ISBN: 978-2-87457-138-1

The Polemic against Idolatry in the Hebrew Bible. From the Babylonian to the Greek Context

 = Paper = 

by Stéphanie ANTHONIOZ, in Res Antiquae 19, 2022.

This paper examines the polemic against idolatry in the Hebrew Bible diachronically and comparatively, considering the Mesopotamian sources, re-evaluating them and, what is new, looking at and comparing ancient Greek sources. The first part clarifies what is meant by polemics against idolatry and determines what are the relevant biblical passages. Described are the practices denounced and analyzed their ideological purposes. The second part looks at the alleged Mesopotamian influence on this polemic, particularly in Deutero-Isaiah, since it is from this angle that the polemic has generally been considered. But the force of this comparison is limited, especially in view of the arguments and date. The third and last part shows that ancient Greek sources, particularly pre-Socratic ones, shed new light on the biblical critique of idolatry, even though, for religious reasons, the biblical material must clearly be distinguished from philosophical thought.

Keywords: Idolatry, Polemic, Divine image, Deutero-Isaiah, Babylonian Rituals, Cyrus Cylinder, Xenophanes
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