The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel, 2d ed.
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Number of Pages: 227
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2002
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
Series: Biblical Resource
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Repudiating the traditional view that Israel was fundamentally different in culture and religion from its Canaanite neighbors, this provocative book argues that Israelite religion developed, at least in part, from the religion of Canaan. Looking at a wide range of sources, Smith cogently demonstrates that Israelite religion was not an outright rejection of foreign, pagan gods but, rather, was the result of the establishment of a distinctly separate Israelite identity that included the recognition of a singular, universal deity.
Jonathan BeckerBlue Springs, MOAge: 18-24Gender: Male4 Stars Out Of 5Great Treatment of Israelite MonotheismFebruary 18, 2013Jonathan BeckerBlue Springs, MOAge: 18-24Gender: MaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4Six months ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of picking up Smith's "Early History of God." However, I decided to give it a try, and I was pleasantly surprised.
For one, Smith has earned a reputation as a premier biblical scholar, so his numerous works on Israelite monotheism can't be ignored. The information is dense at times, but his lengthy explanations and translations of relevant material make this work accessible for anyone willing to expend a bit of effort.
Secondly, Smith seems extremely charitable to other views, while remaining confident of his own. Thus, this book comes accross more as one voice in reasoned dialogue than one haughty scholar's view on developmental monotheism.
If one doesn't accept all of Smith's conclusions, there is still much to learn from this book and I firmly recommend it to anyone fascinated by Israel's early faith.
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