Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Origins of Biblical MonotheismIsrael's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mark S. Smith

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195134803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513480X.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 July 2019

The Traits of Deities

The Traits of Deities

(p.83) 5 The Traits of Deities
The Origins of Biblical Monotheism

Mark S. Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks what characteristics deities generally share, or, put differently, what terms do the texts use to express what deities are? It collects and analyzes labels and statements about deities to answer the fundamental question of what a deity was considered to be. Ancient Middle Eastern literatures generalize about the characteristics and actions of deities abstracted from religious tradition and experience (“second-order discourse”), and chapter 3 has already shown how the Ugaritic texts stress the idea of the deities as a divine royal family bound by social hierarchy and family ties. This chapter examines four other common features of deities: strength and size, body and gender, holiness, and immorality. Each of these traits is addressed in turn, first in Ugaritic literature and then in Israelite texts.

Keywords:   body and gender of deities, divinity, holiness of deities, immorality of deities, Israelite deities, Israelite texts, religious history, strength and size of deities, traits of deities, Ugaritic deities, Ugaritic texts

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .