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Abraham's Gods: Discovering Their Human Identities

Michele Ernanades

Abstract

“Theologians from Philo of Alexandria down to the present have attempted to obscure Yahweh’s frequent appearance in the Hebrew Bible as a theomorphic human.” In this way, Harold Bloom (2005: 130) has expressed scholars’ embarrassment about marked anthropomorphism of God in some biblical tales. In this article, the author examines the nature of “Abraham’s God”, finding it incompatible with the god of the later prophetic (Mosaic) tradition. The proposed explanation is that the patriarchal stories originated as a secular family history that was re-interpreted at a later time and incorporated into the canon of the emerging religion of the people of Israel. During the reworking of the original source, a succession of Egyptian kings whom the patriarchs served was transformed into a god, who was equated with the god of the new religion. Key Words: Abraham, Genesis, patriarchs, anthropomorphism, Mitanni, Egypt

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