So previously I made a post explaining why I don’t think Genesis 1 was directly copied from any Pagan creation story, but rather shares similarities because all ANE peoples ‘breathed the same air’. But I’m a bit confused about what the scholarly consensus is. Pete Enns, and Michael Heiser say that my position is held in great consensus. But when I called out Michael Sherlock (who has an MA in religious studies) for claiming that there was plagiarism, he replying by saying that the modern sources he has checked (though I’m skeptical as to how modern these sources are, since a worryingly large amount of the sources used in this article are from before the discovery of Ras Shamra) say that this view is a fringe apologetic view promoted by those who wish to preserve the integrity of the Bible. How true is this, can someone help me?
Hmmm… For ANE questions, do I believe the MA in Religious Studies from the University of Tasmania, or the PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard? That’s a toughie.
You may be able to tar Michael Heiser with the “apologist” brush, but there’s no way you’re getting Enns with it. I mean, has Sherlock actually read anything by Enns?? haha
If I was one of the people who go to the first source that helps them prove their pseudo historical ideas, I’d believe the first one.
I believe Mr. Sherlock emphasizes any similarities why he does not even mention the glaring differences between polytheism and monotheism.
In this regard, I would reference the work of Yehezkel Kaufman who stated "monotheism cannot evolve from polytheism as they are based on radically different world views. There are similarities in form of worship, but the basic principle is quite different (the number of gods is actually irrelevant) The primary difference is that in all forms of polytheism, there is a Metadivine realm (MR) to which the gods are subject, they are born from the MR, they can die, and power is materially achieved through that which comes from the MR. Humans can tap into the MR through the use of “magic” to protect themselves from the gods, help a particular god or gain control over a god. The gods are both good and bad.
In contrast, the religion of Israel had a God that was the source of all creation, outside the metadivine realm and is only good. Humans, through service and faith, can have fellowship and blessing from God.
This is a radical break from polytheism.
With regard to the use of concepts of chaos and order, Gerald Schroeder (PhD Applied Physics and Applied Theology) in his book Genesis and the Big Bang, states the roots of the Hebrew words evening (“erev”) and morning (“boker”) have their basis in chaos and order respectively.
The plagues of Egypt in Exodus were designed to show the superiority of God over the gods of Egypt. I believe any similarities between the regional creation myths and Genesis were designed to show, no only the physical creation of the universe and life, but also superiority of God over the gods of that region.
I feel Mr. Sherlock’s translation of “Elohim” as god(s) is no appropriate. The word is plural (yod+mem), but the verb is always singular, meaning one God. I believe the Trinity is apparent in this term, and is apparent through the Old Testament. Jesus is referred to as “the Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament. He is the one who wrestles with Jacob in Genesis and turns Joshua’s clothes white as snow in Zechariah. The different characterizations of God in the Torah is part of the basis for “source criticism” and the JEPD model. I feel these characterizations should be assigned to each of the persons in the Trinity and are not based on the individual authorship.
Why is God referred to with a pluralistic title? In all likelihood this is just a curiosity of the Semitic languages.
The singular use of the pluralistic Akkadian word ‘Ilanu’ in the El-Amarna letters utterly destroys any insistence that the title ‘Elohim’ must have originally referred to a pantheon.
I have always heard it goes along with the concept of the “divine council” that was a feature of ancient thought.
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