How the Jews Invented God, and Made Him Great

The God of the Old Testament started out as just one of many deities of the ancient Israelites. It took a traumatic crisis to make him into the all-powerful creator of the world.

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The earliest writing is about genesis myths: God creates Adam, as envisioned by Michelangelo and painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in around 1511.
The earliest writing is about genesis myths: God creates Adam, as envisioned by Michelangelo and painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in around 1511.Credit: Jörg Bittner Unna / Wikimedia Commons
Ariel David
Ariel David
The stained glass window in Winchester Cathedral, showing the tetragrammaton - the mysterious name of God, transliterated as YHWHCredit: Oddworldly, Wikimedia Commons
Phoenician figure, probably of the Canaanite goddess Astarte (also known as Ashera), 7th century B.C.E.Credit: Luis García
Reenacting ancient history: Celebrating, then reviling and burning, the "golden calf," Ein Hod, 2005. Credit: Ancho Gosh
The Sun Carriage, a religious artifact of sun worship dating from the Bronze Age: Did the birthdate chosen for Jesus coincide with that of the sun god?Credit: Malene Thyssen, Wikimedia Commons

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