The Hebrew God: Portrait of an Ancient Deity

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2002 Hardcover New in New dust jacket 0300090250. This book is brand new; never used or opened. No remainder marks.; 0.98 x 9.56 x 6.44 Inches; 336 pages.

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Bruce Chilton
Lang’s brilliant book sheds more,as well as new,interesting light on the origins of the God of Israel than any work I know.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300090253
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 3/11/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernhard Lang is professor of Old Testament and religious studies at the universities of St. Andrews, Scotland and Paderborn, Germany.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Lord of Three Gifts: A New Approach to the Hebrew God 1
1 Dumezil, the Deluge, and the Dream of Solomon 3
2 The Thesis of the Present Book 12
The First Image: Lord of Wisdom 15
3 The Lord of Esoteric Wisdom 17
4 Mythology Associated with the Lord of Wisdom 24
5 An Alternative View: God as Lawgiver and Scribe 34
The Second Image: Lord of War 45
6 God as Lord of War 47
7 The Warrior's Initiation and God's Battle with the Monster 53
8 From Exodus to Apocalyptic Drama 63
The Third Image: Lord of the Animals 75
9 God as Lord of the Animals 77
10 Human Authority over Animals 91
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 Piety 111
13 God as Lord of the Individual: The Egyptian Contribution 115
14 God as Lord of the Individual: The Mesopotamian Contribution 126
The Fifth Image: Lord of the Harvest 139
15 The Fertile Crescent 141
16 Lord of the Harvest: Archaic Natural Theologies 146
17 Lord of the Harvest: Theologies Shaped by Historical Experience 159
Epilogue: The Hebrew God: Fragments of a History 171
18 Manifestations of the Divine and Historical Beginnings 173
19 The "Sacred Story" and Monotheism 179
20 Christ as Second God 189
App. I The Names of the Hebrew God 198
App. II The Ancient Near East, ca. 3400-500 B.C.E.: A Brief Guide to Its Cultural History 209
Abbreviations 216
Notes 217
Illustration Credits and Museum Locations 228
Bibliography 230
Index 240
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