This crucial difference has often been overlooked, but it is connected with the conviction expressed in Exodus 6:3 that the national ancestors were not Yahwists
: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not even know the national name of the divinity.
Knoppers argues that the Pentateuch came into being as a compromise text, which spelled out what Judean and Samarian Yahwists
had in common, but showed opaque wording on contested issues, first and foremost the place for the temple.
The billions who have professed faith in the God of Abraham over millennia of human history may then be fairly called Yahwists.
It is to Abraham that Yahwists in their multitudinous variants trace the covenant between themselves and what they have come to believe to be the lone, omnipotent Creator of the universe.
While Nehemiah inveighs against Sanballat and Tobiah, it is clear that they were self-professing Yahwists
. Prophetic figures in Nehemiah were uneasy with those aspects of Nehemiah's separatist program that seemed to pit Judeans against all others.
(5) This is to say, these staid Christians of Valverde are closer to the primitive peoples who practiced infanticide than to the vibrant culture of the Yahwists
, the latter considering death to be the permanent end.
Extensively revising her 2001 doctoral dissertation for Princeton Theological Seminary, Knowles examines YHWH's geographical location and the role of the temple in the physical expressions of the Yahwists
of the Persian period, to see how the centrality of Jerusalem was practiced.
Based on theophoric names, Zevit concludes that the "spread of Yahwism in Israel is pre-Davidic." And, provided that "the majority of Israelites were Yahwists
, the cult places and artifacts" he has analyzed show that the cult was not centralized, and cult enactment had not been conventionalized (p.
If the Yahwists
were groping for some concept of ethics to go with their universalism, for the most part they seem to have fallen woefully short.
Such an emphasis could just as well reflect historical tensions among the Israelites as a series of redactions by eighth-century Yahwists
of the Persian period believe that YHWH had again chosen Judah and Jerusalem?
In his opinion, some Israelite tribes had settled permanently near Shechem around 1230 and, after the waning of Egyptian power in Canaan around 1150, there was conflict between the exclusivist Yahwists
and those who remained polytheistic.