Of God and Gods: Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism Paperback – May 21 2008
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"An important contribution to the fields of Egyptology, Biblical studies, and the general study of religion." - Israel Knohl, Hebrew University, Jerusalem"
About the Author
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 prize-winning scholar, he has published extensively on religious history and ancient Egyp
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The larger question is whether the Mosaic distinction fosters more religious violence than otherwise. He considers both sides without taking a definite stand. He does claim, however, that monotheism taken rightly should critique religious violence. Frankly, I found the issue of violence to be a side issue and more or less a concession to a sensational topic after 9/11.
Assmann really knows the Egyptian and Near Eastern polytheistic background to Judaism, and the key differences between them. For example, in polytheistic religions, the King stood in for god and administered justice. Also, the legal system was separate from religious cultic practices. In Judaism, justice is integrated deeply into religion, with the prophets constantly denigrating sacrifice in favor of taking care of orphans and widows etc. At the same time, the Hebrew God doesn't support the institution of kingship but just the opposite.
Overall, the book is full of valuable insights. I don't agree with some of his points, but his work is mostly solid and well-nigh essential for scholars writing on this period. It is also of interest for anyone who is seriously interested in monotheism (Judaism, Christianity, Islam).
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