At a meeting of the Semitic Conference yesterday afternoon, Dr. Manfred Lilliefors read a paper on "Traces of Polytheism among the Early Hebrews."
There are numerous traces of polytheism among the Hebrews in the Old Testament, particularly in Genesis and Joshua. The early history of the He brews is very little known, because, unlike other nations, they had no great mythologist to bring down the early facts of their history. There are, however, marks of mythology in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. In Joshua there are probable evidences of the worship of household and ancestral gods, and traces of polytheism are very strong there, at the least. It is not to be supposed that each clan or tribe had several gods. The fact is that each clan had its own god, which it had selected and named. It is a known fact that the Hebrews built shrines in caves and on the tops of mountains and worshipped deities there. However, the word "Polytheism," in the case of the Hebrews, seems rather ill-chosen, because it means the worship of several gods, which, with the Hebrews, was after all not the case.