Scripture scholar and Faculty of Theology professor Dr. John L. McLaughlin has just had his latest book published.
“What Are They Saying About Ancient Israelite Religion?, published by Paulist Press, is a summary of the state of scholarship surrounding the subject of monotheism in Israel relative to the beliefs of other peoples in the ancient Middle East,” says Dr. McLaughlin, who is past-president of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. “It demonstrates that Israel’s understanding of God and gods developed over time.”
The book, he explains, amplifies recent scholarship indicating the movement from before the Babylonian Exile, when Israel practised polytheism, to Second Isaiah’s proclamation during the Exile itself that Yahweh was the only God in existence. In doing so, it addresses the relationship with El, Ba‘al, Asherah and other deities, and the development of belief in the God of Israel.
“God reveals God’s self in particular times in particular ways,” says McLaughlin, who this year is teaching Introduction to the Old Testament, Israel’s Wisdom Traditions, Israel’s Prophetic Traditions, and The Book of Isaiah.
This most recent work is Dr. McLaughlin’s sixth book published, with a seventh, on Israel’s wisdom traditions, nearing completion. While on sabbatical, he also completed two more educational booklets for Novalis Publishing, entitled Getting to Know the Prophets, and Getting to Know the Wisdom Books.
He is also a convenor of a continuing seminar on divinity in acient Israel as part of an international annual meeting of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.