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I have read that before the invention of monotheism, the Jews worshipped multiple gods of which traces remain in various texts. So I wonder whether it is possible to reconstruct it and what the gods there were.

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Should this be moved to Judaism.SE? There's probably more expertise that way. – DVK Nov 29 '12 at 18:36

One notable thing about the Hebrew Scriptures is that they don't typically claim that there aren't other gods; just that theirs is a jealous God, and thus the only one a Jew should worship.

This kind of attitude isn't really entirely unique in the ancient world. Most cities had their own patron god. A Pantheon was in many ways just the summation of all the regionally-worshipped dieties in an area.

There are mentions of other gods or supernatural beings throughout the Torah. My personal favorite is Leviathan, who based on descriptions in various parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, seems quite similar to the Norse's World Serpent (or perhaps a super fire-breathing sea dragon). Isaiah even prophecies a final battle between God and Leviathan (which God of course will win).

There are also two other supernatural creatures: Behemoth and Ziz, but they don't get as much face-time in the Bible.

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Baal is mentioned quite a bit in The Bible as well. However, that is basically a semetic word for "Lord". So essentially when The Bible uses that word it is saying "one of our neighbors' Lord god, rather than our own Lord God."

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@Luke - I said typically, not universally. There are certainly places where classic Jewish Monotheisim is stronger. Chronicles would be one place one would expect to be more modern. See the second to last paragraph of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – T.E.D. Nov 29 '12 at 15:22
The Hebrew Scriptures never say there is another god (Isaiah 45:22). Period. They believed there was one God and the Devil. Idols were simply objects made by humans. The only time the idols had supernatural power was when the power was of the Devil. – American Luke Nov 29 '12 at 15:25
@Luke - With repect, I have to disagree on this one, and I think a careful reading of the parts where other dieties and their worshippers are interacted with backs me up. I realise this goes against some folks "fixed beliefs", but that shouldn't really be our business here. (and I'll note this was first pointed out to me by one of my ministers, who was trained at a mainline protestant seminary, so this view of the scriptures isn't really incompatible with Christian orthodoxy either) – T.E.D. Nov 29 '12 at 15:29
The question wasn't about current Hebrew Theology. The question was about traces of earlier theology in extant Jewish writings. I'd heard the same thing, and this is roughly the explanation that was given me. – T.E.D. Nov 29 '12 at 15:37
@Luke - AFAIK, Devil was not part of mainstream Juddaism in the first place, like in Christianity/Islam – DVK Nov 29 '12 at 18:34

There is a community on the web, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canaanitepaganism/?yguid=192651149, their theme is just the old Jewish paganism (canaanite?). Surely, you'll find there all these old gods, including Lord El and Lady Asherah.

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I suspect this can be just a newly-invented religion, similarly to how some Slavic groups invent Slavic paganism anew. – Anixx Nov 29 '12 at 10:02
This site, of course, IS something of the sort. But their religion is based on the old pantheon. They at least are trying to be as close to the old religion as possible. So, as for the list of the gods, I think, we could believe them. – Gangnus Nov 29 '12 at 10:56
But I see, if they are as these pseudoslavic pseudopagans, then even the list of the gods can't be trusted. – Gangnus Nov 29 '12 at 10:58
I'm just curious (and not sure about whether I should post this as a question or not), but what caused the Jews to become monotheistic? – Reliable Source Nov 29 '12 at 11:15
Because a guy from above told them so? :-) – Gangnus Nov 29 '12 at 11:17

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