Shift from Polytheism to Monotheism

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Shift from Polytheism to Monotheism by Mind Map: Shift from Polytheism to Monotheism

1. Polytheistic Hebrews

1.1. The Hebrews had originally been polytheistic, believing in multiple gods, and they then began to follow henotheistic beliefs, the belief in one god while not denying the existence of other gods.

1.2. Believed in gods El - Chief God, Baal - God of Fertility and Strength (Bull) Asherah - Goddess of fertility and Love

2. Shift from Polytheism to Henotheism: The main event that led to Jewish conversion was Abraham questioning whether the gods they worshiped had power or not.

2.1. Abraham was a man born in Sumerian in the city of UR, he had been chosen by God to make a daring move in the conversion of the Hebrew people who were Pagan, believing in several Gods - his whole community and father all believed in Pagan gods

2.2. Abraham’s Covenant with God marked the transition from polytheism to henotheism. (Covenant was a binding promise made between God and his tribal God according to Book of Genesis.) People asked to worship this one God (but not dismiss others)

2.3. Circumcise themselves (mark of Covenant: Sacrifice of Pain). As long as Abraham and descendants keep promise with God, will make them multiply and prosper.

2.4. To show devotion, Abraham was tested to see if he would kill son. Reward of Covenant: Land of Canaan.This episode represents shift toward idea of tribal God watching out for his people

3. Shift from Henotheism to Monotheism: According to the Old Testament Moses had gone to the top of Mount Sinai, where God delivered him the 10 Commandments, marking the shift from henotheism to monotheism.

3.1. Generations after Abraham, the Hebrews get sold into slavery in Egypt and are forced to work for Pharaoh. The Hebrew’s misery ends when God punishes the people of Egypt with 10 plagues. These Exodus Hebrews have experienced power of God. Yahweh (tribal God) vs. Egyptian Gods- henotheism

3.2. Across the Sinai Desert, God gives Moses 10 Commandments (Decalogue) on Mt. Sinai.

3.3. " Thou shall have no other God Besides Me", the first Commandment made it clear that the Jews shall not have any other gods, becoming monotheistic only believing in one God.

3.4. Hebrews worship the golden calf (pagan God El and it angers God - they are cursed to wander the land for 40 years and 3000 executions; leads to the fear of the god -> become monotheistic

3.5. The exclusivity of relationship made clear by God here. The Exodus Hebrews create the Tabernacle to worship God. Tabernacle (moving place of worship) is made. This moving structure demonstrates strong faith in one tribal God

4. Return Back to Canaan after the Exodus

4.1. The returning Jews joined with the Hebrews, the ones who never left Egypt, to conquer the natives in Canaan and many others, bound only together by their belief in God and their kings.

4.2. First defeating the Amorites, native to Canaan, they had a new much bigger threat the Philistines, so they decided that they needed a singer ruler to help defeat them, King Saul.

4.3. Saul (1020-1000 BC) fought the Philistines to gain control over Canaan. defeated the Philistines and various other tribes