Media and Monotheism: Presence, Representation, and Abstraction in Ancient Judea
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019 pp. xvii + 297. $167.00
Orientalische Religionen in der Antike, 33
Description: Symbolising' – i.e., representing through the use of media – is a more elementary, more foundational activity than the self-conscious use of the intellect. Its exploration is central to this investigation of the transformation of the pre-exilic Yahweh religion into the monotheism of the post-exilic period. That transformation was triggered by a new constellation of key media in the pre-exilic and exilic periods: writing, images, and money. The central objective is to understand how their use contributed to a decisive increase in abstraction in representation and led to changes in the conceptualisation of divine presence and its representation that ultimately resulted in the transition from monolatry to monotheism. In this study, Joachim Schaper explores neglected areas of Judahite material culture and contributes to an in-depth reconstruction of Judah's religious history in its most important epoch, and thus of one of the key developments in the religious history of humanity.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Israel, History of Judaism, Archaeology, Literary Approaches
Review by Dominik Markl
Citation: Dominik Markl, review of Joachim Schaper, Media and Monotheism: Presence, Representation, and Abstraction in Ancient Judea, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).
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