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YHWH

When Did the Bible Become Monotheistic?

It is often said that monotheism is one of Judaism’s greatest contributions to Western culture; however, it is far from clear that the Hebrew Bible is monotheistic. What is monotheism and when did it first develop?

Prof.

Kenneth Seeskin

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YHWH: The Original Arabic Meaning of the Name

God reveals his name to Moses as “I am,” from the Hebrew root ה.ו.י, “being.” The name YHWH, however, originates in Midian, and derives from the Arabic term for “love, desire, or passion.”

Prof.

Israel Knohl

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Habakkuk's Mythological Depiction of YHWH

Habakkuk 3 is framed as a lament, in which the psalmist asks God to save him and his people from danger. The core of the psalm is a divine theophany, in which YHWH is described as coming from afar to battle his enemies in classic ANE mythological fashion.

Prof.

Marvin A. Sweeney

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The Psalm of the Shofar: Its Use in Liturgy and its Meaning in the Bible

Prof.

Alan Cooper

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How God's Revelation of the Name YHWH Continues to Enlighten
When God reveals the name YHWH to Moses in Exodus, he says that not even the patriarchs knew this name, yet they all use it in Genesis. Critical scholarship’s solution to this problem led to one of the most important academic innovations in biblical studies in the last three hundred years: the Documentary Hypothesis.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Who Was Balaam's God: YHWH El? Or Bull El?

Dr. Rabbi

Robert Harris

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Why Are There No Israelite Priestesses?

Hittite texts show us that in the ancient Near East, women, including the queen, served as priestesses. The biblical authors, in their fervor for YHWH, monotheism, and centralization of worship through one Temple and one priesthood, strongly objected.

Professor

Ada Taggar-Cohen

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Hovav the Midianite: Why Was the End of the Story Cut?

The Midianite Origin of YHWH and Aniconism

Prof.

Israel Knohl

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Enthroning God in the Temple with the Song of the Sea

The Song of the Sea begins with defeat of the Egyptians and ends with YHWH’s enthronement in His temple. Comparison with the Epic of Baal and Enuma Elish clarify the genre and purpose of such hymns, and a striking parallel with Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8 offers a clue to the original context of this ancient song.

Rabbi

Daniel M. Zucker

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Balaam the Seer: From the Bible to the Deir ʿAlla Inscription

What we know about where he lived, the language he spoke, and the gods he worshiped.

Prof.

Carl S. Ehrlich

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Why Is the Torah Divided into Five Books?

The division of the Torah into five books is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, yet this division may be ancient and inherent. Already in Second Temple times, Philo speaks of it, and by the early first millenium C.E., the Torah became known by the Greek name, Pentateuch, literally, “five scrolls.” Is this division due to practical, thematic, or symbolic considerations?

Dr.

Elaine Goodfriend

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How Does God Answer the Question: "What Is Your Name?"

A redaction-critical answer to why the Torah has God commanding Moses to tell the Israelites two different names, Ehyeh and YHWH.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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In the Presence of God

The Difference between God’s “Name (שם)” and “Presence (כבוד)”

Dr.

Michael Carasik

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YHWH: The God that Is vs. the God that Becomes

The meaning of God’s names, especially YHWH, is central to Jewish theology. Two approaches have dominated: the philosophical, focusing on God’s essence (“being”) and the kabbalistic, focusing on God’s evolving relationship with Israel (“becoming”). Some modern thinkers such as Malbim and Heschel have looked for new syntheses or formulations.

Prof.

James A. Diamond

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Judean Life in Babylonia

Upon the conquest of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar deported many Judeans to Babylonia. What was their life like there? Were they assimilated, or did they stand out? What language(s) did they speak and what religious practices did they maintain? What was their social and economic standing? Babylonian records allow us glimpses into the lives of some of the deportees.

Dr.

Laurie Pearce

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