Of God and Gods: Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, Jun 17, 2008 - History - 208 pages
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For thousands of years, our world has been shaped by biblical monotheism. But its hallmark—a distinction between one true God and many false gods—was once a new and radical idea. Of God and Gods explores the revolutionary newness of biblical theology against a background of the polytheism that was once so commonplace.
ááá Jan Assmann, one of the most distinguished scholars of ancient Egypt working today, traces the concept of a true religion back to its earliest beginnings in Egypt and describes how this new idea took shape in the context of the older polytheistic world that it rejected. He offers readers a deepened understanding of Egyptian polytheism and elaborates on his concept of the “Mosaic distinction,” which conceives an exclusive and emphatic Truth that sets religion apart from beliefs shunned as superstition, paganism, or heresy.
ááá Without a theory of polytheism, Assmann contends, any adequate understanding of monotheism is impossible.

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User Review  - jent1981 - Overstock.com

This is a well laid out book that is easy to follow. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to someone. If you are taken by the study of Religion The MidEast or Egyptology I think this is a great one to read.Excellent. Read full review


The ThreeDimensional Structure of the Divine World
Polytheism and the Language of Violence
Evolutionary and Inclusive Monotheism
Monotheism as an Axial Movement
Tradition Scripture and the Origin of the Hebrew Bible
Exclusive Monotheism and the Language of Violence
The Mosaic Distinction
Index Locorum

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About the author (2008)

Jan Assmann is professor emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg. He is also Honorary Professor of Cultural Theory at Konstanz University and had been a visiting professor at the ╔cole des Hautes ╔tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, Yale University, the University of Chicago, and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A prize-winning scholar, he has published extensively on religious history and ancient Egypt.

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