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

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

Paperback George L. Mosse Series in Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History (Paperback)

By (author) Jan Assmann

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  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Format: Paperback | 200 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 15mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 15 July 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Wisconsin
  • ISBN 10: 0299225542
  • ISBN 13: 9780299225544
  • Edition: 1
  • Edition statement: X, 222 Pp. and.
  • Sales rank: 249,583

Product description

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. This work will be of great interest to anyone seeking to understand the relationship between God and gods.

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Author information

Jan Assmann is professor emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg. He is also Honorary Professor of Cultural Theory at Konstanz University and has been a visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes 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.

Review quote

"An important contribution to the fields of Egyptology, Biblical studies, and the general study of religion." - Israel Knohl, Hebrew University, Jerusalem"