Wayne Dynes has a fascinating post - far beyond my own expertise. Money quote:

What I am concerned with is Wieseltier’s conventional assumption of the pure monotheism of historic Judaism. (Hat tip to the blog Jewishatheist.blogspot.com, from which I take several pertinent examples.)

The Hebrew bible contains many names of God or Gods. Orthodox Jews maintain that every name refers to the same God, except those terms which designate the false deities of other religions. Some of the names, however, are strikingly similar to the names of gods from the polytheistic religions surrounding ancient Israel.

The Hebrew bible contains many names of God or Gods. Orthodox Jews maintain that every name refers to the same God, except those terms which designate the false deities of other religions. Some of the names, however, are strikingly similar to the names of gods from the polytheistic religions surrounding ancient Israel.

A major turning point was the uncovering, beginning in 1928, of religious documents in Ugarit (Ras Shamra), an ancient city on the coast of Syria. The excavations uncovered a vast royal palace, several imposing private dwellings, and two private libraries that contained diplomatic, legal, economic, administrative, scholastic, literary and religious texts written on clay tablets. Crowning the hill where the city was built were two major temples: one dedicated to Baal the "king," son of El, and one to Dagon, the chthonic god of fertility and cereals.

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