Journal Article

One God, One Revelation, One People: On the Symbolic Structure of Elective Monotheism

Martin S. Jaffee

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 69, issue 4, pages 753-776
Published in print December 2001 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online December 2001 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/69.4.753
One God, One Revelation, One People: On the Symbolic Structure of Elective Monotheism

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The article explores some of the symbolic foundations of the monotheistic discourses that underlie Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The focus of such discourses on the uniqueness of the Creator of the world and the exclusivity of his modes of communication with especially selected individuals and communities fosters within each tradition an abiding capacity for intercommunal rivalry and conflict. In this view, competition and conflict among monotheistic traditions is not a failure of monotheistic ethics but an expression of the fundamental intentionality of monotheistic discourses as symbolic systems.

The article opens with some criticisms of commonly cited encyclopedic treatments of monotheism and distinguishes between “metaphysical” or speculative monotheism and “elective” monotheism. The bulk of the discussion probes the general symbolic structures that underlie concrete historical discourses of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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