Yahweh and the Sun. Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel

Written by J. Glen Taylor Reviewed By Richard S. Hess

Taylor has provided a useful collection of the archaeological and biblical evidence related to the sun and its use as a symbol of the God of Israel. Although he carefully distinguishes between the worship of the sun as a deity separate from the God of Israel and the veneration of the solar disk as a manifestation of Yahweh, he observes that for the authors of the biblical history of Israel in Deuteronomy to Kings even the latter was unacceptable as idolatrous. However, manifestations of veneration of solar images are found in Ezekiel 8, in the equation of Yahweh of Hosts with the sun and in many of the ‘sun images’ found in ancient Palestine. While it would have been helpful to provide some interaction with the use of ‘divine sun’ as a title for kings in the Amarna letters from Palestine and with the later occurrences of sun imagery in the mosaics from Palestinian synagogues, Taylor has provided a balanced and much needed assessment of the data. It should remain a source of understanding for the relevant biblical texts.

Richard S. Hess

Denver Seminary, Denver