Was Yahweh worshiped in the Aegean?

Nissim Amzallag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A comparison of Aegean and biblical sources reveals striking similarities between Dionysus and Yahweh: both are characterized by the same symbols, the same mode of action and the same theophany; both provoked a comparable doubt concerning their divine nature and/or their actual powers; and both had the same subversive effects with regard to the official pantheon. The homology between Yahweh and Dionysus is confirmed by their common vestigial link to copper metallurgy. From Greek literary sources and reflections about the continuous metallurgical influence of Canaan on the Aegean world, it is concluded that during the Bronze Age Dionysus was probably the Aegean counterpart of Yahweh, the mysterious Canaanite god of furnace metallurgy. Further examination suggests that the popularization of the cult of Dionysus in Greece, from the ninth century BCE, underwent a similar process leading in Canaan to the emergence of the Israelite alliance. These findings open new horizons of investigation, both of the ancient Aegean civilization and of the nature of the popular cult of Yahweh in Canaan prior to the monotheistic reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-415
Number of pages29
JournalJournal for the Study of the Old Testament
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011


  • Dionysus
  • Orientalizing Revolution
  • Yahweh
  • copper metallurgy
  • human theophany
  • pre-monotheistic Yahwism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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