Monotheism in the Ancient World

The Biblical Review

b22f947f59521aaed4c64566c5352ebe_clip-art-numbers-1-10-cliparts-free-clipart-the-number-1_1026-616One issue which I am very interested in exploring is that of monotheism. When did monotheism first exist? Many people would quickly say that ancient Israel was a monotheistic people-group. The Hebrew Bible, though, says otherwise. Even in the Hebrew Bible we see evidence of Judeans and Israelites worshiping gods who are not Yahweh. Likewise, we have many inscriptions attesting to the existence and worship of other deities by Judeans. Some inscriptions reach back to the 10th century BCE. Finally, archaeological evidence from the region suggests that Yahweh was not the only god worshiped. [1]

We should likewise be cautious when assuming that early Christians were monotheistic. While they surely believed in one god, our category of monotheism still limits them. According to our category of monotheism, one is a monotheist if they believe in the existence of one god. Ancient Christian views of god, particularly that of gnostics, was more…

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