WHAT IS YOUR GOD? A CLASSIC PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE ON אלי -X THEOPHORY IN THE HEBREW BIBLE

  • Jaco Gericke North-West University (Vaal Campus)

Abstract

What, according to the Hebrew Bible, was a god assumed to be? In this article the author looks at data potentially relevant to any attempt at answering this question within a sub-type of ×ל theophory in the Hebrew Bible. These involve personal names that can be rendered into English as “My god is xâ€, where x denotes a phenomenon the deity is prima facie wholly identified with. The approach adopted by the study is philosophical in general and descriptively metaphysical in particular. The objective is to provide an experimental clarification of this particular sub-type of proper names in Biblical Hebrew with the aid of technical conceptual distinctions found within mainstream interpretations of Aristotle’s theory of predication.

References

Albertz, R 1992. History of Israelite religion: from the beginnings to the end of the monarchy. Westminster: John Knox Press.

Angelelli, I 2004. Relations and predicates, in Hochberg and Mulligan 2004:55–80.

Aristotle, 1963. Aristotle's Categories and de Interpretatione. Translated with notes by Ackrill, J L. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

_______ 1971, Aristotle: Metaphysics Books Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Translated by Kirwan, DA. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

______ 1994a. Posterior analytics, Second edition, translated with a commentary by Barnes, J. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

______ 1994b. Metaphysics Books Z and H. Translated with a commentary by Bostock, S D. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

______ 1997. Topics Books I and VIII, with excerpts from related texts. Translated with a commentary by Smith, R. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bäck, A T 2000. Aristotle's theory of predication. Leiden: Brill.

Bogen, J & McGuire, J E (eds) 1985. How things are: studies in predication and the history of philosophy. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Botterweck, G J and Ringgren, H (eds) 1974. Theological dictionary of the Old Testament. Volume 1. Translated by John T Willis. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans.

Burnett, J S 2001. A reassessment of biblical Elohim. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press. Code, A 1985. On the origins of some Aristotelian theses about predication, in Bogen & McGuire 1985:101–131.

Corkum, P 2013. Aristotle on predication, European Journal of Philosophy 23/3:793–813. DOI: 10.1111/ejop.12054. [Accessed: 2015/07/15].

Duerlinger, J 1970. Predication and inherence in Aristotle's Categories, Phronesis 15:179–203.

Fowler, J D 1988. Theophoric personal names in ancient Hebrew. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 49. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Gericke, J W 2009. What is an ×ל ? A philosophical analysis of the concept of generic godhood in the Hebrew Bible, Old Testament Essays 22/1:20–45. Gyekye, K 1974. Aristotle and a modern notion of predication, Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 15/4:615–618.

Hermann, W 1999. s.v. El, in van der Toorn, Becking & van den Horst 1999:274–280. Hess, R B 1998. Issues in the study of personal names in the Hebrew Bible, Currents in Research: Biblical Studies 6:175–178.

Hochberg, H and Mulligan, K (eds.) 2004. Relations and predicates. Frankfurt a.M.: Ontos Verlag.

Ignacio A & María, C (eds) 1996. Studies on the history of logic. Proceedings of the III. Symposium on the History of Logic. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Jenni, E & Westermann, C (eds) 1994. Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament (THAT), 2 Bde. München: Chr. Kaiser Verlag.

Lawton, R B 1977. Israelite personal names on Hebrew inscriptions antedating 500 B.C.E. PhD dissertation. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

McKirahan, R 2001. Aristotle’s theory of predication, Apeiron 34/4:321–328.

McClellan, D O 2013. You will be like the gods: the conceptualization of deity in the Bible in cognitive perspective. Unpublished Masters dissertation.Langley: Trinity Western University.

Mesquita, A P 2012. Types of predication in Aristotle (Posterior Analytics I 22), Journal of Ancient Philosophy VI/2:1–27 Mignucci, M 1996. Aristotle’s theory of predication, in Ignacio & María 1996:1–20.

Miller P D et al. (eds) 1987. Ancient Israelite religion. Essays in honor of Frank Moore Cross. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Moravcsik, J M E 1967. Aristotle on predication, Philosophical Review 76:80–96. Noth, M 1928.

Die Israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der geminsemitischen Namengebung. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

Pike, D M 1990. Israelite theophoric personal names in the Bible and their implications for religious history. Available: http://repository. upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9112609 [Accessed 2015/06/02].

Ringgren, H 1974. s.v. ××œ×”×™× Ê¾elÅhîm, in Botterweck and Ringgren 1974:267–284.

Rechenmacher, H 1997. Personennamen als theologische Aussagen: die syntaktischen und semantischen Strukturen der satzhaften theophoren Personennamen in der hebräischen Bibel. St. Ottilien: EOS-Verlag.

Robertson, T & Atkins, P, 2013. Essential vs. accidental properties, in Zalta 2013:no pages. Schmidt, W H 1994 s.v. ×ילהלי×, in Jenni & Westermann 1994:331–347.

Schwennen, J 1995. Biblische Eigennamen: Gottes-, Personen- und Ortsnamen im Alten Testament. Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler.

Smith, M S 2001. The origins of biblical monotheism: Israel’s polytheistic background and the Ugaritic texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stuhlman, D D 2004. Hebrew names and name authority in library catalogs. PhD thesis. Skokie: Jewish University of America Press.

Smith, H 1907. Theophorous proper names in the Old Testament, The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 24/1:34–61.

Smith, R 2015. Aristotle's logic, in Zalta 2015:no pages.

Tigay, J H 1986. You shall have no other gods. Israelite religion in light of Hebrew inscriptions. Atlanta: Scholars’ Press.

_______ 1987. Israelite religion: the onomastic and epigraphic evidence, in Miller et al. 1987:157–194.

_______ 2004. What’s in a name?, Bible Review 20/1:34–43.

Van der Toorn, K 1999. s.v. God 1, in van der Toorn, Becking and van der Horst 1999:911–919.

Van der Toorn, K, Becking, B & van den Horst, PW (eds) 1999. Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible. Leiden: Brill.

Wardlaw, T R 2008. Conceptualizing words for “God†within the Pentateuch: a cognitive-semantic investigation in literary context. New York: T&T Clark.

Weiss, P F D 1952. Die teofore geografiese naam van die Ou Testament. Kaapstad/Pretoria: HAUM.

Zalta, E N (ed.) 2013. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Winter 2013 edition. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/ win2013/entries/essential-accidental/ [Accessed 2015/06/10].

_______ 2015. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. 2015 edition. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2015/entries/aristotle-logic/ [Accessed 2015/06/19]. Zevit, Z 2001. The religions of ancient Israel: a synthesis of parallactic approaches. London and New York: Continuum.

Published
2017-05-09
Section
Back Isssues