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

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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. 

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. 

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. 

Could be.  But you can't know unless you ask. 

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. 

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.

Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the culmination of the age.  The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom every cause of sin and all who do evil, and they will cast them into the furnace of fire.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:40-42

It was a savage world. 

I read a comment by an ex-Christian that while exiting Christianity, it came to seem like nothing so much as a giant cult. 

Christianity is a lot more like a giant cult than Judaism, for example. 

There were a lot of Gnostics in the early years of Christianity, including Marcion, and they all thought of themselves as privy to special knowledge unavailable to others and as lost sojourners in the earthly world, soon to return home to the highest heaven.  They could see plainly that the earthly world was wicked and corrupt, ergo its Creator (Yahweh) must be wicked and corrupt.  Makes sense to me.


Do you have reason to think from your own reading, that Jehovah wasn't actually more loving or caring than the gods from which he was derived?

Jehovah could have been more loving & caring, and still be quite savage in modern Western terms. 

Sometimes cultures do evolve to a "kinder, gentler" religion, and that's generally a good thing.

It would be nice to know how this person would justify their statement. 

I tried googling it, but this subject isn't very Google-able. 


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