"Regarding Yahweh, I find that many of the things he asked of his devotees reflected the tribal cultures of the time, so in many ways I see a dark anthropomorphism at play."
As the discussion there was principally on a different subject, I have set up this thread to continue this extremely interesting tangent.
My initial response to him is this: I only know of two systems of belief which were contemporaneous to Ancient Judaism as revealed in the Old Testament, e.g. the Egyptian pantheon, incorporating such gods as Ra, Set and Anubis; and the Canaanite/Moabite/Amorite/etc... pantheon, incorporating such gods as Mollech, Chemosh and Baal. I know almost nothing about these systems of belief, so I am ready to be corrected about this (as well as informed of any other systems of which I am unaware), but it does seem to me that they differ from 'Yahweh worship' in a number of highly significant ways, including the following:
1) The 'other' systems are polytheistic, Judaism is monotheistic.
2) The 'other' systems involve the worship of idols, which is expressly forbidden by Judaism.
3) The 'other' systems sometimes involve worship practises which are forbidden by Judaism, such as necromancy, child sacrifice, and temple prostitution.
In fact, I am at a loss to think of any ways in which Yahweh is "a local product". I hope that Rob will join in the discussion so as to clarify his position and offer some argumentation for it, so that we can get going!