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RELG 201 (27)


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Religious Studies
RELG 201
Eric Bellavance

Canaanites - Occupied area near Judea before the Israelites were there - Canaan = the promised land (as referred to in the Hebrew bible) - Worshipped a god mentioned several times in the Hebrew bible – Baal o Eventually became the arch-enemy of Yahweh in the Hebrew bible o Many Israelites when they moved there began to worship Baal o Baal is a fertility god - In 1929 several documents were discovered in Ugarit (a city in modern Syria) that showed that Baal was the hero of several myths (v. shocking – before that he was little known other than what is above) o Discovered when a goat fell into a hole and turns out that the hole was a v. ancient tomb o At that time the area was controlled by the French and they began to excavate around the tomb – they discovered the ancient city of Ugarit (they knew about it b/c it was mentioned in several texts, but no one knew where it was) - Ugarit – v. impt city in the 2 half of the 2 millennium th - Found only ruins – Ugarit was destroyed in the 12 century - The tablets they found described the religion of the people who were living in that region – before not known at all o Written in cuneiform but it was really an alphabet – v. limited number of signs o Very close to Hebrew/Arabic/Aramaic so it was easy to decipher the Ugaritic language - Religion of Canaan o El – generally translated as god, singular o Elohim – plural form of El; can also be used to describe the gods of the other nations o Yahweh o Was thought that El was not a personal name, just meant god – but in fact, when these tablets were discovered in Ugarit, scholars found that El was actually the main god of the Canaanites o El was worshipped by the patriarchs in the Bible (Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, etc – AFTER the Yahweh name was presented to Moses) o Biblical scholars thought for centuries that El was just a general term for Yahweh – now w/ the tablets, this creates a bit of a problem for them o El was worshipped in the region for many years before the Israelites arrived in the region o In the book of Exodus, Yahweh says “I appeared t
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