From the outside - an Orthodox Jew, from the inside - a Kofer
כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי
Very nice. Try to read up on Magaret Barker's scholarship should you have time. She argues that our Torah today is a redaction of older polytheistic texts (http://www.margaretbarker.com/)Consider the serpant throughout the Tanakh. We see the leviathan portrayed as an enemy of YHWH. We also see the serpant in Eden. This shows tremendous influence of near eastern mythology, for instance the egyptian sun god Ra who also was opposed by a serpant god named Apophis. The parts she mentions where YHWH in "plural" says we made man in our image I would argue are present because YHWH's wife Asherah was removed from the story. Originally both Adam and Eve were made in the image of YHWH and his wife, Asherah, hence the plural since both gods were speaking. Later after monotheism prevailed with Judea's kings shifting one temple for one national god, they have to recreate the narratives for YHWH alone. Hence Asherah was removed from the scene, and the rib story added in to create another origin for Eve; this time making YHWH alone responsible for their creation
Hi Shalmo, very interesting indeed. What book would you suggest for starters?
Too many to name. Best authors on Ancient Israel are Frank More Cross, Mark S. Smith, William G. Dever, and of course Israel Finkelstein. Myths from Mesopotamia by Stephanie Dalley has the Enuma Elish, Gilgamesh, and other myths in one volume for cheap. A somewhat decent intro book might be Karen Armstrong's A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
I would have to say the books that most interested me were; The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Israel Finkelstein; Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?; and The Bible with Sources Revealed (basically the Torah color coded to the Documentary Hypothesis with footnotes). Did God Have a Wife? by William Dever talks about the real ancient Israelites and their true polytheistic religions, not the Torah's revisionism.
Hi Shalmo, have put a whole host of books on my Wishlist now. Thanks for your help!
Canaanite Myths and Legends - John C. Gibson