Religion Past and Present

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(866 words)

[German Version]

is the common term in the Semitic languages (except Ethiopic) to designate both “god” generically and a West Semitic deity. The etymology of the word is uncertain (presumably deriving from the root *'WL: “to be strong/powerful”). El is often attested as a theophoric element (“ilu”) in the Mesopotamian and Syrian personal names of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium bce. In some instances the theonym could refer to the “personal god” watching over the single believer. In West Semitic areas (Late Bronze and Iron Ages) El is frequently attested i…

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Xella, Paolo, “El”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 14 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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