monotheism in the ot?

Did Anyone Believe in One God before the Greeks?

By Richard S. Hess
Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages
Denver Seminary
December 2010
The critical view of Israelite religion has traditionally understood that monotheism was present in Israel at the time of Josiah in the late seventh century. This view has been an important one in defining the role of Josiah in his policy of centralization of the cult and other matters reflecting his ambitions for the creation of a greater kingdom.
However, recent studies have argued that the life of Josiah as described in the book of Kings is a fictional creation from the post-exilic period or later that has been retrojected into the earlier period. Behind this lay the argument that monotheism did not exist in the pre-exilic period. Instead, it is to be found only in subsequent ages, perhaps the Persian or Hellenistic periods. It should be noted that this evaluation does not attempt to distinguish a philosophical monotheism such as emerged in the world of Classical Greece with its philosophers. Rather, the term monotheism is here understood simply as worship by the adherents of the religion of a single deity. Other terms, such as monolatry or henotheism, may describe aspects of this, but the term monotheism continues to be used broadly and will serve the purposes of this note.
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