Isn’t El Elyon a remnant of the older Canaanite religion, not yet fully syncretised with Yahwism? Why the desire to make a pagan god the father of Jehovah?
The desire comes from wanting to account for the evidence from the texts, from archeology, and in my view, from the Book of Mormon. The Dead Sea Scrolls version of Deuteronomy 32:8-9 seems to make El Elyon the father of Yahweh. Margaret has a fascinating chapter The Older Testament that explores the El Elyon texts.
1 Nephi 11:6 has an angel saying to Nephi, “Blessed art thou… because thou believest in the Son of the Most High God.” In the same chapter, he his shown that Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father.
One criticism of Barker’s work is that she uses much later material, for example, Common Era rabbinic teachings to illuminate to role of the First Temple high priest. Thoughts?
She doesn’t use later materials in a vacuum. She uses earlier materials to establish a context for the later. It’s the context that she’s assembled that justifies the use of the later materials. Look how she works in The Great Angel. She begins by stating the problem: “How was it possible for monotheistic Jews to have worshipped Jesus?” She surveys the weakness of previous scholarship in dealing with the question. She reads all of the Old Testament texts dealing with the Sons of God. She looks closely at the Exile. She reads the Old Testament. She looks at Wisdom. She looks at traditions and texts dealing with angels. She surveys the significance and treatment of The Name. She reads Philo. She looks at the Jewish writers, comparing significant patterns in the Palestinian and Babylonian Targums. She looks at the Gnostics. Then she reads four centuries of the Christian Fathers. And finally, having established the broadest possible context, she looks at the New Testament texts. I find this thoroughly typical of her method, and I find her approach both enlightening and convincing. It’s the overall context that she creates, showing consistent patterns that tie together early and later materials. I see her citations of later material as dependent on the context she creates from earlier materials. It’s not the other way around.
Plus, I consider the Book of Mormon to be a valid test of her hypothesis. 1 Nephi includes Pre-exilic eyewitness material. How well do these independent witnesses agree? And then, why?
Finally, to what does Barker attribute the Book of Mormon’s “accuracy”?
In her presentation at Washington DC, as published in BYU Studies 44/4, she fives times refers to “the revelation to Joseph Smith.”