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The Monotheizing Process

The Monotheizing Process

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Judaism, Christianity, and Islam claim to be monotheistic, but none of them actually is; none of the three has yet arrived at the true monotheism the Bible and the Qur'an mandate: that is, belief in there being but One God of All. Each often claims its concept of God is the One God despite the fact that the Bible and the Qur'an insist that the true God is indefinable and incomprehensible. Many passages of the Bible are polytheistic, and yet the Judaism that emerged out of the exile claimed to believe in One God. Critically moving from the older passages through to the later, careful readers are able to trace a process that is best called monotheizing. In effect the first commandment of the Decalogue, the first of Jesus's two great commandments, and the Qur'an's clear mandate fashion an imperative to continue the monotheizing process that is not yet complete but that enjoins adherents of each to live life in the belief that there is but One God of All. ""Sanders has zeroed in on the greatest contribution of Hebrew thought to the world, its insistent monotheizing, which overcomes every 'we-they' distinction through including the 'they' within the sphere of divine concern and grace. He fully appreciates the constant failure of the Hebrews themselves and the Christian and Islamic communities to actualize this fundamental principle of their faith, relapsing into exclusivism. The need to monotheize has never been greater or more deeply threatened than today. Hence the importance of this book."" --John Cobb, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA ""The Monotheizing Process is much more than a work of impeccable scholarship by a learned and mature scholar. In describing the evolution and significance of genuine monotheistic faith in the Jewish and Christian canon, the book addresses itself to modern-day Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and calls upon them to apply the universal and humanistic strictures of that faith to their lives and the lives of their peoples. It is a work worthy of serious discussion."" --David Ellenson, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem ""No one has thought as well and as long, as imaginatively and helpfully about canon as has Jim Sanders. His recognition that canon is a dynamic process permits him to continue to open new vistas of interpretive possibility, now even an opening toward the 'other' great religions of the book. This book is a significant advance on his previous study and will be taken with great seriousness by those who care about biblical authority and the normative claims of the tradition. This is a most welcome gift of wisdom among us!"" --Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA James A. Sanders is professor emeritus of biblical studies at the Claremont School of Theology and the Claremont Graduate University as well as president emeritus of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center. Among his many publications are Torah and Canon, 2nd ed. (Cascade, 2005), Canon and Community, and God Has a Story Too.
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