Israels Religionsgeschichte aus ethnologischer Sicht
Anhropos 101.2006:99-109
Keywords: religion, history of religion, polytheism, monolatry, monotheism, morality, Judaism

Israel"s history of religion from an anthropological perspective
##The shift from the essentially polytheistic Israelite worldview to the basically monolatric and monotheistic religion of biblical orthodoxy is still seen as a major problem of the history of religions, for there is no generally accepted explanation to account for the change. As the present article argues, this shift can be elucidated with the help of anthropological research about "millenarian" or "nativistic" movements. Like some of these movements, the Hebrew Yahweh-alone movement invented a tradition to redefine Israel"s true nature in a situation of" political crisis brought about by colonial domination. The invented monotheistic tradition could rely on, and draw upon, two traditional institutions: (1) the temporary monolatric worship of" a warrior deity in times of war, and (2) repentance as "turning" to God, or "returning" to proper morality, ritually staged as a response to a severe social crisis. Thus biblical Judaism received the two pillars upon which it rests: monotheism and morality.##