“Dissociative Exegesis” is the name of the method I developed for critically analyzing the story of Abraham in the context of a secular covenant. But how reliable is it?
I argue in my book that the Abrahamic covenant was established as a geopolitical alliance with the goal of securing the trade route between Egypt and Mesopotamia. This can be shown through an analysis of the actions undertaken by Abraham’s Lord in Gn 19 and those of the four Eastern Kings in Gn 14 are both aimed at subduing the rebellious people of Sodom.
Of course, for such a hypothesis to be meaningful, it must be supported by the text at its core. Which means that it must be possible to show, or at least strongly suggest, that Abraham’s Lord could have been a Mesopotamian overlord in league with the four Eastern Kings. But how can we figure this out?
We know that the text of Gn 12-25 portrays God sometimes in an anthropomorphic context and other times in an immaterial one. Could it be that this anthropomorphic figure finds its origins in the mortal nature of Abraham’s Lord (referred to as Yahweh in the text) and the immaterial one (referred to as Elohim) in the deity with whom he will eventually fuse with?
By analyzing the context in which the names of Gods are used in the narrative, we can evaluate the likelihood of such a claim.
To do so, we must first start by observing the available data. We find that God appears 85 times under the name Yahweh and 50 times under the name Elohim in the Abrahamic narrative, for a total of 135 appearances :
In 109 of these 135 instances, God appears in an anthropomorphic context while in 26 instances, he appears in an immaterial context:
We find Elohim appearing 23 times in an immaterial context and 27 times in an anthropomorphic one. We find Yahweh appearing 82 times in an anthropomorphic context and 3 times in an immaterial one.
As the Dissociative Exegesis bring us to us to consider Yahweh as a mortal overlord and Elohim as an immaterial deity, we would expect Yahweh to always appear in the anthropomorphic context and Elohim in the immaterial one.
When mapping the various occurrences of the names within their context, we obtain the following map:
We find that the names are used in their proper context in (82+23)/135 or 78% of the times and we find them used in their improper context in (27+3)/ 135 or 22% of the times.
If the use of the names and context had been totally random (as tradition could lead one to believe), we would have found an error rate closer to 50% (flip coin theory). However, we know that the context of Gn 12-25 is mostly anthropomorphic (109:26). As such, the probability that Yahweh appears in an anthropomorphic context is (85/135*109/135 or 50.8%). Similarly, the probability of Elohim appearing within an immaterial context is (50/135*26/135 or 7.1%).
So, despite the chances of Elohim appearing in an immaterial context being only 7%, we find a match of 17% (23/135), which is almost three times higher than expected. We also find a near perfect match on Yahweh which appears in 61% (82/135) of the times in an anthropomorphic context, compared to the expected probability of 51% and a perfect score of 63%. As such, we only find 2.2% (3/135) errors with Yahweh, which is far less than the expected 12%, and 20% on Elohim instead of the expected 30%.
All in all, the Dissociative Exegesis confirms that Elohim is used in the immaterial context 2.5x (17%/7%) more often than if it were used randomly, and it confirms that Yahweh is used 6x (12%/2%) less in an immaterial context. This 15:1 against the odds ratio gives us a confidence level of 93% that the usage of these names in their particular context is clearly intentional.
The Dissociative Exegesis provides an objective method for challenging the idea that Yahweh and Elohim refer to one and the same God. Instead, it suggests with a 93% level of confidence that the names Yahweh and Elohim must be regarded as two separate figures, with Yahweh associated with the anthropomorphic context and Elohim with the immaterial one.
And while such an assessment does not provide evidence that Yahweh was a Mesopotamian overlord per say, it does confirm that the name Yahweh is not used randomly, but in an anthropomorphic context, as predicted by the claim.
NOTE: Please refer to my book for a detailed textual and contextual analysis. It should be noted that this method only applies to Gn 12-25 (and not to the rest of the Bible), as the scribes who inherited this text assumed Yahweh and Elohim were interchangeable and never sought to question their unicity afterwards.