Benjamin Sommer and the Johannine Divine Name applied to the Son
In The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, Benjamin Sommer draws attention to examples of the 'fluidity' of divine identity (i.e., the 'ability' of a Semitic deity to maintain an identity in more than one place simultaneously), for example, as described in some ancient Near Eastern texts concerning the term shem, that is, "name":
The same phenomenon [of being at once an independent deity and a part of another deity] occurs also with the term shem. In a Phonecian inscription, we read that the king Eshmunazor built a temple for Baal of Sidon and a temple for . . . "Astarte, Name of Baal . . . . The same epithet is applied to this goddess twice in Ugaritic myths. One of the occurrences comes from the Kirta epic: . . . (May) Astarte, Name of Baal, (break) your scalp!" An almost identical passage appears again in a passage from the Baal epic. In these three texts, Astarte as the Name of Baal appears in parallel with another god. She appears on her own, however, with some frequency in Ugaritic and Phonician texts (as well as in Egyptian ones). Here again, a goddess who elsewhere has her own self appears as an aspect of Baal's self. As in the more abundant Akkadian texts . . . then, the selfhood of Canaanite deities was at times fluid: Gods could fragment and overlap, even though at the level of worship and mythology they usually were distinct from each other. (page 27)Sommer later applies this model to a number of passages in the Hebrew Bible, but I want to draw attention to another parallel, in John's Gospel:
17:11 καὶ οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰσίν κἀγὼ πρὸς σὲ ἔρχομαι πάτερ ἅγιε τήρησον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς. 12 ὅτε ἤμην μετ᾽ αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, ἐγὼ ἐτήρουν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου οὓς δέδωκάς μοι ἐφύλαξα . . . (Morphological Greek New Testament)A bold, but careful hermeneut might venture to read this as meaning that the Son is the Name of the Father, analogous to how Astarte is the Name of Baal. Ben doesn't comment on these two Johannine verses, but I see by looking ahead that he later cites the Johannine prologue on page 96 in a particularly relevant discussion of John 1:14 concerning the manner in which the divine Word "tabernacled" in the world. Of special interest are Ben's notes 60 through 63 to this point, found on page 239, especially note 63's reference to "Name theology" in the Hebrew Bible, about which I'll comment upon when I've read that material thoroughly. I'd be curious to know what Ben makes of the two verses in John 17, as well as that chapter more generally.
17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name -- the name you gave me -- so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me . . . (New International Version)
Perhaps we can expect another book?