE gods, who were 'false gods,' and therefore worthy of demonization -- figuratively and literally, as in the case of the Canaanite god Ba'al.
Could be. But you can't know unless you ask.
That could be said about any statement, made by any scholar or public figure, about anything that s/he may say. The question: "What do you mean by saying 'God,'" or "What do you mean by (the next thing you said)," over and over for each utterance. At some point, rather than continuing on as if you're a Diogenes or a Plato, you have to apply your powers of reasoning and your experience of what other people in the same 'logical category' have had as their characteristics, or base positions, in similar situations, and move on. Yes, there are biblical scholars like Bart Ehrman, who don't start with a base grounding in the veracity of the judeo-xian belief system, but he is the exception, and not the rule. Witness the many attacks on his works by *other* biblical scholars.
Of course the Bible scholars at various Christian colleges and seminaries are plugging the religion.
The Bible scholars at excellent secular universities, even the Christians among them, are much less like that. They're held to a higher standard of scholarship.
I do like to read the nonbeliever Bible scholars, and so far I've encountered no shortage of such people.
A nonbeliever Bible scholar has to be very good, because they're unlikely to get a job at a Christian institution. They have to be good enough to get one of the rare jobs in the field at a secular university.
A nonbeliever might be able to work at a Christian institution if they're really quiet about it. I read one such person. They said their colleagues knew they were a nonbeliever, but perhaps it wasn't "officially" known.
Luara, it sounds like you've done the research on this, and you've found some facts I didn't know (your last post, before this one), or formerly consider. I'll concede your point. Thanks for adding to this conversation!
Marcion was an early christian denounced by many and he believed in 2 gods. The one in the Old Testament was the tribal tyrant that we all know today and this god was horrible.
The god of the New Testament was the real god of love that Jesus talked about. This god, says Marcion, is the one true god.
I find it amazing that people of all eras will do almost ANYTHING to invent or explain the god of their choice and present this to you in hopes that you also might believe it. If a contest was held on the basis of seeing who was the world's biggest liars I would vote for the christians every time.