Reblogging for future reference.
The Early History of God was a seminal work first published in 1990, wherein Mark Smith attempts to construct a history of god. Published in 2002, the second edition provides references to additional work from between 1990 and 2002. His basic goal is accomplished. He does well in presenting a history of ancient Israelite religion which employs relevant Canaanite evidence, demonstrating how Israel was remarkably similar to its neighbors. In time, though, various cultural and political factors led to the progressive establishment of monotheism, wherein Israel become truly unique among its neighbors.
In general, I found the book the be interesting; however, I struggled with getting on board with Mark Smith’s methodology. For example, his book is primarily focused on the Hebrew Bible and extant texts (i.e. inscriptions and Ugaritic materials) in order to construct a history of Israelite religion, particularly the history of God. For many of his claims…
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