I am horribly behind here, and I apologize. I didn’t mean to stop blogging, but my life turned into a series of small but time-consuming explosions and everything just got away from me. I kept reading but ran out of time to write.
It was a couple of difficult sections to slog through — less narrative, more history and geography of places that don’t sound at all familiar.
It’s interesting to read that way, with such a strong sense of place. Growing up in a predominantly Christian society, God becomes universal. Yaweh is THE god. The only one, for everyone. Now obviously practically speaking, this is not true since we do have many religions, but it’s the undercurrent that runs through it all. When you say God, nobody is going to mistake you for meaning Zeus or Odin or Olodumare. The default, unless you specify otherwise, is Yaweh.
But reading Joshua in particular drives home that this wasn’t necessarily true. Yaweh was the God for Israel, and as such was bounded by a place and a people. It’s intensely tribal, which historically and culturally speaking makes sense.
But it’s very different from the experience we have growing up. Tribal religion are seen as relics or less-than; the Bible as universal. I realize that a lot of that has to do with the New Testament, but I also think there’s a lot of value in looking at the roots in a tribal religion that get missed.