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Old 08-23-2010, 11:52 AM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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There is historical evidence that El was the supreme god of Babylon. The understanding was the YHWH was a son of El. El "gave" the land of Canaan to YHWH, to rule over the Israelites and Judaeans. Later, Babylon (the great empire that swallowed Israel and Judah for a while) was seen as evil and the ruling class of Judah, the Levites, wanted to distance themselves from El. So, instead of denying him (since he was too great) they conflated him with YHWH. Then the word el came to mean just "god." Also, YHWH was conflated with another god/dess, El Shaddai, commonly translated as God Almighty (but there is evidence shaddai could mean breasts, therefore, the Breasted God/dess).

Along the way, Asherah, a major goddess of Canaan, was seen as the consort of El, Ba'al and YHWH (hey, polyandry!). Later, she was called an abomination by the Levites responsible for writing down much of the Torah and Prophets. But her image stood in the pre-monotheistic Judaean temple for centuries.


Love that crazy mixed-up Levantine history!
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