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In: Mighty Baal
In: Mesopotamian Magic: Textual, Historical and Interpretative Perspectives
In: Theodicy in the World of the Bible

Abstract

This contribution discusses the problem of the origin of the goddess Anat-Yahu and the related issue of the cultural background of the Jewish colony at Elephantine. It is argued that Anat-Yahu has been modeled after Anat-Bethel. Contrary to a current opinion, neither Bethel nor Anat-Bethel can be regarded as Phoenician gods. They are late Aramaean gods whose cult is confined to North Syria. Anat-Yahu must be regarded as an Aramaean creation, elicited by the identification of Yahu with Bethel. The latter identification was one of the results of the Aramaean migration to Samaria, either enforced or voluntary, at the end of the 8th century. The theory here proposed assumes that the Jews and Aramaeans of the colonies at Elephantine and Syene originated predominantly from Northern Israel. The ultimate origins of the Aramaean settlers go back to North Syria. The Jewish character of the Elephantine colony is secondary. It can be accounted for by the Judaean transit of Israelite colonists on their way to Egypt and the secondary influx of actual Judaeans. Yet, despite the common designation of the Elephantine colony as "Jewish", its religion is in fact Israelite.

In: Numen
In: Numen
In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

Contemporary theories of personhood tend to distinguish between the inner self of human individuals and the social or public self they project to the outer world. The two entertain a relationship of discrepancy. While the inner self is true and authentic, the social self is a mask that hides the real person. All of us have a range of personas (literally, ‘masks’) at our disposition, each suited to a particular social performance depending on the dictates of circumstance. This opposition between inner self and public self is foreign to the concept of personhood in the early Middle East. Where we have “personal” religion, the ancients have “family” religion – meaning the god to whom individuals are particularly devoted is “the god of the father.” It is an inherited identity. The same reality is reflected in personal names: they run in the family, as though the new generation takes over the role the older generation has ceased to play. In Babylonia, a man may use the seal of his father or grandfather as his personal signature. In another realm, the use of formulary prayers throughout the ancient Near East fits the reality of a scripted version of personhood. And yet the Hebrew Bible does distinguish between the inner and the outer human being. “Man sees only what is visible, but Yahweh sees into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In all of this, the article asks whether the Bible is more modern than we would like to believe, or perhaps we are less different than we would like to believe.

In: Religionspraxis und Individualität
In: Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel
In: Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel
In: Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel