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Amen-Re and Jewish Monotheism
In Response To: Re: Alexander and monotheism ()

Joe,

It's easier to answer your second question first. Yes the development of Jewish monotheism (derived from the Upper Egyptian cult of Amen-Re) was well under way in Egypt prior to the conquest of Nebuchadnezzar. The priestly and noble families of Upper Egypt in question had been relocated to Mesopotamia before it was arranged for them to take possession of Judea as part of an overall strategy of Persian control. Other loyalist Jews (former Upper Egyptian nobles) were given influential concessions in other places as well.

The transfer of the Upper Egyptian Amen cult to Palestine was dictated by typology or tradition, which should come as no surprise to you. Essentially, the Amen-Re cult had to be adapted in such a way that it would be considered appropriate for the region of traditional Israel. In particular this required some creative incorporation of the original Moses religion and whatever other cults were generally accepted in Israel.

Unfortunately we don't know exactly what the real, historical Moses instituted in Israel, that is Hammurabi the predecessor of Abi-eshuuh/Salitis/Joshua. Hammurabi was himself revered as an incarnation of Marduk-Re! There is in fact considerable sun-cult imagery in the Exodus account of Moses. We also get some other indications from archaeology that cult practice in Israel during the "United Kingdom" was very different than in later Judaism, e.g., the artifact referring to "YHWH and his Asherah"!

I don't want to oversimplify this topic. I think it is a difficult one and it may be impossible to know exactly what YHWH represented to pre-Persian residents of Judea. It might have originally been the title used by Edomites for Amen/Jehovah or even some another deity. However, the main interest of the Jewish nobility setting up shop in Israel in the Persian era was to transform those traditional practices into something compatible with their own preferred religion, the one they lorded over in their former glory days in Egypt.

And now on to your first question ...

The timeline for the transformation could be deduced from the Old Testament histories themselves. This is something I have not pursued, but I have talked about it some with Oscar Calle Mesa, who has translated my books into Spanish. This is one of his own personal interests. Basically it involves determining the accuracy of the biblical histories up to the time of the fall of Jerusalem (Thebes) as compared with what we now know about events in Upper Egypt from archaeology. From this we should be able to estimate how long after the events the histories were written. Oscar probably has some other criteria he would recommend. Obviously the terminus would be the early Ptolemaic period when the Septuagint was produced.

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