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Bible Studies/Claim that Yahweh/Yeshua are gods copied from Canaanite belief.

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QUESTION: A young man posed this question to me.
"Now, care to challenge the fact that a Canaanite God was named YHWH before Moses existed?"

I looked and found a couple of websites concerning this issue but these don't seem to be very specific in actually denouncing this claim.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh_%28Canaanite_deity%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_%28deity%29
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Asherah
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yam_%28god%29

"Why do the Jews have a G-D or names of Him that were from the Canaanite belief?"
This is probably the way he means his question.

ANSWER:     Yeshua is the Hebrew/Aramaic form of the name of Jesus.  In Greek Jesus is indistinguishable from Joshua, a name based on the same root verb ("to save").  Other names based on this verb include Isaiah and Hosea.  Jesus was much later than Moses.
   First question, what was the time period of Moses?  According to 1 Kings 6, Solomon began building the Temple 480 years after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.  This places the Exodus in the mid 15th century BCE, which places it just prior to the earliest date for the divine name, according to the first wikipedia reference you gave me.  It would be no surprise, if we give credence to the Biblical story, that in Egypt we would find this name associated with the hated Asiatics a generation or two later.
   As to the Israelites and Canaanites, the Biblical texts are full of interactions between the two groups, mourning and reviling the many Israelites who assimilated Canaanite practices.  Who would be surprised that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the two archaeologically, or that the divine name is sometimes associated with a Canaanite goddess / symbol?
I hope this is helpful,
Jim Miller

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: No offense, but I specifically wrote the question I was asked and you didn't even answer it.
Nothing in your reply to this question helps me because you didn't even answer it.
If you don't know then say so and I'll ask somebody else who's more knowledgeable.

"Now, care to challenge the fact that a Canaanite God was named YHWH before Moses existed?"

The claim this young man is making is that Yahweh existed as a Canaanite god before the Israelites started using YAHWEH as their god's name.

Do you understand now?
Did you even bother to look up the links I gave?

This is a serious question not to be taken so lightly.
Again, can you be of assistance with this question?
If so, I need a specific answer with very specific evidence to denounce this claim.
In other words, I need a source to quote from to prove this claim is wrong, not just your opinion.

Answer
Sorry, but I deal in evidence, not speculation, and you are asking me to speculate.  There is no evidence that there was a Canaanite YHWH prior to Moses.  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but absence of evidence is also no basis for claiming that there was indeed a Canaanite YHWH prior to Moses.  Any claims either way in the absence of evidence are educated guesses, or just guesses, and are based on presuppositions, not evidence.
And that is the best I can do.
Jim Miller

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Jim Miller

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Biblical Studies -- including Ancient Near East, Intertestamental Literature and early Christian literature.

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