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p.3 Heiser’s Questionable scholarly references

Now we come to those whom Heiser depends on to prove his theoretical presuppositions. The most quoted in the various works are Mark Smith and Lowell K. Handy, Cross, Macdonald, Alan F. Segal, Hurtado, Eugene Ulrich, the Anchor bible, Gerald Cooke, Matitiahu Tsevat, Theodore Mullen (others Frank Cross and Max Muller, and Emmanuel Tov)

Many of the same quotes from these authors are referenced, repeated throughout his books because of the same subject matter. The numerous quantity of quotes makes him look like he did meticulous research. It is these same names that Heiser depends on for his research and development of his theories to become proof to the readership.

Heiser is an ecumenist on history, he will draw from nearly anything available that he agrees with without discerning the background of the authors. ‘The academic scholars say this, and these scholars say that’; these are his ‘peer reviewed academics.’ Heiser is not a conservative academic and neither are most of the authors that he quotes from to prove his theories. Many of the authors are non believing Jews in the Messiah, some are secular Jews, still others are Roman Catholic, still others hold interfaith concepts.

These scholars are those who do not believe the Bible, who do not use faith! This is why they, (and Heiser) can use pagan wrings, legends, non canonical books and have them presented as equal to the Scripture.

The majority of these scholars Heiser quotes for his theory believe Israel copied the Ugarit in the revelation of God. When the fact is God spoke against the other religions in Canaan and told Israel to have nothing to do with them. These warnings are all through the Old Testament, i.e. the books from Moses. When learning of these authors that he uses to support his many unfactual fanciful/mythical theories we can only come to the conclusion that DR. Heiser is no friend to the Christianity that uses the bible as its revelation.

The implications of his authors influence is an overthrow of ones faith, that God gave Moses a direct revelation of himself. We need to consider that Modernists (post modernists) teach that the Bible did not come to us by direct revelation from God, or by the Holy Spirit moving his chosen holy men to write, (2 Timothy3:16-17) but is strictly a human evolutionary process of men borrowing from other legends and using their own predilection of whom they want God to be, forming a religion.

Merrill Unger (Unger Dictionary) warns against the hermeneutical methods of men like Heiser that use the Ugarit, saying, “It seems inconceivable that the Holy Spirit would have used an epic so contaminated with heathen philosophy as a source of spiritual truth. The employment of a poetical form or a certain type of meter as a vehicle for the expression of spiritual truth, of which there are clear Old Testament examples taken from contemporary literature, is an entirely different matter.”

I will use a few quotes of each of these authors for the reader to understand how Heiser uses them to prop up his many unbiblical theories. Also the background of their beliefs (what I could find) to bring clarity to their conclusions.

I do not see Heiser say anyone is wrong except for those who oppose his council of Gods theory, he also plays fast and loose with the quotes he uses. Ignoring what these authors he quotes from actually believe.

Alan Segal founding member of the Society of Biblical Literature program unit on Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism. His award-winning book, (1990) Paul the Convert: The Apostasy and Apostolate of Saul of Tarsus was Editor's Choice and main selection of the History Book Club's summer 1990 list, and a selection of the Book of the Month Club. The 368 page book is a collection of studies that interprets Paul within the context of Jewish mysticism and history.

Segal has said, “I cannot tell you what it means to confess Jesus as the "Son of God" because I am not a Christian. And I do not believe that it is productive to argue over what people mean when they confess it.”

Segal being non-believing argues in his book Paul the Convert that despite Paul's polemical rhetoric, the Jewish community must nevertheless consider the historical value of Paul's epistles because of the insights he provides into first century Hellenistic Judaism. What he excludes is what Paul wrote of Jesus who was rejected by his own people of that day.

He examines Paul through the lens of ‘Jewish Merkabah mysticism’ and the Rabbinic tradition – a pioneering method of study of the New Testament. Segal argues that in order to understand Paul thoroughly, one must understand the circumstances of his time and culture, which certainly is partly true. Segal draws similarities between things like Paul's description of his conversion on the road to Damascus (2 Cor. 12:1-9) and Ezekiel and Enoch's heavenly ascent. [1] : 39–47  He argues that Paul's emphasis on the Glory of God (Kavod) in these stories is characteristic of the Merkabah mystic tradition. This exegesis Segal engages in supposedly provides a rare insight into first century thinking. underline mine

Segal understands Paul as part of Jewish history; he interprets Paul's conversion as an apostasy and a break from Judaism because of his insistence on transformation in Christ, [1] : 117 

What is Merkabah mysticism (Heb., ‘Chariot’ mysticism). Jewish speculations on God 's throne. Later Jewish mystics speculated on the prophet Ezekiel's vision of God's chariot, and such study was recognized to have particular dangers to untutored minds. Johanan ben Zakkai was a practitioner of merkabah mysticism, and early accounts of his experience (e.g. in a Cairo Genizah fragment) so closely resemble the accounts of Saul/ Paul's Damascus road experience (with the obvious exception of the perception of Jesus) that it seems virtually certain that Saul had been an adept also.” (Encyclopdia.com)

Heiser refers to Alan F. Segal, Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (repr., Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012);

Quotes of Segal from Dr. Heiser

Heiser uses Segal’s The belief in two powers in heaven was a contributing factor in the advent of what scholars have termed “binitarian monotheism” in Second Temple period Judaism (Hurtado 1999), which in turn contributes to our understanding of the advent of NT Christology” (ANGELS WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT GOD’S HEAVENLY HOST also ‘Does Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible Demonstrate an Evolution From Polytheism to Monotheism in Israelite Religion?’ Michael Heiser)

Those not biblically astute or trained are trying to discover what it all means by their intellect alone. It’s basically guesswork, assumption on display, as they compare the Scripture to the ancient myths to find parallels and correlation to present their theory

What Segal and so many others do is quote Jewish scholars and try to make sense out of their non belief in Christianity. What matters is what God said in Scripture and what it means in context. But to the academics God does not have the last word; they do.

Quotes of Segal from Heiser; who quotes one academic, who quotes another academic that quotes or refers to Muller .

Max Müller

During Müller’s lifetime his ideas were strongly contested by scholars of comparative religions. Many found his reliance upon the Rigveda in studying the origin of religions unwarranted and his naturalizing interpretations of mythology strained.

What is important to know is that Max Müller rejected any reliance on divine revelation. Müller’s views on religion were shaped by German idealism and the comparative study of language. Where he derived the conviction that at the of heart religion is a consciousness of the Infinite; from the latter he formed the belief that religion could only be understood through comparison. As he famously put it, “He who knows one, knows none.”

Max Müller is considered a Vedantist of Vedantists. Said to have caught the real soul of the melody of the Vedanta, in the midst of all its settings of harmonies and discords — the one light that lightens the sects and creeds of the world, the Vedanta, the one principle of which all religions are only applications. And what was Ramakrishna Paramahamsa?

He saw the gods of the Rig-Veda as active forces of nature, only partly personified as imagined supernatural persons. He often compared Christianity to religions that many traditional Protestants would have regarded as primitive or false, he grounded his Perennialism in a belief that Christianity possessed the fullest truth of all living religions. [16] : 109–10

His focus was on how religion is possible; how human beings, such as we are, come to have any religion at all; what religion is, and how it came to be what it is.” In pursuing this aim he rejected any reliance on divine revelation—a move more unusual then than now—and sought to limit himself to (https://www.britannica.com/science/senses) sense perception and reason, two universally accepted sources of knowledge. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Heiser quotes Müller far less than most authors but is none the less significant for his theory on the ugarit : Quoting Max Müller’s seminal work on the subject , Yusa writes that henotheism was a technical term coined “to designate a peculiar form of polytheism . . . [where] each god is, ‘at the time a real divinity, supreme and absolute’ not limited by the powers of any other gods.” (Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? and in ‘THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH LITERATURE) Yusa, “Henotheism,” ER 6:266. Yusa is quoting from F. Max Müller, Selected Essays on Language, Mythology, and Religion, vol. 2(1881; repr. New York: AMS Press, 1978), 136-137.

Müller called this idea “belief in single gods . . . a worship of one god after another.”59 T. J. Meek referred to preexilic Israelite religion as both henotheistic and monolatrous,60… H. H. Rowley, reacting to the work of Meek, moved toward the idea of uniqueness but did so using the word “henotheism.” What distinguished Mosaic religion in his mind from that of other “henotheists” was “not so much the teaching that Yahweh was to be the only God for Israel as the,proclamation that Yahweh was unique.”61 Rowley’s focus on uniqueness was on the right track, but his approach has the disadvantage of trying to convince the academic community to redefine a term whose meaning by now is entrenched. (Heiser, Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible)

In 1891, at a meeting of the Established Presbytery of Glasgow , Mr. Thomson (Minister of Ladywell) moved a motion that Müller's teaching was "subversive of the Christian faith, and fitted to spread pantheistic and infidel views amongst the students and others" and questioned Müller's appointment as lecturer. [31] An even stronger attack on Müller was made by Monsignor Alexander Munro in St Andrew's Cathedral . Munro, an officer of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland (and Provost of the Catholic Cathedral of Glasgow from 1884 to 1892), declared that Müller's lectures "were nothing less than a crusade against Divine revelation , against Jesus Christ, and against Christianity". The blasphemous lectures were, he continued, "the proclamation of atheism under the guise of pantheism" and "uprooted our idea of God, for it repudiated the idea of a personal God". [32]

Müller is not alone in this endeavor as so many of these so called scholars attack the revelation of God, making one doubt as Satan did to Eve.

There are many who Heiser refers to that teach of Israel using the Ugarit. Ziony Zevit maintains that Ps. 82 is yet another Canaanite hymn that has been Yahwinized and because of that the text, as other Psalms borrowed from Ugarit, manifests corruption and confusion (Ziony Zevit, Israelite Religions: A Parallatic Synthesis (New York: Continuum, 2001), Conclusion.).

Frank M. Cross form Harvard University. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel by Frank Moore Cross, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973) 1–76, 186–94;

Frank Cross (a Harvard professor) says that early Israelite religion emerged from the Canaanite culture; and explores the tension between the mythic and the historical in Israel’s religious expression.

The essays which follow are preliminary studies directed toward a new synthesis of the history of the religion of Israel . Each study is addressed to a special and, in my view, unsolved problem in the description of Israel’s religious development. The barriers in the way of progress toward a new synthesis are many.” The substitution of Yahweh for ‘El in the first position would be natural when Yahweh became the principal cult name : yahwe zz? Yahwe (saba’ot, and so on) (p.71 Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel, Frank Moore Cross)

“In the pre-Yahwistic phase of the religion of the patriarchal folk, we can discern both historical and mythic features. On theone hand, there was the cult of the Divine Kinsman, the tutelary deity who entered into an intimate relationship with a social group, established its justice, and directed its battles. This is Alt's divine type, "the god of the Father." On the other hand, there was the cult of Canaanite lEI, the Divine Patriarch, "creator of heaven and earth," and leader of cosmic armies. 22 How early these types of deity could merge in the cult of one god we do not know. At all events, these two had coalesced in the figure of Yahweh in the earliest stratum of Israelite tradition. (Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic frank cross)

 This is complete nonsense and could be considered blasphemy.

F. M. Cross noted over thirty years ago, “The kingship of the gods is a common theme in early Mesopotamian and Canaanite epics. The common scholarly position that the concept of Yahweh as reigning or king is a relatively late development in Israelite thought seems untenable. ” (p4 Bulletin for Biblical Research 18.1)

In other words Israel was not monotheistic under one God until well after Moses.

Cross equated YHWH a personal name with a generic term. Frank M. Cross, “The Council of Yahweh in Second Isaiah,” 274-277

During his tenure at Harvard, Cross supervised more than a hundred dissertations, with the result that many of today's senior scholars in Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern studies are his former students. Among the most prominent of these are Emanuel TovJohn J. CollinsJo Ann HackettJohn HuehnergardWilliam G. DeverP. Kyle McCarter Jr.Peter MachinistLawrence StagerBruce WaltkeRichard Elliott FriedmanHector Avalos, and Mark S. Smith.[4]

Cross  did not hold to  one  redactor, he believed the  Deuteronomistic History  was the  work of  two  redactors.  According  to  the  Cross scholars,  the  first  Deuteronomist  was  from a  pre-exilic during  Josiah’s  reign  while  the other  one  was from  during  the  exilic  period  (Eynikel,  1996,  p.  13). These  two  scholars are called  Deuteronomist 1  (Dtr  1)  and  Deuteronomist 2  (Dtr  2). Cross  main  focus  was on  the  two  books of  Kings of  which  he  deduced  two  different theme  that  he  attributed  to  Dtr  1  and  Dtr  2.  The  first  theme  was of  the  Dtr1  was aimed  to  glorify  Josiah  (Satterthwaite  &  McConville,  2007,  p.  203).  Why  these  two biblical characters?  Josiah  destroyed  the  alternative  sanctuary  in  Bethel during  the cult reform,  restored  the  Jerusalem  temple  and  also  encouraged  the  people  to  keep the  laws in  the  Torah  he  had  found  earlier on,  in  his reign.  Some  scholars like O’Brien  argue  that  the  work of  Dtr 1  was used  as propaganda  for Josiah’s reform (O’Brien,  1989,  p.  144).  This according  to  Cross was dated  pre-exilic  as it  addressed to  people  living  in  Josiah’s period  so  as  for them  to  commit to  the  reforms happening at  that  time.   The  second  theme  which  Cross school attribute  to  Dtr 2  is  to  call  the  exiles to repentance.  Cross pointed  out  that  Dtr 2  explains why  Josiah  had  not  permanently changed  things but  it was up  to  the  people  of  Israel  to  keep  that  covenant  with  God. A  failure in  upholding  the  laws is what  then  led  to  the  exile  and  it  is this history  of Israel  that  Cross  argues that  it  belongs to  the  second  redactor.  With  this in  mind  we find  Cross  and  Noth  agreeing  on  the  work of  an  exilic redactor.  Though  Cross  did  not provide  evidence  of  the  different  style  used  by  the  Dtr 2  from  the  Dtr  1,  latter  Cross scholars,  R.E  Friedman,  R.D Nelson,  H  Weippert,  A.D.H Mayers,  N. Lohfink,  M. O’Brien  and  S.  McKenzie  attempted  to  make  a  sound  argument  for this by  critically analysing the text (Eynikel, 1996, pp. 17-20).

Mitchell Dahood

Is quoted by Heiser in his book the Unseen Realm, his book on angels, and on demons,

Dahood He was a Jesuit priest who worked at the Vatican he taught for 20 years teaching at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute.

He is known as the most infamous of the Ugaritic- Bible "correctors". A Lebanese born Catholic priest and Jesuit who, as a professor at the Pontifical Institute, led a crusade to reinvent, the Bible on the basis of texts belonging to the very pagan culture that the Bible condemns and warns against.

Here is what Heiser lifted from Dahood that appears in his writings. “The conceptual religious overlaps between Ugarit and the Hebrew Bible have been well chronicled.” (M. Dahood, Ras Shamra Parallels: Texts from Ugarit and the Hebrew Bible, vol.1, An Or 49 (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1972) referred to in Heiser’s Co-regency in Ancient Israel’s Divine Council as the Conceptual Backdrop to Ancient Jewish Binitarian Monotheism )

“During the 1940s and 1950s, prominent studies emerged examining the striking and unmistakable correspondences between the god of Israel and two of Ugarit's most important deities, El and Baal” (M. Dahood, "Ancient Semitic Deities in Syria and Palestine," in Le Antiche Divinita Semitiche (ed. S. Moscati; Studi Semitici 1; Rome: Centro di Studi Semitici, 1958)

Dahood’s best-known work is a three-volume commentary on the book of Psalms contained in the Anchor Bible series. It is a highly controversial and much criticized work because of his extensive use of Ugaritic to understand the Hebrew text. He thought of the Ugarit as parallel to the Hebrew scriptures in many places. Dahood believed that the Ugaritic language and culture (who were Israel’s dire enemies) represented the closest parallel to Hebrew of any ancient language and culture of which we have extensive data.

Johannes C. DeMoor writes, “Dahood is possessed by an obsessive zeal to force up the number of similarities between Ugaritic and Hebrew. In the process he does not shrink from using very dubious or even totally wrong evidence. ” DeMoor, along with his criticism, recognized that “ Dahood must be given full credit for making the first comprehensive and systematic inquiry into” the balanced, parallel pairs of semantic units that characterize both ancient Hebrew and Ugaritic poetry .

P. C. Craigie of the University of Calgary who agrees with DeMoor that “Mitchell Dahood has gone too far,” adds, “Even if one were to reject 75 percent of all Dahood’s contributions on this topic, we should still be left with a major contribution to comparative scholarship.”

In the last years of his life, Dahood turned from Ugaritic to Eblaite, (dated to the mid-third millennium B.C., over a thousand years earlier than the tablets from Ugarit, Dahood found Eblaite even closer to Hebrew than was Ugaritic. Dahood quickly began using the same methods with Eblaite texts that he had earlier used with Ugaritic texts in an effort to elucidate the Bible.

Dahood stated " n biblical literature...no claims are made for the king's [Messiah's] divinity" (The Anchor Bible: Psalms [New York: Doubleday, 1966], Vol. 1, p. 12) This statement is rediculous.

Dahwood suggest אלהים (ʾ ) with Plural Predication Be Translated ‘Gods’?” But the bible only uses this for the false gods of the pagans, it is not considered a plural for the true God.

Cyrus H. Gordon

Gordon, Ugaritic Manual, 256. Cyrus Gordon, “Myhl) in Its Reputed Meaning of Rulers, Judges,” Journal of Biblical Literature 54 (1935): 139–144.

Gordon linguistics and social history was influential in deciphering the Ugarit. Gordon also held that Jews, Phoenicians, and others crossed the Atlantic in antiquity, ultimately arriving in both North and South America (this affirms Mormonism.) This opinion was based on his own work on the Bat Creek inscription .

As with so many others who are not knowledgeable on Scripture he found parallels for a common heritage with the pagans.

It was Yawhism that distinguished the two Hebrew nations from the other Canaanites and it was the great Hebrew prophets who transformed their little 'Canaanite' people into one of the great factors of world history .

Here’s what he thinks took place, “ Only two people in East Mediterranean antiquity developed [parallel tendecies towards] "canonical" Scripture: the Greeks and the Jews. The Greeks treated Homer as their Scripture par excellence, much as the Jews regarded the Bible.... Hebrew and pagan Greek scriptures were each considered the divinely inspired guide for life.

While Ugarit is revolutionizing the problem of Old Testament origins, the Dead Sea scrolls are doing the same for the New Testament. How fortunate is this generation to live at a time when the sources of our culture—sacred and profane—are illuminated in a brighter light of history than our forefathers imagined possible! (Cyrus H. Gordon Ch.1 Exploring Edom and Moab - Adventures in the Nearest East (1957)

Gordon writes, When Zeus' son Sarpedon meets his fate, Zeus expresses grief for his dead son by causing blood to rain (Iliad 16: 459-461). In Egypt, the function of rain is replaced by the Nile which fructifies the soil. Accordingly, the Biblical Plague of Blood (Exodus 7: 19-25) is the Egyptian equivalent of the bloody rainfall in the Iliad.

Gordon explains how things developed. “ The construction of Baal's mythical house is a forerunner of the erection of Yahweh's historical First Temple in Jerusalem. The two accounts are organically related because of common background and attitudes. In both cases the god's interests had grown to a point where he could not condignly go on any more without a house. The Bible tells that it was no longer fitting that Israel's king should dwell in a cedar palace while God still lived in a tent (The Tabernacle). Times had changed; Israel had arrived; with the added stature of Israel among the nations, the cultic requirements for Israel's God rose. We have seen how Baal's rise to kingship required the building of a palace for him. The biblical and Ugaritic accounts of the building materials (cedars of Lebanon covered with metal) link the mythical house of Baal and the historic house of Yahweh.” ( Cyrus H. Gordon, Before the Bible: the Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilisations, Collins, London 1962.'{p. 195}

Cyrus H. Gordon, believed that Jewish Monotheism was derived from that of Egypt's heretic Pharaoh Akhnaten. Source: On Gordon.

One needs to know the background of the people quoted by Dr. Heiser to understand what he is putting together is a new myth from those who deny the Scriptures direct revelation to Abraham, Moses and the prophets.

p.4 Heiser’s Questionable scholarly references


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