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Oliver's absolutism

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Q 109

Submitted by zzazzeefrazzee (United States), Mar 20, 2008 at 12:53

"Deny that 'Allah' was the NAME to the 'chief god' of the pre-Islamic pagan pantheon."

That is one view (You've never stated your source- could it be Robert Morley?) Did you even bother to look at any of the references I posted on pagan monotheism? Religious life in Arabia? there are some very interesting arguments and observations made therein, and they do not always neatly coincide with Morley's views. Furthermore, while you assert scriptural hegemony, you never address the fact that the Jews also very likely had a similar arrangement with respect to their own evolution from pagan belief to monotheism. In that respect, was YHVH a name known to Abraham? Some have argued that this name "revealed" to Moses, was the name of a Canaanite God. Of course, those who assert the inerrancy of the bible are loathe to acknowledge such archaeological evidence.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica entry for "Judaism":

Historical and anthropological studies present formidable objections to the continuity of YHWH worship from Adam (the biblical first man) to Moses. The Hebrew tradition itself, moreover, does not unanimously support even the more modest claim of the continuity of YHWH worship from Abraham to Moses. This lack of continuity is demonstrated in Exodus 6:3, which says that God revealed himself to the patriarchs not as YHWH but as El Shaddai—an archaic epithet of unknown meaning that is not specifically Israelite but is found throughout the patriarchal narratives and in the Book of Job. The epithet El Elyon (God Most High) also appears frequently in the patriarchal narratives. Neither of these epithets is used in postpatriarchal narratives (excepting the Book of Ruth). Other compounds with El are unique to Genesis: El Olam (God the Everlasting One), El Bethel (God Bethel), and El Ro'i (God of Vision). An additional peculiarity of the patriarchal stories is their use of the phrase "God of my [your, his] father." All these epithets have been taken as evidence that patriarchal religion differed from the worship of YHWH that began with Moses. A relation to a patron god was defined by revelations starting with Abraham (who never refers to the God of his father) and continuing with a succession of "founders" of his worship. Attached to the founder and his family, as befits the patron of wanderers, this unnamed deity acquired various Canaanite epithets (El, Elyon, Olam, Bethel, Qone Eretz ["Possessor of the Land"]) only after their immigration into Canaan. Whether the name of YHWH was known to the patriarchs is doubtful. It is significant that while the epithets Shaddai and El occur frequently in pre-Mosaic and Mosaic-age names, YHWH appears as an element only in the names of Yehoshua' (Joshua) and perhaps of Jochebed—persons who were closely associated with Moses.


And in the entry on "Yahweh":

After the Exile (6th century BC), and especially from the 3rd century BC on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun Elohim, meaning "god," tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel's God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai ("My Lord"), which was translated as Kyrios ("Lord") in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.

"Deny the Islam demands that the true god be called by the NAME 'Allah'."

I've already told you that Persianate Muslims happily also employ the term "khuda", as do non-Muslim Persian speakers.

"Admit that, as far as Arabic speaking 'Christians' are concerned, 'allah' is merely the contracted form of 'al-ilah' and is as generic in nature as 'ilah' is."

Finally, we are getting somewhere Oliver!

"Admit that 'allah' is not the NAME of the god of Christianity nor the NAME of the god of Judaism."

By that same standard, then "theos" is not the god of Judaism either, hence Christianity is NOT a part of the Jewish tradition then, is it? The Greek translation of YHWH as Κυριος- which in Arabic becomes "Rabb" , a term used by both Arabic Speaking Christians and Muslims alike. Are these altogether different Gods? Or translations of a name of God?

The funny thing is this; when did I ever claim that Judaism, Christianity and Islam must have the exact same views of God? My point is primarily linguistic; note that I also never discounted Dhimmi's contention that Allah may be derived from the Syriac "aliha"; a word that Christ himself may very well have employed.

In the end, I still find the accusations of blasphemy hurled at Arabic speaking Christians to be highly odious. It is akin to an argument made by certain zealots who state the Star of David is a false symbol, which is really the star of of the pagan god Remphran. Do you think that modern Jews are "blaspheming" when they employ the Star of David as a symbol?

Submitting....

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