Jesus in our time – 8

Jesus in our time – 8

The problem is political evil

But what is the solution?

Jesus is the English form of the Greek form (Iēsous) of the Aramaic Yeshua, which is a version of the Hebrew Yəhôšua, which we translate as “Joshua”: YHWH is salvation, or saves, or is a saving-cry, or is-a-cry-for-help, or -is-lordly. Anyway, something to do with Yahweh.

Wikipedia believes that Yahweh was originally one God among many and that the ancient Israelites were a subset of the ancient Canaanites, and they all worshipped the same basic pantheon of Gods, and that in the Iron Age the Israelites were worshipping “El, the ruler of the pantheon, Asherah, his consort, and Baal.” Wikipedia then says that in Deuteronomy 32:8-9* Yahweh used to be named as a son of “El”, but that was edited out in later versions.

*[In the Most High causing nations to inherit, In His separating sons of Adam — He setteth up the borders of the peoples By the number of the sons of Israel. For Jehovah’s portion [is] His people, Jacob [is] the line of His inheritance.]

In support of this statement, Wikipedia links to a book Monotheism and Yahweh’s Appropriation of Baal by James S. Anderson (published 2015 by Bloomsbury T&T Clark). On page 3 of this book, we find,

As the examination of the relevant evidence makes clear, Iron Age Israel and
Judah worshipped a small pantheon headed by Yahweh and Asherah. The Hebrew
Bible evinces the co-opting of Asherah by Yahweh as Yahweh takes over her
domain: presiding over care of the womb, childbirth and child-rearing activities.
Other domains, which Canaanite religions ascribed specifically to Baal, were also
transferred to Yahweh, such as the rule over the Rephaim and the care of these
deified ancestors: …

So maybe Wikipedia got the pantheon a little wrong? Maybe El is the most important God, but the romantic pair Yahweh and Asherah are the ones looking out for the Iron Age Israelites and Judeans? See this next bit:

On page 77, in the section 5.7 The Song of Moses, we find the part that I guess Wikipedia had found:

Within these triumphal monotheistic affirmations, Deuteronomy 32.8–9
explains how Elyon organized the sons of Adam into distinct peoples, and set
the boundaries of the territory allotted to each people according to the number
of the sons of El. Yahweh received Jacob as his lot. In the received Hebrew text,
the sons of El have been turned into “sons of Israel” (ראלׂיש > אל(, a reading that
spoils the logic of the text but erases the pantheon implied by the notion that El
has many sons. That the reading “sons of Israel” is an emendation of “sons of El”
is confirmed by texts found near Qumran, and by the Septuagint which reads
ἀγγέλων θεοῦ, rendered in the New English Translation of the Septuagint as
“divine sons.” The Alexandrian translators either had too much respect for the
Hebrew text they worked on, or they reconciled with monotheism the idea that
Yahweh was a subordinate deity among others in the pantheon ruled by the “Most
High” by understanding Elyon as a synonym for Yahweh. In any case, the text
does not make any sense in the context of a song that pictures Yahweh not only
as the head of the pantheon but also as the sole and only god. …

James S. Anderson is an adjunct professor in Texas. Other books by the same author: Bethlehem the House of Bread, Defending Catholicism, Extolling Yeshua, and Manifesting Peace. This is his author page.

I promise you, I had never heard of this man until today!

But to return to our story.

Comments are closed.