Last week on The Non Sequitur Show, Bernard Lamborelle appeared to discuss his book The Covenant: On the Origin of the Abrahamic Faith by Means of Deification. I have not had an opportunity to read the book and so cannot offer a synopsis but here is what Amazon has to say about it:
This historical essay takes readers back to the Bronze Age, some 3,500 years ago, at a time when men of power were viewed as living gods. Using sociology, anthropology and etymology, it asks pertinent questions and dissects the biblical Covenant to explore an innovative and thought provoking interpretation that exposes this story like never before.
What if the Covenant had been made with an overlord in order to pacify the Valley of Siddim, an important trade corridor between Egypt and Mesopotamia? What if this overlord’s memory had been celebrated and elevated to the rank of deity by Abraham’s descendants? And what if this “deity”, initially worshipped as a local god, would eventually become known as Yahweh?
- This book is original because it alleges that the Abrahamic Covenant had an earthly, rather than divine origin. This eventuality has never seriously been investigated, despite the fact that ancient Canaanites (Israelites) are known for practicing the cult of the ancestors and for worshiping a pagan deity called Baal Berith (“Lord of Covenant”).
- This book is significant because it rests on a wealth of textual, archeological, chronological and dendrochronological evidence. The hypothesis it develops is surprisingly coherent and complete. In addition to offering a synthesis of past dialectics, it solves the biblical chronologies and provides fresh answers to many puzzling questions.
- This book is timely because it demythifies one of the key tenets of the monotheistic religions. By offering a scientific and historical perspective on the origin of the Abrahamic faith that is psychologically far more plausible than that offered by tradition, it could prove an effective tool to defuse fundamentalism and radicalization.
The interview on The Non-Sequitur Show featured three experts in ancient history: Dr. Joshua Bowen (Assyriologist), his wife Megan Lewis (Assyriologist), and Dr. Maggie Bryson (Egyptologist). Each of them were impressive in the depths of their questions as well as their seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of their respective fields. I also appreciated Bowen’s measured responses and careful approach.
Lamborelle’s work seems to rest on the assumption that Abraham was a historical figure and that is an assumption I do not share. But I have to say that Lamborelle did a pretty good job of fielding questions from the experts and taking criticism well. Though the experts did not find his hypothesis convincing, they made it clear that writing such a book is the kind of thing that sets the stage for further research and might result in new discoveries.
I am hoping to get a copy of Lamborelle’s work soon and giving it a go. And you should have a look at the discussion in the video below.