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Hypsistos: Cultural Translation of Jewish Monotheism in the Hellenistic Period


Lanckau, Jörg (2011). Hypsistos: Cultural Translation of Jewish Monotheism in the Hellenistic Period. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 65(4):861-882.

Abstract

The much-debated evidence of a Hellenistic “Most High” God does not reflect a turn towards a uniform “pagan monotheism”. The modern terms “polytheism” and “monotheism” are not suitable for the description of the complexity of the interactions within the Hellenistic world from the 2nd century BCE until the 6th century CE. The rituals and practices of these various cults were based on the belief in a unique, transcendent god that could not be represented in human form. A “third space” opens: A new religious language is applied for traditional local cults, arising in very different situations where negotiation at the boundaries and borders of groupings and communities took place. The Jewish use of Hypsistos attempts to translate exclusive notions of YHWH into this environment.

Abstract

The much-debated evidence of a Hellenistic “Most High” God does not reflect a turn towards a uniform “pagan monotheism”. The modern terms “polytheism” and “monotheism” are not suitable for the description of the complexity of the interactions within the Hellenistic world from the 2nd century BCE until the 6th century CE. The rituals and practices of these various cults were based on the belief in a unique, transcendent god that could not be represented in human form. A “third space” opens: A new religious language is applied for traditional local cults, arising in very different situations where negotiation at the boundaries and borders of groupings and communities took place. The Jewish use of Hypsistos attempts to translate exclusive notions of YHWH into this environment.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 65 (2011) > 4
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:13 Mar 2012 09:17
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:51
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717

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