Yahweh

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Yahweh (Hebrew: יהוה, YHWH - the unvocalised YHWH is the only form that appeared in Hebrew before 800 CE, and Yahweh is a modern "best guess" scholarly convention), also Yahu, is a god in ancient Semitic religion and notably the god of Israel in the Hebrew Bible.

The Bible describes Yahweh as the one true God who delivered Israel from Egypt and gave the Ten Commandments: "Then God spoke all these words. He said, ‘I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. You shall have no other gods to rival me.’”[1] Yahweh revealed himself to Israel as a God who would not permit his people to make idols or follow gods of other nations[2] or worship gods known by other names, "I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, or My praise to idols."[3] Yahweh demanded the role of the one true God in the hearts and minds of Israel, "Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one: and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."[4]

Modern Biblical scholars, using source criticism, find different treatments of Yahweh in the four distinct, major sources that were redacted into the Torah.[5] For example, in the Jahwist source (which was written c 950 BCE[6]), Yahweh is anthropomorphic, visits people, and use the name Yahweh prior to Exodus 3.[7] In the Elohist source (c 850 BCE[8]), Yahweh is typically referred to as Elohim, and he appears more impersonal (for example, speaking through dreams and angels rather than appearing in person).[9] In the the Deuteronomist source (c 650–651 BCE[8]), Yahweh is particularly concerned with whether Judah’s kings were good or bad and with centralized temple worship.[10] The Priestly source (c 550–400[8]) portrays Yahweh as acting through the Aaronid priesthood and temple-based sacrificial system.[11]

The history of the emergence of Israelite monotheism and Yahweh worship has been the subject of scholarly study since at least the 19th century and Julius Wellhausen'’s Prolegomena to the History of Israel; in the 20th century the formative work was William F. Albright's Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan (1968), which insisted on the essential otherness of Yahweh from the Canaanite gods from the very beginning of Israel's history. However, scholars of the Ancient Near East have since seen Yahweh worship as emerging from a West Semitic and Canaanite background,[12][13] a later, more gradual phenomenon than has been assumed.[14] Worship of Yahweh alone is a central idea of historical Judaism.[15] Much of Christianity views Jesus as the human incarnation of Yahweh[16], for details see Names of God in Christianity. The importance of the divine name and the character of the “one true God” revealed as Yahweh are often contrasted with the significantly different character of rival deities known by different names in the traditional polytheistic religions.[17] Some scholars, including William G. Dever, have asserted that the Asherah was worshipped as a consort of Yahweh, until the 6th century BCE, when strict monolatry of Yahweh became prevalent in the wake of the destruction of the first temple.[18][19] However, the consort hypothesis has been subject to debate with numerous scholars publishing disagreement.[20]

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