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Polytheism in Old Testament ?

Randall999
Posts: 85
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3/29/2011 8:25:12 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I have heard it said that there is evidence that God's chosen people of the Old Testament originally worshiped gods, polytheism in essence, eventually transitioning to monotheism. Is this true? Is there evidence for this in the OT or archeologically?
Thaddeus
Posts: 6,985
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3/29/2011 8:45:13 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/29/2011 8:25:12 AM, Randall999 wrote:
I have heard it said that there is evidence that God's chosen people of the Old Testament originally worshiped gods, polytheism in essence, eventually transitioning to monotheism. Is this true? Is there evidence for this in the OT or archeologically?

I hadn't heard that the Israelites worshipped gods plural, but the OT definately states the existence of other gods such as Baal.
Chrysippus
Posts: 2,173
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3/29/2011 9:21:18 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Abraham was from Ur, a Sumerian city; the Sumerians were polytheistic. It seems from the passage in Genesis that it was an unusual thing for someone to abandon all the other gods and worship only one.

Later, the OT shows the opposite progress, from monotheism to worshiping many local gods. The Israelites had no link left back to the Sumerian gods after around 500 years of monotheism, so they adopted the Cannaanite, Hittite, and Philistine deities. The word used most often for these in the OT is "Baal," which simply means Lord and refers to any of a number of very localized male deities.

I don't know how in depth you want me to go, so I'll stop there for now.
Cavete mea inexorabilis legiones mimus!
Randall999
Posts: 85
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3/29/2011 9:34:50 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Go as deep as you wish, I find this all interesting. I just got off my arse and did a little googling, found this webpage which is interesting:
http://people.ucalgary.ca...

Now I am curious, and totally ignorant on the matter, and open to any thoughts or lessons-- might the polytheistic gods of ancient Greece have arisen from polytheism out of Sumeria (the first civilization)?
Thaddeus
Posts: 6,985
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3/29/2011 9:39:42 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/29/2011 9:34:50 AM, Randall999 wrote:
Go as deep as you wish, I find this all interesting. I just got off my arse and did a little googling, found this webpage which is interesting:
http://people.ucalgary.ca...

Now I am curious, and totally ignorant on the matter, and open to any thoughts or lessons-- might the polytheistic gods of ancient Greece have arisen from polytheism out of Sumeria (the first civilization)?

Interesting question, but I am not as inclined as many to believe to that everything must be plagerized or have a single source. Its just as likely they came up with their gods independantly to explain the wind, weather and other such things.
Chrysippus
Posts: 2,173
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3/29/2011 9:48:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/29/2011 9:34:50 AM, Randall999 wrote:
Go as deep as you wish, I find this all interesting. I just got off my arse and did a little googling, found this webpage which is interesting:
http://people.ucalgary.ca...

Now I am curious, and totally ignorant on the matter, and open to any thoughts or lessons-- might the polytheistic gods of ancient Greece have arisen from polytheism out of Sumeria (the first civilization)?

I couldn't say. I'd doubt it, because if I remember correctly the time difference between the rise of the Sumerian and the Minoan/archaic Greek cultures wasn't very much; haven't read about it in a while, though, and it's one of those subjects where none of the historians seem to agree. Polytheism seems to be a universal constant, though, even in places where Sumerian contact seems unlikely.
Cavete mea inexorabilis legiones mimus!
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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3/29/2011 9:54:43 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/29/2011 9:34:50 AM, Randall999 wrote:
Go as deep as you wish, I find this all interesting. I just got off my arse and did a little googling, found this webpage which is interesting:
http://people.ucalgary.ca...

Now I am curious, and totally ignorant on the matter, and open to any thoughts or lessons-- might the polytheistic gods of ancient Greece have arisen from polytheism out of Sumeria (the first civilization)?

I'm pretty sure the Greek gods and the Indian gods are related in that they both seem to have come from an "aryan", indo-european, group of people from a long, long time ago.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Randall999
Posts: 85
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3/29/2011 10:07:11 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/29/2011 9:54:43 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
... they both seem to have come from ... a group of people from a long, long time ago.

From a galaxy far far away?
With leaders name Luke, Han, Chewbacca? :)
Randall999
Posts: 85
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3/29/2011 10:11:52 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/29/2011 10:05:24 AM, Randall999 wrote:
I came across Mythology for Dummies, with this on the Greek gods/mythology:
http://www.dummies.com...
I might have to pick up that book, looks like a fun read.

Sweeet, I just noticed it is available as an eBook on Google Books marketplace, $10. I need to wait a couple of months until I buy an Android tablet PC, or might go ahead and get it for my laptop. I have been resistant to ebooks, but I ready to go that route for some books, lighten the bulk of clutter around my place.