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Breakthrough or Tyranny: Monotheism's Contested Implications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 March 2013

Robert Gnuse
Affiliation:
Loyola University of New Orleans

Abstract

Modern scholars often have pointed out that the emergence of monotheism has occasioned repressive behavior in history, including the suppression of women. The author seeks to distinguish between what monotheistic faith should inherently do, create egalitarianism, as opposed to how monotheistic faith has been used by political powers to create oppression. To this end, the author refers to metaphors previously introduced into the discussion by other scholars, which speak of “monotheism from above” as opposed to “monotheism from below.” The author also believes that monotheism, especially the Judeo-Christian tradition, is on an evolutionary trajectory, ever unfolding the egalitarian implications of its own message, and ultimately it may evolve and transform society so as to preclude its use as a tool of oppression. Thus, the author seeks to respond to some of the issues raised by critical scholars concerning the inherent repression of monotheistic faiths.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The College Theology Society 2007

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References

1 Among the many scholars who have contributed to this new paradigm, the following are significant: Keel, Othmar, ed., Monotheismus im Alten Israel und seiner Umwelt, Biblische Beiträge 14 (Fribourg: Schweizerisches Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1980)Google Scholar; Lang, Bernhard, Monotheism and the Prophetic Minority, SWBAS 1 (Sheffield: Almond, 1983)Google Scholar; Smith, Mark, The Early History of God (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990)Google Scholar; idem, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Albertz, Rainer, A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period, 2 vols., trans. Bowden, John, OTL (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1994)Google Scholar; Dietrich, Walter and Klopfenstein, Martin, eds., Ein Gott allein?, OBO 139 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1994)Google Scholar; Edelman, Diana, ed., The Triumph of Elohim (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996).Google Scholar

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