Beyond Monotheism: A Theology of Multiplicity by Laurel Schneider

By Laurel Schneider

Laurel Schneider takes the reader on a brilliant trip from the origins of ''the common sense of the One'' - just recently dubbed monotheism - via to the fashionable day, the place monotheism has more and more didn't competently deal with religious, clinical, and moral stories within the altering global. partially I, Schneider strains a trajectory from the traditional heritage of monotheism and multiplicity in Greece, Israel, and Africa during the Constantinian valorization of the common sense of the single, to medieval and smooth demanding situations to that good judgment in poetry and technology. She pursues another and positive process partially II: a ''logic of multiplicity'' already resident in Christian traditions during which the complexity of existence and the presence of God will be higher articulated. half III takes up the open-ended query of ethics from inside that multiplicity, exploring the consequences of this radical and real looking new theology for the questions that lie beneath theological building: questions of belonging and nationalism, of the potential for love, and of solidarity. during this groundbreaking paintings of latest theology, Schneider indicates that the only isn't really misplaced in divine multiplicity, and that during spite of its abstractions, divine multiplicity is real looking and worldly, very unlikely eventually to abstract.

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9 In general, ‘‘monotheism’’ has served and continues to serve two principal, related efforts in modern theology and biblical scholarship. First, it labors in the classifying and cataloguing enterprises of western social science, and, second, it has effectively served as a transport vehicle for ideologies of European cultural and religious superiority. To this latter end ‘‘monotheism,’’ as a designation of progressive advancement, is attached to the Jewish-to-Christian trajectory of western European history, a trajectory that purportedly begins in prehistoric polytheism, advances to preliminary monotheism in Israel, and finally reaches full flower and sophistication in Christianity, all through the revelatory acts of God.

12 In part, the problem of the monotheism–polytheism binary lies in the reductive character of all binary distinctions and the limitations that they place upon otherwise much more complex and shifting realities. Smith notes that it is Then came the word 21 difficult to remember that comparing ancient polytheistic religions with a monotheistic one is anachronistic, as the term ‘polytheism’ only has any meaning or sense because it is contrasted with monotheism. 13 It is not that ‘‘monotheism’’ or ‘‘polytheism’’ is without any usefulness in the work of analyzing ancient religious practices and beliefs.

28 Arguments persisted from the eighteenth century into the twentieth over which arose first in human history: monotheism or polytheism. The assumption of progression went largely unchallenged. Rousseau, of course, favored polytheism as the original religious sensibility, closer to the ‘‘natural,’’ amoral infancy of human innocence and lack of civilization. Voltaire, on the other hand, held the position that monotheism predated polytheism, the latter representing the degeneration of humanity from its more perfect created state.

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