Characters of God

Topics: Names of God in Judaism, Abraham, Yahweh Pages: 4 (1351 words) Published: December 14, 2005
The definition of dominant is "having authority or influence; main, chief" and the definition of trait is "characteristic feature". Therefore, when placed together you have "the main characteristic features of God that has authority and influence". This essay hopes to explore this area through comparing and contrasting the main characters of Abraham and Moses. Before this exploration can take place there needs to be a brief explanation of the nature of ‘name' in the Hebrew of the ANE [ancient near east]. For them, ‘name' was more than a simplistic identification like the western world. The ‘name' of a person revealed the characteristics of that person. As such, the ‘names' of God will reveal a map of the characteristics of God throughout the Pentateuch. The first name used for God is also used predominantly linked with Abraham and that is Elohim. Genesis uses different names for God which are almost always based on the Hebrew root word, El. El was a generic Hebrew term for deity (as in Genesis 35:1b-3; 46:3). The root name El is reflected in numerous names for God in the Torah. In Genesis 14:18-22, God is addressed as "God Most High" (Hebrew, El Elyon). In Genesis 16:13, Hagar recognizes "the God who sees" (Hebrew, El Roi). In Genesis 21:33, Abraham calls on the name of the "God of Eternity" (Hebrew, El Olam). More often, Hebrew ancestors worshipped "God Almighty" (or possibly "God of the Mountain"; Hebrew, El Shaddai), as in Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; and other passages. Thus, before the divine name Yahweh was revealed to Moses, the Hebrew ancestors worshipped God by many different names rooted in the generic term El. Surprisingly, the name Elohim and El Shaddai are both plural words in Hebrew. This could open up all kinds of avenues of discussion about the interpretation but suffice it to say that all these words describe some part of Gods characteristics. Alongside the explanation of the meaning of name in the Hebrew ANE, is the concept of covenant....

Bibliography: • The NRSV Bible. [Published by Darton, Longman and Todd 1999].
• ‘A History of God ', Karen Armstrong, [Published by Vintage, 1999].
• ‘Creating the Old Testament; the emergence of the Hebrew Bible. ' Edited by Stephen Bigger [Published by Blackwell Ltd. 1989].
• English Dictionary [Publisher Collins 2005].
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