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  • #16
    In the original Hebrew it states that one should not recognize the gods of others in the presense of the one true master of the universe. Since it is clear that the master of the universe is every place, then it is clear then one can't recognize any others at any time.

    When I was taking religion classes I was taught that the 10 Commandments came from a time before Judaism was strictly monotheistic. Yahweh was the Hebrew God then, not the only god.

    Until the Exile there was a pantheon of gods with Yahweh first among them. They included the god El and his wife Asherah, the military gods Resheph and Deber, the sun-goddess Shapshu and the moon-god Yerak, Anat, and the nemesis storm god Baal. The god El was at times identified as Yahweh, at others as the father of Yahweh, and at other as subordinate god to Yahweh.

    True monotheism doesn't appear to take hold until late in the 7th or 6th century BC and remnants of polytheism survived long after.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls and Ugaritic texts discovered in the 20th century offer many new insights into the early Hebrew pantheon:

    The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts

    Israelite Religion to Judaism: the Evolution of the Religion of Israel


    • #17
      The Jews in Judah called god Elohim and the Jews in the neighboring area of Isreal called god Yahweh.

      The following website addresses the question as to whether the Catholic church changed the ten commandments.
      There are some differences from the Protestant bible.


      • #18
        The Jews in Judah called god Elohim and the Jews in the neighboring area of Isreal called god Yahweh.

        You've got that switched, but it is true, to a point, and is why the Bible refers to God as both - the "E" sourced sections refer to Elohim and are believed to derive from Isreal and Jeruslam, while the "J" sourced sections are from Judah. But it isn't perfectly neat, and the name is not the same - the "El" in Elohim refers to the God "El" and in some uses refers to the entire pantheon of gods. To confuse things more, the term "YHWH Elohim" is used extensively in the Bible, commonly translated as "Lord God".

        There are many remnants of early polytheism in our Bible, but that doesn't in any way negate its firm embrace of the monotheism that Judaism established for all the people of the Book.

        And don't even get me started on trinitarianism.



        • #19
          The bible is full of errors as it exists today. Even as it existed in ancient times it was full of errors. The errors of ancient times were transposed to the many translations thru the many languages that in itself produced many errors from mistranslations and misintrepertations of the text.

          Man attemped to explain things by using the technology of the time which in the case of God Almighty just doesn't work. God Almighty created that technology, man only discovered it and used it as he could. The stories in the bible have been hyperbolozed beyond any recognition of what actually happened and then that was embellished and culled by other religions that changed the text and thus meaninns.

          The bible is just a shell of what it once was or originally started out to be. Is still a good book but a little realism and good common sense needs to be used when evaluating it.


          • #20
            Naturist Mark;

            The origins of Judaism as a monotheistic religion go back to Abraham 3,819 years ago. Judaism has always been monotheistic and this was made clear at the giving of the Ten Commandments 3,309 years ago. Any other statement about Judaism is WRONG!!!

            There are multiple Hebrew names for the master of the universe. The names refer to attributes. Elokim refers to judgment and discernment. The other name refers to the attribute of mercy.

            There were Jews who did not fully follow the faith correctly as there are today. It is also true that there are those of other faiths that are not always faithful. However, Judaism was always monotheistic.

            I am a sales person. I am also a father. I am also a husband. These are all attributes of mine. I am sometimes referred to by my first name, social security number, etc. If I am referred to by any of these attributes, it does not change that there is only one of me.

            Later religions have tried to claim that Judaism was not totally monotheistic from the beginning. This was often for anti-Semetic reasons. Many in academia have adopted it. However, this is a false claim and always has been. Judaism has always been monotheistic.

            The Dead Sea scrolls were from a sect that broke off. In many ways, they are no more effective a reflection of what Judaism believed in their day than Baptists are for Judaism today.

            Dick Springer,

            Being Jewish, I could care less what any one believes that Christ taught. It is not necessary in America to believe that we are all correct. I have to respect your right to choose and accept that as long as you are not interfering with others' rights, your religious views are your business. I also demand the same right for myself. However, you don't have to agree with me.


            Your claims on the authenticity of the Bible are one opinion. In another thread, I explained why what I consider the Bible could be shown to be authentic.


            • #21
              If one exerts just a little effort and an open inquiring mind, one will find antecedents to the "Ten Commandments" in precursor religions to Judaism. The Mosaic myth was not the starting point for such philosophical attempts to structure a list of instructions of what the higher power expects from humanity. Those antecedent lists are very little changed by the Decalogue.

              The Mosaic tradition attributes those instructions to the very voice and action of that which we call God. This tradition ignores the fact that those antecedents preceded God, Allah, Yahweh, Elihu and all the other names given to that which we call God and were written onto clay tablets and papyrus long before Moses. One suspects that a certain oral tradition preceded those efforts.

              What I take from this is that they must be very good rules to live by if they've impressed their way into the philosphies of so many different systems of thought and belief.

              Anyone really interested in how to pratically employ them in their daily dealings would find extremely interesting a book by theologian Emmett B. Fox entitled quite simply, The Ten Commandments. It is a bit more than an essay, but really quite readible and inspirational.

              As to Jewish polytheism, I find it a bit of a gnarly subject. Because on one hand, Moses was plagued by his Jewish followers who were worshipping idols and such, which presupposes that those "Jewish" followers did indeed practice a polytheism of sorts.

              But, on the other hand, one could argue that, while they might be "ethnic" Jews, they were not religious Jews, and that to be a "religious" Jew one has to adhere to the Mosaic rules (Judaism), which precludes polytheism, and that Judaism began with Moses, which would mean the Jews were never polytheistic. One excludes the other.


              • #22

                The origins of Judaism as a monotheistic religion go back to Abraham 3,819 years ago. Judaism has always been monotheistic and this was made clear at the giving of the Ten Commandments 3,309 years ago. Any other statement about Judaism is WRONG!!!

                The 10 Commandments are manifestly unclear about monotheism. Rather than stating the Yahweh is the one and only God, we are commanded to worship no other god before him. That is not a statement made vague in translation. Further Yahweh claims to be a jealous god - jealous of whom one must ask.

                Other gods are mentioned many times in the Old Testament, but never is it said they don't exist.

                Judaism IS a monotheistic religion, but it wasn't so from the very beginning. That is clear from the historical record and scripture.

                I previously provided reading links on the subject. Here they are again, the first one is mainly concerned with what we have learned about early Canaanite religions from the discovery of the Ugaritic texts early in the last century. The second is a book on the development of a polytheistic tribal religion into the great monotheistic religion Judaism became.

                The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts

                Israelite Religion to Judaism: the Evolution of the Religion of Israel



                • #23
                  Naturist Mark;

                  If I wanted to know what Catholics believe, I would not ask a Buddhist for his characterizations but ask a practicing Catholic.

                  Name one source that is a reliable Jewish source that supports your position. If you name one, I am sure I can prove it is not reliable.

                  I am not a Christian. However, I have learned a lot about Christianity. I learned it from a Catholic Priest and Baptist Minister. I don't interpret the development of their religions outside of their understandings. To do so reflects my non-Christian viewpoint and not the truth.

                  None of your sources are or were qualified, practicing religious Jews. Like USMC1 you base your claims on non-religious Jewish sources. Thousands of such sources provide no substantiation of your view.


                  • #24
                    Walter, hate to burst your bubble, but you can find a very reliable source and quite jewish on your TV set for what Mark is saying. The show is called The Naked Archeaologist and it is worth watching.

                    And it is a fact that the earliest form of what is now judism was quite polytheistic -- all belief systems and philosophies prior to 1500bce were.
                    Point of fact -- all belief systems and philosophies up to that point had a pantheon of 12 deities or multiple levels of deities and demi-deities comprising of 12 each.
                    And many had stories of groups of gods splitting over some insult or economic reason and one "side" becoming the 'evil' side in these celestial struggles ...

                    The classic tale of Lucifer and his family, friends and followers in its oldest form has them standing up to a hatfeul, vengeful, destructive Leader (read: whatever you call god) to prevent him from harming mankind ... lucifer means 'giver of light' and for giving man 'light'and being mankind's benefactor he was branded outlaw and had to flee the kingdom so as to not be killed and he took his family, friends and followers with him ... (the Greeks retooled this story into where one of the Titans , who were another group of gods, other than the Olympian gods, gave man the gift of fire (read: light), and was punished by being chained to a rock and having an eagle come each day for eternity to eat his liver out of his body as he watched, when the Olympian gods prevailed in their struggle with the Titans.) ... whereby Lucifer and his family, friends and followers became the 'evil' "side" in the traditions of several belief systems and philosophies and the 'good' "side" in others.

                    What is so amazing about this story is that it takes place every day, even to this day, a group will split a part for whatever reason and the results will be a 'good' side and a 'evil' side ... which is which depends on which side you were on during the split.

                    Also, there is not any one true monotheistic belief system or philosophy even today, despite what they claim.


                    • #25
                      I have checked out the website for the show and it is at

                      No one on the show claims to be an observant religious Jew.

                      Your source is not what you claim as a representative religious Jew and does not claim to be one.

                      Also, Lucifer has nothing to do with Judaism.


                      • #26
                        "Lucifer has nothing to do with Judaism" ... never said the story did Walter. But the Torah does as it relates the much older story in its earliest texts (the story is far older than the oldest texts of any Semetic belief system in the first place).

                        Also, it seems you and rabid-clam have a singulary narrow focus in common and therefore neither of you sees what is right in front of you.


                        • #27
                          Name one source that is a reliable Jewish source that supports your position.

                          Please refer to the book by Richard Elliott Friedman entitled "Who Wrote The Bible".

                          However, you do not have to be an adherent of a particular religion to have a lot of knowledge of that religion, such as many theologians do.

                          Case in point is the noted theologian, Karen Armstrong. Order the DVD by her from the History Channel which is entitled "A History of God" and you will learn of the many gods who were worshipped, not only by the Jews but by others.

                          Have you forgotten the passages of the story of the worship surrounding the golden calf and associated gods?

                          When the Jews were dissatisfied and bitter while wandering in the wilderness, some had a tendency to revert away from God, to again seek help from the other gods.



                          • #28
                            Bible Passages Regarding Jews and the gods

                            Numbers 25:3 - So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them.

                            Numbers 25:5 - So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor."

                            Judges 8:33 - No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god

                            Judges 10:6 - Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him,


                            • #29

                              Nowhere in the original Hebrew texts is Lucifer mentioned. Not in the Torah, not in the works of the prophets, not in the other holy writings.

                              Your statement is false. Only in your translation of a translation is he mentioned.


                              I will not correct the errors in the translations quoted by you because they will not change my argument.

                              I said, "The origins of Judaism as a monotheistic religion go back to Abraham 3,819 years ago. Judaism has always been monotheistic and this was made clear at the giving of the Ten Commandments 3,309 years ago. Any other statement about Judaism is WRONG!!! "

                              There is no question that for much of the time in Jewish history there has been a struggle. Judaism said and says follow the one master of the universe and do what he says. Some wanted to emulate the neighbors and follow their religious beliefs. Others just wanted to fit in with the larger society and be like everyone else.

                              There is a distinction between what the religion teaches and how well the followers observe it. I said that Judaism has always been monotheistic and that is true.

                              There are a lot of people who have never tried recreational nudity. Many claim to be experts on it and disparage it. If we want there to be a change we have to push for tolerance and accepting that others believe and practice differently.

                              Judaism is like an orchestra. There are a lot of intricate parts. Many find certain commandments to be tough. However, if one were to listen to one instrument in an orchestra, it would not sound good. It is only by hearing the entire orchestra that one can know how the parts fit together to form a harmonious stirring whole.

                              Hearing an orchestra can make one appreciate good music. However, it teaches one nothing about how an orchestra creates great music.

                              Jews who want to escape what they believe to be tough commandments and non-Jews who don't want to be confronted by them have attempted to show Judaism to be false from the beginning of Judaism. Jews practicing Judaism only ask to be left alone and not have others misunderstand our history and beliefs.

                              The interesting thing to me is that much of this thread has been based on several people asserting that it is a fact that the Bible is false. I have not asserted that anyone has to accept it as true. I merely state that it is not fact that it is false. I suggest being at least open to the possibility that it may be true.

                              Richard Elliott Friedman is not someone that starts with a firm belief in the Torah and following it. He looks for evidence to support his belief and then is convinced and makes his argument.

                              Karen Armstrong has no experience with Judaism. She has no knowledge of the Talmud or any other traditional source for interpretation.

                              Both of your sources are questionable at best and can't be relied on as sources of fact.

                              I only ask you to take the attitude that nudists ask of others. Respect others' rights to believe as they wish and practice as they wish. Don't disparage other people's beliefs and respect them.

                              Nudists are asking for nude beaches, etc. One of the rationales is that textiles don't understand nudism because textiles are convinced that nudity and sex are related. It is clear that most human beings are sexually aroused by nudity and most human beings having sex are nude. Those are facts and based on those facts I could claim that when human beings are nude together they are involved in some sort of sexual experience.

                              However, I know that some human beings experience nudity without it being a sexual experience. On the contrary, for them there is a greater sense of how great the human body is. Many have even made sure to control sexual urges so that those enjoying social nudity are far from having sexual experiences.

                              How did I learn that nudists are not involved in sexual nudity as their goal? I read what nudists said and asked them on this forum. I then experienced it myself at a beach so I could understand it better. I am glad I did because I understand now.

                              I would not go to Jerry Falwell for his understanding of nudism. I would not go to the sources you have listed for Judaism. You may not believe in Judaism and that is fine. You should not have the need to disparage it however. Otherwise, you will not be able to consistently ask textiles to understand your wanting to be nude.


                              • #30
                                Naturist Mark;

                                If I wanted to know what Catholics believe, I would not ask a Buddhist for his characterizations but ask a practicing Catholic.

                                I think you'll find that the scholar who wrote Israelite Religion to Judaism: the Evolution of the Religion of Israel, David Steinberg, is Jewish.


                                I was not characterizing what observant modern Jews believe. I was reporting what scholars - some of whom are Jewish - have to say about very early religious beliefs that eventually evolved into monotheistic Judaism.

                                I appreciate that those who have a dogmatic belief that their religion sprung sui generis are not amenable to the documentary hypothesis nor historical construction. Just take a look at Christian studies.

                                I remember a warning my class was given on our very first day in a course on the Bible, by our instructor, a Doctor of Theology at a Methodist University, "In this course we will be studying how the Bible was written in a historical and literary context. We will be covering changes made in the text, contradictions, motives of the writers, truths and lies. Anyone who is unable to deal with such subject matter due to a belief in the literal truth of the Bible, or that it is the infallible word of God, is advised to drop the course."