Gods in the Bible
Many people think of the Bible as a "monotheistic" book. However, biblical references to ancient gods are more complex than that lens assumes. Who are the many gods featured in the Bible? Who honored them? What did biblical authors say about them? What are the relationships between these gods and the patron god of ancient Israel and Judah? Through critical reading of biblical passages as well as an introduction to ancient Near Eastern deities, we will develop a taxonomy of divine beings mentioned in the Bible. For example, we will identify storm-gods, creator-gods, death-gods, and sea-gods. We will determine which divine beings are presented as rivals to the god of Israel and Judah, and which are presented as being under his authority. We will explore the question of whether or not ancient Israelites thought that their god had a wife. We will also investigate examples of humans being labeled as gods after death.