I’m enjoying the course very much. My question is about lecture 6 – specifically the part about the significance of monotheism.
Not sure if I’m working from a good definition. The definition I have is (ahdictionary.com and dictionary.com):
monotheism: The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.
This would understandably have created all sorts of conflict between the Hebrews and other groups because it invalidates all other groups’ gods and their earthly representatives i.e. priests and royalty. Whereas stating to the Hebrew people that Jehovah is to be worshipped only – despite the existence of other gods – would be different.
Given that, at least in the beginning, the notion of universalism, was not widely promulgated, it seems particularly condemning and exclusionary i.e. to say “I’m the only God which exists and only this chosen group can engage in any way with me.”
Is the above quoted definition of monotheism appropriate for Dr Jewel’s discussions?
Jim, scholars disagree on whether the Hebrews were monotheistic from the beginning or if they started with “monolatry” (the worship of only one God) and later moved to monotheism. Everyone agrees that they eventually ended up at monotheism, but the question is whether that was true at the time of Moses or if it wasn’t until the 8th century B.C. or so.