The historical conditions surrounding the processes of forming a canon are rarely examined directly, yet it is these processes that govern the realm of religious representations and identity constructions. In light of recent critical scholarship, it is imperative to address theologically the role that the canon plays within a religious tradition. This article demonstrates the cultural necessity of canonical forms despite their “monotheistic tendency” to subdivide the world into binary oppositions. By utilizing a scale of violence to determine the impact of the canonical form on culture, this article offers an account of canons and their role in forming religious identities over and beyond the violence they are said to provoke. Through this clarification, an alternative perspective on canons can emerge that reveals the violence at the core of cultural-canonical norms, thus identifying a valuable distinction between differing (violence-concealing or violence-revealing) canonical forms.