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The Origins of Biblical MonotheismIsrael's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts$
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Mark S. Smith

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195134803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513480X.001.0001

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The Formation of Monotheistic Theologies in Biblical Literature

The Formation of Monotheistic Theologies in Biblical Literature

(p.167) 9 The Formation of Monotheistic Theologies in Biblical Literature
The Origins of Biblical Monotheism

Mark S. Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

An examination is made of the monotheistic theologies in the priestly work of Genesis 1, the wisdom of Proverbs 1–9, and the apocalyptic of Daniel 7. These are three monotheistic adaptations to the older model of the Israelite national god: respectively, a priestly model, the form of the figure of wisdom personified in female terms, and apocalyptic imagery, with its clear reminiscences of old monarchic theology. All three models involve old mythic material that spoke powerfully and was reused in new and varying circumstances. Mythic narratives and imagery were the chosen forms not only of educated classes such as the monarchy or priesthood; rather, these groups likely drew upon these materials precisely because they were well known among the educated and uneducated, rich and poor. After the treatment of these monotheistic presentations of the Israelite national deity, the author addresses the so-called demise of myth in Israel. Like the preceding chapters, this survey uses the Ugaritic mythological texts as a primary source.

Keywords:   apocalyptic god, biblical literature, Proverbs, Daniel, Genesis, imagery, Israelite monotheism, Israelite national god, models, monotheistic theologies, myths, priestly god, religious history, Ugaritic texts, wise god

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