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19

Religious Developments of the Exile

Lecture no. 19 from the course: The World of Biblical Israel

Religious Developments of the Exile

Taught by Professor Cynthia R. Chapman | 30 min | Categories: The Great Courses Plus Online Philosophy & Religion Courses

Chart the development of monotheism in the Bible, from a plurality of gods to the primacy of the Israelite god known as Yahweh. Then turn to Second Isaiah, “the prophet of monotheism,” who, in the final years of the Babylonian exile, envisioned Yahweh on a cosmic and universal scale.

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g********t
August 31, 2016

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j********m
April 14, 2016
While I like this course overall, I think there is a general misunderstanding in academia (based on this and other experiences I've had) on the difference between God and gods. God (YHWH) is *not* a "god," but rather the culmination of all gods (finite but supernatural beings) and everything else. The name "YHWH" more accurately means something like "The Eternal Being" since the name is a combination of past, present, and future tenses of the Hebrew verb "to be" in the third person. God's name in the first person is not "I Am Who I Am," but instead "I Am That I Am," which alludes to His (not gendered) transcendent and ultimately incomprehensible nature. I think it's very problematic to read and interpret these ancient texts, especially when referring to God or gods, in any literal sense, especially when the earliest known commentaries on them (Philo for instance) explicitly state that they're largely metaphorical, which should be obvious since by definition, God (Who is Infinite in all respects) cannot be understood by our finite minds. Being monotheistic does *not* mean believing that no other gods exist, it means understanding that only God (the Highest of Highs) *deserves* worship. Worshiping gods instead of God would be like thanking someone's hand for giving you something rather than thanking the actual person.

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