Essentialist and non-essentialist philosophical perspectives on the question “What is an אלהים ?
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In Old Testament scholarship, a number of studies have attempted to answer in their own way the question of what an אלהים (a god in the generic sense) was assumed to be. This discussion is indirectly related to an older theme in OT theology, namely the “essence” of Yhwh’s divinity in particular contexts. Whereas the relevant research has thus far only involved linguistic, literary, historical, comparative and theological approaches aimed at providing answers, none has paid closer attention to what exactly is meant by a question of the form “What is X?” itself. The originality and contribution of this study lies with its exclusive descriptive and meta-theoretical philosophical concern with the multiplicity of ways in which concepts of whatness and essence can be interpreted in relation to the concept of generic אלהים as common noun in the Old Testament. The aim is to provide a prolegomenon for future theory in service of a more nuanced manner of speaking.
- Faculty of Humanities