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Monotheism And Violence: How To Handle A Dangerous Biblical Tradition

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Chapter Summary

Since September the 11th, 2001, it has become obvious to everyone in the world that religiously motivated fanaticism and violence constitute a dangerous political threat to all human civilizations. According to the biblical tradition monotheism emerged in the very beginnings of Israel, when Yhwh revealed to Moses all the Torah on Mount Sinai including the prohibition of syncretism and idolatry. Since the establishment of an Israelite kingship the needs of a more differentiated society pressed the Yhwh-religion to a syncretistic and polytheistic extension. Connected with the expansion and the diplomatic relations of the Israelite kingdoms, the national gods of the neighbour states were subordinated or related to Yhwh. This chapter discusses some theological reflections on a responsible use of the monotheistic confession. Monolatry aggravates treaties and friendly relations to other nations, which worship different gods as long as the political realm is not separated from the confessional one.

Keywords: biblical tradition; Israelite kingdoms; monotheistic confession; syncretistic extension; Yhwh-religion



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