The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (Paperback)
Foreword by Patrick D. Miller In this remarkable, acclaimed history of the development of monotheism, Mark S. Smith explains how Israel's religion evolved from a cult of Yahweh as a primary deity among many to a fully defined monotheistic faith with Yahweh as sole god. Repudiating the traditional view that Israel was fundamentally different in culture and religion from its Canaanite neighbors, this provocative book argues that Israelite religion developed, at least in part, from the religion of Canaan. Drawing on epigraphic and archaeological sources, Smith cogently demonstrates that Israelite religion was not an outright rejection of foreign, pagan gods but, rather, was the result of the progressive establishment of a distinctly separate Israelite identity. This thoroughly revised second edition ofThe Early History of God includes a substantial new preface by the author and a foreword by Patrick D. Miller.
Mark S. Smith is Helena Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary. His other books include The Memoirs of God: History, Memory, and the Experience of the Divine and Where the Gods Are: Spatial Dimensions of Anthropomorphism in the Biblical World.