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Unread 04-01-2012, 01:55 PM   #7
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 607
However, (unless I'm wrong), the views and ideas expressed in that link are from the 1100's. My original question is regarding "early Jews". I'm trying to find the earliest references possible pertaining to "other gods", and to try to come to some understanding of whether or not the "early Jews" believed as Rambam did.
Well, Rambam is writing about what, in his opinion, Jews believed since the ancient times. Rambam wrote this basing on tradition (a continuous chain of oral and written teachings going from ancient Jews to Talmudic times to Rambam) and, as some believe, ruach ha'koidesh (Divine Inspiration). For most Orthodox Jews (including those on this forum), this version is the most authoritative.

If you think about, asking "What did ancient Jews believe?" is somewhat of a loaded question. If you find a work of a college professor who uses archeology and textual analysis to figure out what Jews "really" believed, this is simply his own opinion, based on his sources, biases, and approach to researching the question. So, if Rambam is dating to 1100, the professor is dating to 21st century.

So, yeah, there may be people who use different kind of approaches of modern social sciences and humanities to figure this out, but in my opinion (which is biased, since I am in natural science), their scientific method is quite imprecise. Plus, they suffer from bad knowledge of the Jewish sources themselves.
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