Of God and Gods: Egypt, Israel, And The Rise Of Monotheism

Paperback | May 21, 2008

byJan Assmann

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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.
    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.
    Without a theory of polytheism, Assmann contends, any adequate understanding of monotheism is impossible.

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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.     Jan Assmann, ...

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 École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, Yale University, the University of Chicago, and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A priz...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:May 21, 2008Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299225542

ISBN - 13:9780299225544

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“Of God and Gods deserves to be studied carefully by all scholars and students of the history of monotheism, and Assmann’s unique ability as a scholar of comparative religion and as an Egyptologist has allowed him to access the biblical texts with an insight and vigour mostly unmatched by those who have attempted to study the Hebrew Bible in isolation on this very relevant topic.”—Brian R. Doak, Religion