The Hebrew God: Portrait of an Ancient Deity

The Hebrew God: Portrait of an Ancient Deity

by Bernhard Lang
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300090250

ISBN-13: 9780300090253

Pub. Date: 03/11/2002

Publisher: Yale University Press

Originally worshiped by the people of a small and politically insignificant eastern Mediterranean community, the Hebrew God rose to become the monotheistic deity of the entire Western tradition. Indeed, the God of Israel ranks as the most distinguished deity in human history. In this absorbing book, well-known biblical scholar Bernhard Lang provides for the first time

Overview

Originally worshiped by the people of a small and politically insignificant eastern Mediterranean community, the Hebrew God rose to become the monotheistic deity of the entire Western tradition. Indeed, the God of Israel ranks as the most distinguished deity in human history. In this absorbing book, well-known biblical scholar Bernhard Lang provides for the first time a full portrait of the ancient Hebrew God. Drawing on all available evidence, including ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian texts and art, Lang offers a comprehensive view of the Hebrew God that is both fascinating and surprising.

Lang's portrait shows the Hebrew God in five images. He appears as lord of wisdom, lord of war, lord of the animals, lord of the individual and lord of the harvest -- a God whose rule extends to all areas of life. Lang illuminates the completeness of this God's leadership with insights derived from modern religious, anthropological, and cultural studies, and he argues that Israel's monotheistic God, far from being simply opposed to other gods, actually echoes and incorporates much of the ancient polytheistic experience of the divine. The worldview of the ancient Semites did not differ from that of the Indo-European peoples as dramatically as others have assumed, Lang contends. Written in an accessible and non-technical style, this appealing volume stores a wealth of information for general reader and religious historian alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300090253
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/11/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.50(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Prefacevii
Introduction: Lord of Three Gifts: A New Approach to the Hebrew God1
1.Dumezil, the Deluge, and the Dream of Solomon3
2.The Thesis of the Present Book12
The First Image: Lord of Wisdom15
3.The Lord of Esoteric Wisdom17
4.Mythology Associated with the Lord of Wisdom24
5.An Alternative View: God as Lawgiver and Scribe34
The Second Image: Lord of War45
6.God as Lord of War47
7.The Warrior's Initiation and God's Battle with the Monster53
8.From Exodus to Apocalyptic Drama63
The Third Image: Lord of the Animals75
9.God as Lord of the Animals77
10.Human Authority over Animals91
11.The Rediscovery of the Lord of the Animals, ca. 500 B.C.E.99
The Fourth Image: Lord of the Individual--the "Personal God"109
12.The Discovery of Personal Piety111
13.God as Lord of the Individual: The Egyptian Contribution115
14.God as Lord of the Individual: The Mesopotamian Contribution126
The Fifth Image: Lord of the Harvest139
15.The Fertile Crescent141
16.Lord of the Harvest: Archaic Natural Theologies146
17.Lord of the Harvest: Theologies Shaped by Historical Experience159
Epilogue: The Hebrew God: Fragments of a History171
18.Manifestations of the Divine and Historical Beginnings173
19.The "Sacred Story" and Monotheism179
20.Christ as Second God189
Appendix I.The Names of the Hebrew God198
Appendix II.The Ancient Near East, ca. 3400-500 B.C.E.: A Brief Guide to Its Cultural History209
Abbreviations216
Notes217
Illustration Credits and Museum Locations228
Bibliography230
Index240

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