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Title: Deuteronomy and the Meaning of "Monotheism"
Author: MacDonald, Nathan
Publisher: Mohr Siebeck; Publication Date: 2003
Paperback; ISBN: 9783161480546
Volumes: 1; Pages: ix, 271
List Price in Paper: $79.00 Our price: $79.00
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This book has two aims. The first is to argue that the term "monotheism" is not useful for describing the doctrine of God implicated in Deuteronomy. The second is to examine what is meant by the Deuteronomic affirmation that "Yhwh is one" and its connected concepts. The argument is based on a synchronic interpretation of key passages in Deuteronomy 4; 6-10 and 32. These texts are dealt with repeatedly as the book focuses on the themes of oneness, love, memory, election, and the prohibition against images in respective chapters.M.'s critique of the categories of universalism and particularism (mentioned above) and his close reading of Deuteronomy 4 in connection with the prohibition against images are but two examples of thoughtful work that warrants reflection. Even interpretation of the Shema benefits from M.'s approach. He draws attention to a connection between the statement that "Yhwh is one" in Deut 6:4 and Song 6:8-9, "my dove, my perfect one is one, to her mother she is one" (p. 74). The declaration that the beloved is "one" in Song of Songs does not preclude the possibility that there are other potential lovers, just as the mother may have other children; but the vocabulary of oneness underscores that she is unrivaled in the affections of the poet. The application of this usage to the interpretation of the Shema by M. is an important contribution. It calls attention to affective aspects of Yhwh's exclusive relationship with Israel which M. also explores elsewhere in this volume."In summary, this is an informative and provocative book which would be a useful resource in graduate courses on Deuteronomy or biblical theology."--William S. Morrow, Queen's Theological College in Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Volume 6 (2006)