Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (The Biblical Resource Series) Paperback – August 3, 2002
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"Review of the first editon ? Smith deserves a very careful and appreciative hearing. . . This book provides a feast for the attentive reader and concerned scholar."
The Christian Century
"Review of the first editon ? Smith assembles and analyzes a tremendous array of archaeological and textual evidence to challenge the notion of Israel's religious distinctiveness. . . The implications of this insight for theological reflection on Judaism are incalculable."
Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"Review of the first editon ? It is rare to find a book so steeped in the primary evidence of texts and history and so thoroughly conversant with the nuances of recent scholarly discussion. . . Smith's admirable erudition and discerning judgment will make this book required reading for present and future generations of biblical scholars and students."
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"Review of the first editon ? The notes are a treasury of information and resources for scholars, yet the treatment is one that an informed reader can follow. . . One is left with both respect for Smith's contribution and also a clear awareness of how it cuts against the basic grain of the biblical text itself."
From the Back Cover
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 83%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top Customer Reviews
Smith's thesis is that the development of monolatry (which preceeded monotheism) in Israel began with a process of convergence and differentiation. "Covergence," he writes, "involved the coalescence of various deities and/or some of their features into the figure of Yahweh" (7). And differentiation was the process of Israel rejecting its Caananite heritage, creating a separate identity (8).
So, he writes, "The issue is not one of identifying the earliest instances of monolatry; rather, the old question of explaining monotheism becomes a new issue of accounting for the phenomenon of convergence, a stage in Israelite religion older than the appearance of monolatry" (197).
The deity Yahweh apparently came to Israel from Edom or another southern location (Smith discusses this in another book, "The Origins of Biblical Monotheism"). He was incorporated into Israel's pantheon, which was Canaanite: it featured the deities El, Baal, Anat and Asherah prominently. Smith has a lot of experience with the Ugaritic texts, which record Canaanite religion similar to what Israel must have inherited, so he has the ability to find ways that Yahweh has taken over the features of Canaanite gods.Read more ›
Smith definitely draws heavily on the scholarship of Frank Moore Cross, Jr. and Marvin H. Pope, and their students, such as John Day (e.g., Molech: a god of human sacrifice in the Old Testament) and W.R. Garr (e.g., Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine: 1100-586BC).
The book is extremely well footnoted, making it valuable even if you don't buy all his arguments.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some facts mixed in with lots of wishful thinking. Avoid if you want to be informed without bias. Got the feeling that the 6th century BCE Old Testametn kept being rammed into... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Severo
Wonderful, well researched book of how the modern, Western idea of monotheism arose among the ancient Israelites. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kindle Customer
Captivating, well-sourced, and incredibly interesting. Although somewhat technical, I had a wonderful and easy time understanding the book with little background information.Published 12 months ago by Kyle Brooks
In The Early History of God Mark S. Smith argues that Jewish monotheism is the end result of an evolution from Hebrew polytheism to Israelite monolatry to monotheism. Read morePublished 13 months ago by John Engelman
An excellent resource for information on the Christian God.Published 18 months ago by Micheal D. Frantz
This is a very interesting reconstruction of the history of God in early Israel. Admittedly someone speculative because the very nature of the evidence itself has to be... Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. W. Zents
This book provides a scholarly overview of Israelite monolatry and monotheism. It talks about what Yahweh had in common with other gods, what separated him from them and how he... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Gerald