Synopses & Reviews
In this remarkable, acclaimed history of the development of monotheism, Mark S. Smith explains how Israel's religion evolved from a cult of Yahweh as a primary deity among many to a fully defined monotheistic faith with Yahweh as sole god. Repudiating the traditional view that Israel was fundamentally different in culture and religion from its Canaanite neighbors, this provocative book argues that Israelite religion developed, at least in part, from the religion of Canaan. Drawing on epigraphic and archaeological sources, Smith cogently demonstrates that Israelite religion was not an outright rejection of foreign, pagan gods but, rather, was the result of the progressive establishment of a distinctly separate Israelite identity. This thoroughly revised second edition of "The Early History of God includes a substantial new preface by the author and a foreword by Patrick D. Miller.
About the Author
Mark S. Smith is the Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Deities in Israel in the period of the Judges -- Yahweh and Baal -- Yahweh and Asherah -- Yahweh and the sun -- Yahwistic cultic practices -- The origins and development of Israelite monotheism -- Postscript : portraits of Yahweh.