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The Origins of Biblical MonotheismIsrael's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts$
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Mark S. Smith

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195134803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513480X.001.0001

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Monotheism in Isaiah 40–55

Monotheism in Isaiah 40–55

(p.179) 10 Monotheism in Isaiah 40–55
The Origins of Biblical Monotheism

Mark S. Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This last chapter offers a study of the monotheistic rhetoric in what is considered the most prominent evidence of this language, namely Isaiah 40–55. The language of monotheism in this section of the Bible particularly illustrates that monotheism is hardly a religious stage at this point, but rather a rhetorical strategy designed to persuade its audience of the reality of Yahweh’s absolute power in a world where a foreign empire holds sway over Judah. The different sections of the chapter look at the polemical context of Isaiah 40–55, the outsider context (polemic), insider referentiality and Isaiah 44, and reading this text for monotheism.

Keywords:   Bible, Isaiah, Israelite monotheism, Judah, monotheism, polemic, referentiality, religious history, Yahweh

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