Mormonism and the council of "gods" in Ps. 82, by Matt Slick

Fair enough. I suppose I approached the discussion in the vein that if the Biblical writers themselves believed in the reality of the divine council of the heavenly gods, found in Psalm82--

... except that they DIDN'T, as evidenced by Deut. 4:35,39, Deut. 32:39, 1 Kings 8:60, Ps. 86:10, Isa. 43-46, etc. etc.

But you will never ADDRESS those issues.

Just admit it... You don't care about Biblical truth.
If you did, you would address ALL of Scripture, not just the proof-texts you think support Mormonism.

That approach is in lieu of those who post the "no other gods" verses ---in hopes it might cover up or cancel out the idea these were real, heavenly gods, in the eyes of the Biblical writers(s).

Let's see... ONE verse that YOU take out of context...
In contrast with SCORES of passages which contradict your theology.

That approach is in lieu of those who post the "no other gods" verses ---in hopes it might cover up or cancel out the idea these were real, heavenly gods, in the eyes of the Biblical writers(s).

The Christian approach is in lieu of those who post the single "council of gods" verse ---in hopes it might cover up or cancel out the idea that ONLY ONE GOD EXISTS, in the eyes of the Biblical writer(s).
 
I believe I have already posted this before?


READINGS OF PSALM 82 IN CONTEMPORARY SCHOLARSHIP---The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

http://www.jhsonline.org/Articles/article_144.pdf

It is a commonplace of biblical scholarship to affirm the mythological character of Psalm 82. Most scholars by now agree that the -'!+ that come under divine judgment and are condemned to death in this Psalm are not human leaders, or judges, but divine beings, members of a divine council.




ABSTRACT THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH LITERATURE

Michael S. Heiser Under the supervision of Professor Michael V. Fox At the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Biblical scholarship has reached a consensus with respect to the presence of a divine assembly of gods in Israel’s faith.

So two people have CLAIMED that there is an imaginary "consensus".
So what is the PROOF of this imagined "consensus"?

Please NAME all these imaginary "Biblical scholars", along with QUOTES showing they hold the view you claim thy do. THAT would be "proof".

The funny thing is you blindly accept these two claims, simply because they support your theology.
But you reject the claim of James Talmage that the "council of gods" in Ps. 82 isn't about actual "gods".
 
Could you please identify these "most scholars" by name, and provide citations proving they agree with you?

Thanks in advance... ;)



<Chuckle>

And you would be mistaken...

Your comment "seems like the rhetoric of a [...] man [...] with a bankrupt theology".
;)



What is YOUR evidence that they DO?

You haven't provided ANY evidence to support your bankrupt claim.
But why would I expect any evidence from a Mormon? ;)
Dr. Luginbill once made a joke out of people who claim "most scholars" agree with their heretical views. He quipped that such people also claim "Minnie Uthers" agrees with them, too.
 
A good morning to you, Johnathan.

Fair enough. I suppose I approached the discussion in the vein that if the Biblical writers themselves believed in the reality of the divine council of the heavenly gods, found in Psalm82--then the idea those gods were mere imaginary idols, or humans-- could be eliminated.
Good evening dberrie... now this is something you and I can get into. Why could or should explicit claims about rejecting the 'gods' of the nations as mere idols be eliminated? These, too, must have their voices heard. As I've argued elsewhere, ancient Israel was early on henotheistic, then monolatrous during the kingdom period (at least those elites who crafted much of the literature during this time were) and in the wake of the Babylonian exile there was a move to monotheism. The strict monotheism now practiced by the majority of Jews and Christians the world over can also be found enshrined within the biblical texts...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
So two people have CLAIMED that there is an imaginary "consensus".
So what is the PROOF of this imagined "consensus"?

Please NAME all these imaginary "Biblical scholars", along with QUOTES showing they hold the view you claim thy do. THAT would be "proof".

The funny thing is you blindly accept these two claims, simply because they support your theology.
But you reject the claim of James Talmage that the "council of gods" in Ps. 82 isn't about actual "gods".

So two people have CLAIMED that there is an imaginary "consensus".
So what is the PROOF of this imagined "consensus"?

Please NAME all these imaginary "Biblical scholars", along with QUOTES showing they hold the view you claim thy do. THAT would be "proof".

The funny thing is you blindly accept these two claims, simply because they support your theology.
But you reject the claim of James Talmage that the "council of gods" in Ps. 82 isn't about actual "gods".
Hi Theo--here is a link to commentaries that agree with you and me, not with the Mormons here, though the Keil and Delitzcsh one goes 'way over my head and I don't see what it has to do with Ps. 82.

Psalm 82:6 Commentaries: I said, "You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. (biblehub.com)

So, we are not the only ones who plainly see human judges being referred to in Ps. 82, which the context makes pretty plain, to me. So do the scholars in my church and so does Dr. Bob Luginbill, whom I consult from time to time about translations issues.
 
Good evening dberrie... now this is something you and I can get into. Why could or should explicit claims about rejecting the 'gods' of the nations as mere idols be eliminated?

Good afternoon, Jonathan--a pleasure to hear from you.

First--we might want to distinguish "idols" from real gods. IOW--real gods could be idols--if the worship of another, particular God only-- is commanded.

Were the gods of the divine council real gods? Were they considered deities by the Biblical writers? Were they heavenly gods--or earthly, mortal rulers--born to mortal mothers of this earth?

These, too, must have their voices heard. As I've argued elsewhere, ancient Israel was early on henotheistic, then monolatrous during the kingdom period (at least those elites who crafted much of the literature during this time were) and in the wake of the Babylonian exile there was a move to monotheism. The strict monotheism now practiced by the majority of Jews and Christians the world over can also be found enshrined within the biblical texts...

I wouldn't argue that point--only in this context--does "monotheism" preclude the existence of other real gods?

Did Biblical writers, of ancient Israel-- believe in the existence of other real gods?

Why did the NT writers separate out God the Son from the "one God" of the Biblical NT text?

How does God the Son claiming to have a God and Father also--effect the language of the OT God--, IE--"beside me there is no God""?

(Jonathan--I know that is a lot of material to cover--but I thought I would lay out multiple points for you to consider, so that we might find one or more you might be willing to engage. I have no expectations for you to involve yourself in them all, as any one of them could take tomes to cover, to be sure.)

I'll attempt to discuss it from an LDS perspective.
 
I can assure you that we are not talking about any Genesis verses. Dragging in unrelated verses isn't helping your argument.
“Moses and Aaron, Nahab and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders went up and saw God of Israel under his feet was something like pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky it self, but God did not raise his hand against these leaders of Israelites, they saw God, and they ate and drank,” Exodus 24:9-11

“at this point the men turned from there way to Sodom but as for JEHOVAH he was standing still before Abraham
….then JEHOVAH went his way when he had finished speaking to Abraham.” Genesis 18:22-33 New World Translation Genesis 18:2 says three men appeared to Abraham, two are identified as angels {Genesis 19:1} ONE IS IDENTIFIED AS JEHOVAH GOD Genesis 18:1,3,13,14,17,20,22,26,27,31,32 and 33

Genesis 19: 27
Now Abraham got up early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before Jehovah

Exodus 6:2 Then God said to Moses: “I am Jehovah. 3 And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but with regard to my name Jehovah I did not make myself known to them.


Numbers 12: 6 He then said: “Hear my words, please. If there was a prophet of Jehovah among you, I would make myself known to him in a vision, and I would speak to him in a dream.+ 7 But it is not that way with my servant Moses! He is being entrusted with all my house. 8 Face-to-face* I speak to him, openly, not by riddles; and the appearance of Jehovah is what he sees. Why, then, did you not fear to speak against my servant, against Moses?”
 
I don't find the name "Minnie Uthers" on any of these references, but what I do find is--what violates one theology--many will label "heretical":


READINGS OF PSALM 82 IN CONTEMPORARY SCHOLARSHIP---The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

http://www.jhsonline.org/Articles/article_144.pdf

"It is a commonplace of biblical scholarship to affirm the mythological character of Psalm 82. Most scholars by now agree that the -'!+ that come under divine judgment and are condemned to death in this Psalm are not human leaders, or judges, but divine beings, members of a divine council."



https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1092&context=fac_dis
ABSTRACT THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH LITERATURE

Michael S. Heiser Under the supervision of Professor Michael V. Fox At the University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Biblical scholarship has reached a consensus with respect to the presence of a divine assembly of gods in Israel’s faith."


What is your evidence that is false?
Oh, Heiser again.....always the "go-to" for Mormons when backed into a corner, eh? Have you forgotten that he has gone on record as saying Mormons misuse his research and conclusions?

I just got an email from someone who asked very sincerely if Mormons are using my divine council material responsibly. Apparently the answer is (predominantly) “no” so I thought I’d post on this.

Many of you are aware that my academic specialty is the divine in Israelite religion / biblical theology. It was the focus of my dissertation (along with the matter of divine plurality and monotheism in Israelite religion). I focused on late canonical material and Second Temple Jewish material (the two powers in heaven theology in Judaism also figured in my dissertation).

I answered the above question negatively since the emailer informed me that some Mormons on the web are thinking that I believe Yahweh had a father distinct from Himself. Nope. No idea how anyone who’s read my material could come away with that one. I also do not believe that humans will become gods (like Yahweh) or that Yahweh was once a human. Those denials pretty much disqualify me as a Latter Day Saint.

This is from Heiser's own blog, drmshdotcom. I don't know if I would be allowed to link to it.

aomin.org ministries deals with what Heiser said about "dying like men"?

Die Like Men? A Response to Dr. Michael Heiser – Alpha and Omega Ministries (aomin.org)

And here is an explanation of John 10:34:

John 10:34-35 Are Men Gods? – Alpha and Omega Ministries (aomin.org)

Again, who are these "most scholars"? The Scholars at aomin certainly do not agree with what Mormons believe or some of what Heiser has written...so, who are "most scholars"? Any relation to "Minnie Uthers?"
 
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A bit more from Alpha and Omega ministries:

Carmenn Massa and Dodging the Real Arguments – Alpha and Omega Ministries (aomin.org)

Let me first provide my comments on the citation of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34 from Is the Mormon My Brother? pp. 155-158:

I Said You Are Gods
John chapter ten is one of the most beautiful in all of Scripture, for it speaks of the Lord Jesus’ relationship to His people in the terms of the Shepherd and His sheep. In the midst of talking about the glorious salvation that belongs to those who know and trust Christ, Jesus asserts that He and the Father are one in their bringing about the final and full salvation of all those who are given by the Father to the Son (vv. 28-30). When the Lord says, “I and the Father are one,”[1] He offends the Jews, who realize that such a claim implies deity. No mere creature can be fully one with the Father in bringing about redemption itself! This prompts the dialogue that concerns us here:
“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:30-36)
The use of this passage in LDS literature is widespread. “I said, you are gods” is used to substantiate the idea of a plurality of gods, and men becoming gods. Yet, even a brief review of the passage demonstrates that such is hardly a worthy interpretation, and some of the leading LDS apologists today avoid trying to press the passage that far, and for good reason.[2] The unbelieving Jews seen in this passage, with murder in their hearts, are hardly good candidates for exaltation to godhood. What is more, the Lord Jesus uses the present tense when He says, “You are gods.” So, obviously, He is not identifying His attackers as divine beings, worthy of worship by their eventual celestial offspring! What, then, is going on here?
When we allow the text to speak for itself, the meaning comes across clearly. As usual the context is determinative. The Jewish leaders were acting as Jesus’ judges. They were accusing Him of blasphemy, of breaking God’s law. Their role as judges in this instance is determinative, for the Lord is going to cite a passage about judges from the Old Testament. The Jews make it plain that they understand Jesus’ words to contain an implicit claim of equality with God (v. 33). It is at this point that the Lord quotes from Psalm 82:6, which contains the important words, “I said you are gods.” But when we go back to the passage from which this is taken (and surely the Jewish leaders would have known the context themselves), we find an important truth:
God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. They do not know nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” (Psalm 82:1-6)

So far, I don't see "most scholars' agreeing with Mormons about this passage, both in Ps. 82 and John 10.

The rest is in the next post:
Here is one scholar who does not agree with Heiser at all.
 
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Continuation from the last post:

Carmenn Massa and Dodging the Real Arguments – Alpha and Omega Ministries (aomin.org)


Over the years various folks, primarily evangelicals of one sort or the other, have called and promoted Heiser’s views of the “heavenly council” as a “better” way to approach the issues surrounding the LDS use of Psalm 82. Heiser takes the view that the beings referred to in Psalm 82, while ontologically distinct from Yahweh and lesser than the one true God, are yet, in some sense, divine beings, following the common view of much of secular scholarship in asserting a kind of “divine council” in early Hebrew thought. Heiser’s interpretation of Psalm 82 is quite different than my own, and evidently some folks (one fellow in particular) called, and wrote, repeatedly, asking us to have Heiser on The Dividing Line....

When we allow the text to speak for itself, the meaning comes across clearly. As usual the context is determinative. The Jewish leaders were acting as Jesus’ judges. They were accusing Him of blasphemy, of breaking God’s law. Their role as judges in this instance is determinative, for the Lord is going to cite a passage about judges from the Old Testament. The Jews make it plain that they understand Jesus’ words to contain an implicit claim of equality with God (v. 33). It is at this point that the Lord quotes from Psalm 82:6, which contains the important words, “I said you are gods.” But when we go back to the passage from which this is taken (and surely the Jewish leaders would have known the context themselves), we find an important truth:

God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. They do not know nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” (Psalm 82:1-6)
Here we have the key to the passage, for this is a psalm of judgment against the rulers of Israel. God takes his stand in His own congregation, that being His own people, Israel. He judges in the midst of the “rulers.” The Hebrew term here is “elohim,” which could be translated “gods.” The NASB however, recognizes that the context indicates who is being discussed, for the next verse reads, “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked.” Who judges unjustly and shows partiality? Human judges, of course, human rulers amongst the people. Hence, the NASB rendering of “elohim” as “rulers.” It is important to recognize the use of the term elohim in verse 1, for the very same term appears in verse 6, and is what lies behind Jesus’ citation in John 10:34. Before moving on in the text, it should be noted that even at this point recognizing that this passage is talking about unjust human rulers removes this passage from the realm of possible passages to cite in support of a plurality of gods, and certainly, Jesus was not, by citing this passage, calling His accusers true divine beings.

When we get to verse six, we find that God has placed the judges of Israel in a position of being “gods” amongst the people. They were entrusted with the application of God’s law. God calls them to vindicate the weak and fatherless and to do justice to the afflicted and destitute (v. 3). This is their task, their duty. But they are failing that duty. They are not acting as proper, godly judges. Verse six, then, begins the pronouncement of judgment. Jesus only cites the beginning of the judgment-which was enough to make His point. But since many today do not immediately know the context the way the Jews did, we need to point it out. The rest of the phrase Jesus quotes is this: “Nevertheless you will die like men and fall like any one of the princes.” Such is hardly the terminology one would use of divine and exalted beings! And this explains the use of the present tense verb “You are gods” in John 10:34. Jesus is saying His accusers are, right then, the judges condemned in Psalm 82. And what kind of judges were they? Unrighteous judges, who were judging unjustly. Jesus was calling His accusers false judges, and they well knew it.
That this is the meaning of Jesus’ use of the passage is seen by going back to John chapter ten. Jesus refers to these rulers as those “to whom the word of God came.” Surely this is an apt description of the rulers who were set to judge in God’s place. Once He has made His application, and identified His accusers as false judges, He then asks, “Do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” Here He points to their judgment of blasphemy and contrasts their errant decision with the Father’s sanctification and sending of the divine Son. The folly of their false judgment is manifest to all. This is the meaning of the passage, and pressing it to support the idea that men can, after aeons and aeons of evolution, become gods, only shows how far removed the LDS position is from biblical Christianity.

"His own congregation" could very well what God takes His stand in. The wording is similar to Is. 3:

God Will Judge​

13 The Lord arises to contend,
And stands to judge the people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and leaders of His people...

I am posting most of the page on here, but need to break it up, or it will be too many words to post. There is much more about this, which anyone can read for himself, should they have the intestinal fortitude actually to GO onto the website in the link, because White does a great job of explaining Ps. 82 to Heiser and why he disagrees with Heiser. I may put down the rest of the article later, in segments, as time permits.
 
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This is similar, if not identical, to Aaron32's position and I therefore have the same criticism of it... namely that it imposes a theological framework alien to the context of ancient Israel.
Sorry, it's in the scriptures exactly as I stated. To claim it imposes a theological framework alien to the context of ancient Israel is simply ignoring the facts (you understand, I hope, that Abraham is not Israel). Without a doubt, it is alien to your tradition.
 
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Sorry, it's in the scriptures exactly as I stated. To claim it imposes a theological framework alien to the context of ancient Israel is simply ignoring the facts (you understand, I hope, that Abraham is not Israel). Without a doubt, it is alien to your tradition.
I'm not ignoring 'facts' --- I simply don't share your (flawed) hermeneutic. What I write today carries a particular meaning... it cannot be reinterpreted to mean something else a few hundred years from now. Similarly, what an ancient Israelite wrote meant something to him and his initial audience... how a writer in the first century century interprets that makes for interesting conversation, but is entirely irrelevant if it violates what the original author intended within his own historical and cultural context. I am well aware that Abraham predates his grandson Israel and future descendants... I would hope that you are aware that no credible scholar thinks the stories about the patriarchs actually date to the ostensible time of their sojourn in Canaan, but to the kingdom period and later.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
I'm not ignoring 'facts' --- I simply don't share your (flawed) hermeneutic
Likewise, I don't share your (flawed) hermenutic.
What I write today carries a particular meaning... it cannot be reinterpreted to mean something else a few hundred years from now.
That's clearly not true. If it were, then we wouldn't be disputing the meaning of Ps 82 and His writing has the distinct attribute of being inspired. Your writings do not.
I would hope that you are aware that no credible scholar thinks the stories about the patriarchs actually date to the ostensible time of their sojourn in Canaan, but to the kingdom period and later.
I would think that any scholar who thought that the patriarchs didn't date to the time of their sojourn in Canaan would not be a very credible scholar. Does that clear up what I'm aware of? IOW, you need to spell it out how examples you use isn't about their sojourn in Canaan, but is actually about the kingdom period and later.
 
As I've already stated, one post at a time please... length is not a concern, but I will not post on multiple fronts. If you can't respect that request, don't bother responding at all... thanks.
I'll respond when I please. You, on the other hand, can decide what you will do. It doesn't bother me one bit if you decide not to respond. You took my statement out of context intentionally misrepresenting my post.
 
That's clearly not true. If it were, then we wouldn't be disputing the meaning of Ps 82
And you're lecturing me on misrepresentation? :D

and His writing has the distinct attribute of being inspired. Your writings do not.
As if the inspired (or not) nature of a given writing is relevant to it being misinterpreted hundreds of years later.

I would think that any scholar who thought that the patriarchs didn't date to the time of their sojourn in Canaan would not be a very credible scholar. Does that clear up what I'm aware of?
Not really, but then again I said nothing about whether scholars date the patriarchs to a particular period, but about no credible scholar dating the stories about them to that period.

IOW, you need to spell it out how examples you use isn't about their sojourn in Canaan, but is actually about the kingdom period and later.
Kingdom period and later writings reflect the circumstances and theology of their own time regardless of whether they are contemporary stories or those about hoary antiquity.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
I'll respond when I please. You, on the other hand, can decide what you will do. It doesn't bother me one bit if you decide not to respond. You took my statement out of context intentionally misrepresenting my post.
No, I cut my quotation of your words in mid thought (and correctly used ... to show I was doing so) and interjected my belief that this was the most reasonable assumption to make and why (citing the very next psalm in the collection rather than a text dating hundreds of years later). I also made sure to quote next the remainder of your thought and then respond to it. There was no misrepresentation, intended or otherwise. As for your other comments, I can only say that most other LDS I've dialogued with over the years on this forum are thankfully more courteous than you...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
Good afternoon, Jonathan--a pleasure to hear from you.

First--we might want to distinguish "idols" from real gods. IOW--real gods could be idols--if the worship of another, particular God only-- is commanded.

Were the gods of the divine council real gods? Were they considered deities by the Biblical writers? Were they heavenly gods--or earthly, mortal rulers--born to mortal mothers of this earth?



I wouldn't argue that point--only in this context--does "monotheism" preclude the existence of other real gods?

Did Biblical writers, of ancient Israel-- believe in the existence of other real gods?

Why did the NT writers separate out God the Son from the "one God" of the Biblical NT text?

How does God the Son claiming to have a God and Father also--effect the language of the OT God--, IE--"beside me there is no God""?

(Jonathan--I know that is a lot of material to cover--but I thought I would lay out multiple points for you to consider, so that we might find one or more you might be willing to engage. I have no expectations for you to involve yourself in them all, as any one of them could take tomes to cover, to be sure.)

I'll attempt to discuss it from an LDS perspective.
Good morning dberrie... thanks for your post. I'll focus on the period of ancient Israel and leave any discussion about the first century and New Testament writings for another time as they do not relate directly to understanding Hebrew Bible texts within their own historical context.

With respect to your question about whether monotheism precludes the existence of other gods... by very definition, yes. This brings us to the issue of whether idols might be considered real (though presumably inferior) gods and what is meant by 'beside me there is no god' --- both of which allude to texts in a section of Isaiah collectively called in scholarly circles 'Deutero-Isaiah' and which is typically dated to the late-exilic or early post-exilic period.

The rhetoric that Deutero-Isaiah engages in leaves no room for any equation of idols and real gods. There is a lengthy description of idol production (44:9-20) that is mocking in tone, people worshipping leftover pieces of wood. While earlier texts criticize the fashioning of idols and order their destruction, they are distinguished from the gods they represent whose existence may nonetheless be assumed, though inferior to YHWH and not to be worshipped by Israelites (henotheism) or at all (monolatry). In Deutero-Isaiah this distinction is obliterated... idols are just idols, there is nothing behind them, or other gods are nothing more than idols, the mere fabrications of human hands.

Prior to the aforementioned mockery of idols, the deity declares that he is first and last and there is no god except for (besides) him (44:6) --- the idea of lesser gods who are not 'beside' but underneath him exploits an ambiguity in English, not Hebrew, and is excluded by the prefacing 'first and last'. Moments later the deity asks rhetorically if there is a god except for him, answering he is not aware of any such being (44:8). Following the attack on idols and those who fashion them, the deity declares there is none but him from where the sun rises to where it sets (45:6) --- the gods of other nations are denied existence, no where in the known world is there a god but YHWH.

This rhetoric denies existence to any deity but YHWH and reflects the shift from monolatry to monotheism effected by the experience of exile. I am interested in your perspective on this and, if you maintain the allowance of other deities by these texts, what other catalyst prompted the shift to monotheism (that the Jews were monotheists and strove to preserve this belief and their culture amidst the polytheist Greeks and later Romans is well-established) and why would something so central to their identity be entirely absent from their sacred texts?

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
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