Book

The Old Ones in the Old Book: Pagan Roots of the Hebrew Old Testament

“West has excelled in making academic standard research into a fascinating and exciting read. This book should be of interest to Jews, Christians, Pagans and readers generally interested in the development of spiritual paths, and become a handy reference source for years to come.” (Pete Jennings, past President of The Pagan Federation and author of Pagan Paths.)

"Much of what we thought we knew about the Old Testament is here challenged in a most interesting and provocative way." (Richard Coggins, formerly Senior Lecturer in Old Testament Studies at King's College London, and author of Introducing the Old Testament.)

"With a style that's a pleasure to read, Philip West shares the best of Old Testament scholarship revealing what is common knowledge in academia but largely unknown in the public arena - the profound influence of the pagan Canaanite religion on the evolution, practices and sacred writings of Judaism, and Christianity. Reasoned and revolutionary, an important book and a must read." (Phyllis Curott, attorney, author of Book of Shadows, and trustee of the Council for the Parliament of the World's Religions.)

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The Hebrew Old Testament, which contains some of the world's most ancient religious texts, was written and repeatedly re-edited over the course of several centuries from about 1000 BCE. It reached its final form at the hands of editors who were monotheists. They believed that their god Yahweh was the only true God, and that he had been worshiped exclusively by their ancestors from the time of Abraham. They edited their sources to reflect this belief.

However we can strip away this veneer of later monotheism to view the ancient stories themselves, which bear witness to Israelite religion as practised before 600 BCE. Far from being monotheistic, this religion was a fascinating polytheistic paganism, close to the religion of the surrounding Canaanites. In this religion the worship of Yahweh was only one element, and Yahweh himself, far from being God as understood by modern western monotheism, was a distinctive tribal deity.

This book will be of interest both to Christians and Jews wanting to investigate the origins of their religions, and to the large numbers of western people who come from a broadly Christian or Jewish background but have left those faiths behind to explore spirituality in other areas.

To preview the Contents, the Preface and the first chapter (Introduction) please follow the links on the left.

The Old Ones in the Old Book is published by Moon Books in ebook and paper form.
To order a copy click here.