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  • gmrf
    Feb 7, 2014
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      One thing that can be confirmed is that the Masoretes were monotheists, but they were living under the influence of very strict monotheists, the Islamic Caliphates. From the evidence of the Gospels, the 1st to the 3rd Century Hebrews in Palestine were more dualistic than monotheistic as they, like the Persians, anticipated a great war between 2 forces, that of the Evil god who ruled the world (Luke 11:18 & 2 Cor 4:4) and Good god who ruled the 'kingdom of heaven' which was not of this world (Jhn 18:36). This later view contradicted 1 Chr 29:11 which has Yhwh ruling over both kingdoms. However, the 2 kingdoms described in this verse alludes to the starry heavens and the land and seas where dwelt earthly creatures. These 2 kingdoms evolved from 2 physical kingdoms into a physical kingdom and a spiritual kingdom which were ruled under the influence of 2 different forces, one evil and the other good.. This idea was further expounded upon by Western theologians who still preach a form of dualism.

      As for El being a god who originated in the north of Canaan, I don't think anybody has solved the problem of El's origins. As is indicated by the plethora of theophoric names in both the north and south referring to both gods, it is difficult to pin point the origin El. The word 'el' is found in inscriptions from the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula into the Levant and Mesopotamia and it predates the Hebrews by more than a thousand years as is seen in the Akkadian and Assyrian inscriptions. Since the Akkadians and Assyrians were Semites and the Semites originated in the Arabian Peninsula, it is a good bet that El's homeland was the Arabian Peninsula. That being said, because of the rivalry between the north and the south, El was chosen above Yh/Yhwh in the north and Yh/Yhwh was the chief deity in the south; that is until the names were merged. The merger of the names most likely occurred after the Assyrian defeat of Israel and the massive emigration of Israelites into Judah.

      As for Egyptian inspiration in the evolution of the Hebrew religion, I agree that there was Egyptian influence as one can see by the uraei on the corners of the Beersheba altar. They are described as horns, but if one compares these 'horns' to the Egyptian uraeus, it is obvious that the altar was greatly influenced by the Egyptians. Also, the carving of an ouroboros on the Migdal Synagogue stone can be designated as evidence of Egyptian influence as well as the design of the tabernacle tent. However, the Levitical caste originated with the Minaeans whose priestly caste was the 'lawiat' or Levites. The name means 'coiling ones'. The Minaeans worshiped the moon god Wadd whose 2nd name was Yah just as Yhwh was also referred to as Yah (Psalm 68:4). The name Wadd is present in the name of Dwd (David) and in the name of Dwd's kingdom or, more properly, sheikhdom, Yhwdh. The Hebrew Levitical caste can be traced to Dwd and his sons. This can be confirmed in 2 Sam 8:18 which declares that Dwd's sons were priests (כֹּהֲנִ֥ים). So, the gods worshiped by the Hebrews were Semitic gods, but some of the accoutrements were borrowed from the Egyptians. However, the majority of the religious paraphernalia also originated with the Minaeans as the sacrificial cart (mekonah), the cauldron (mabsal), a feast (haj), the tithe (ma’ser), the congregation (kahal), the sin-offering (hattath),  etc.. Minaean trade routes overlapped that of the Midianites, who shared many of the same beliefs. Most Biblical historians cite the Midianites as the people who transferred YHWH to the Hebrews.

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