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Monotheism

The Flood Changes God Not Humanity

When YHWH sees the evil ways of humanity, he initially decides to wipe them out, but then determines to save Noah’s family. After the flood and Noah’s sacrifice, YHWH promises that He will never again destroy the earth and all life, even though humanity will continue in its evil ways. Thus, the story chronicles not the moral and emotional advancement of humanity but of YHWH.

Prof.

Ronald Hendel

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When Did the Bible Become Monotheistic?

It is often said that monotheism is one of Judaism’s greatest contributions to Western culture; however, it is far from clear that the Hebrew Bible is monotheistic. What is monotheism and when did it first develop?

Prof.

Kenneth Seeskin

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Standing Under Sinai: On the Origins of a Coerced Covenant

Tracing the tannaitic and biblical sources for the famous claim that God held Mount Sinai over the Israelites and threatened to bury them if they did not accept the Torah.

Dr.

Tzvi Novick

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Shema Yisrael: In What Way Is "YHWH One"?

The Shema has many interpretations, philosophical, eschatological, national, etc. A historical-critical way to understand the Shema is to read it (and Deuteronomy more broadly) against the backdrop of Assyrian domination, when Assyria touted their god Ashur as the supreme master of the world.

Rabbi

Daniel M. Zucker

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Are There Gods, Angels, and Demons in Deuteronomy?

Several poetic verses in Deuteronomy were used in Second Temple times to support the belief in multiple characters in the divine realm. Thus, the scribes of the early Masoretic text, who opposed this belief, sometimes went so far as to revise or excise these references.[1]  

Dr.

Jonathan Ben-Dov

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How did Abraham Discover God? The Rationalistic Approach

A single midrash on Parashat Lekh Lekha manages to touch upon the existence of God and how to relate to Him, on the tension between Torah and science, and on rabbinic criticism of Maimonides’ thirteen principles. 

Dr. Rabbi

Seth (Avi) Kadish

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God, Israelites and Non-Israelites: Embracing Ambivalence

A postmodern look at Parashat Ekev’s view on God’s role in politics, the challenge of monotheism in biblical times, and the relative positions of Israel and her neighbors in God’s eyes.

Prof.

Adele Reinhartz

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