Nov 16, 2018

Old Testament Holiness in Ancient Near Eastern Context

Some additional thoughts from John Walton's recent Old Testament Theology.
"In the ancient Near East, gods were rarely designated as holy. They were considered pure or clean, but there is no term comparable in semantic range to the Hebrew term (qādôš). The closest concept we find in Akkadian is the concept of dingir. This is a determinative noun used to designate the gods, the temples, objects associated with the gods (i. e., included in the divine realm), stars, etc. It is not an indication of a quality but an indication of identity. In Akkadian literature it is very rare for a person’s name to be categorized by use of a dingir (occasional kings), and never is a whole people group so designated (as Israel is designated as holy)."
John H. Walton, Old Testament Theology for Christians: From Ancient Context to Enduring Belief (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2017), 50.

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