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doc ✓ The Price of Monotheism ´ Pasta dura read à goproled Ê ☆ [PDF / Epub] ★ The Price of Monotheism By Egyptologist Jan Assmann ✩ – Nothing has so radically transformed the world as the distinction between true and false religion In this nuanced consideratWay with this distinction since the early modern period He explores at length the notions of primary versus secondary religions of counter religions and of book religions versus cultic religions He also deals with the entry of ethics into religion's very core Informed by the debate his own work has generated he presents a compelling lesson in the fluidity of cultural identity and beliefs Such a great book You will gain a lot of knowledge on One Truth that Assmann is arguing here

The Price of MonotheismWay with this distinction since the early modern period He explores at length the notions of primary versus secondary religions of counter religions and of book religions versus cultic religions He also deals with the entry of ethics into religion's very core Informed by the debate his own work has generated he presents a compelling lesson in the fluidity of cultural identity and beliefs Such a great book You will gain a lot of knowledge on One Truth that Assmann is arguing here

reader ì The Price of Monotheism ✓ Egyptologist Jan Assmann

The Price of Monotheism ☆ Nothing has so radically transformed the world as the distinction between true and false religion In this nuanced consideration of his own controversial Moses the Egyptian renowned Egyptologist Jan Assmann answers his critics extending and building upon ideas from his previous book Maintaining that it was indeed the Moses of the Hebrew Bible who introduced the true false distinction in a Many if not most people upon reading Jan Assmann's earlier book Moses the Egyptian The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism took him to be advocating a return to pagan religiosity Our author specifically denies that several times in this text But what drew readers to his 'Moses' book is apparently not what drove our author to write it This book before us was written to set the record straight Our author is interested in memory specifically cultural memory And not only memories that everyone acknowledges but also ones that are repressed like the memory of the specific forms of religiosity that came before the rise of monotheism and continually reappear at the edges of our western society culture and history In this review I would like to concentrate on what he thought to be some of the conseuences of this turn to monotheism from the earlier 'paganism' which preceded itFirst being a 'mnemologist' he is naturally interested in the transition from cult and ritual to text Now of course he is not maintaining that our monotheists our author calls them 'secondary' religions do not have rituals; his point is that for them ritual is reduced to a supporting and supplementary role Whereas for pagans he refers to them as 'primary' or 'archaic' religions the text is embedded in ritual and subordinated to it This turn from primary religion to these later 'book religions' was a pivotal moment in world history according to our author Writing and transcendence belong together on the side of secondary religions just as ritual and immanence belong together on the side of primary religions Regarding these archaic religions we are told that interlinked with the principle of ritual continuity is the idea that the world needs to be held on its course Ritual cultures or cult religions typically operate on the assumption that the universe would suffer or even come to an end if the rites ceased to be observed in the prescribed fashionOur author argues that the truly uniue stance of paganism is not its polytheism rather it is its insistence that the world is divine Pagans most usually thought that there was indeed a single One above and behind all the various divine beings Assmann argues that The counterposition to monotheism does not claim 'God is Many' but rather 'God is One and All' It would therefore be misleading to label it polytheism What is important is not that the divine be manifold but that the fulness and richness of its innerworldly manifestations not be hemmed in by any dogmatic boundary lines In essence the issue here is the godliness of the world This is why our author prefers to define these primary religions as 'cosmotheism' the belief that our mundane world partakes in the divine rather than the expected 'polytheism' Of course over against this cosmotheism is the One God of the Monotheists who is above and Other to everything and He most decidedly is not a part of natureWith the rise of the several monotheisms the Sacred perhaps irrevocably changes For our cosmotheists and their rituals the focus is on the sacred as it is made manifest in the world For our monotheists the sacred is no longer to be found in our world The sacred is now found only in holy scripture The sacred has left the world it is now found in either transcendence or scripture This amounts to a complete volte face Rather than being used to stabilize ritual writing takes its place The World land sea sky sun stars is no longer sacred The step into the religion of transcendence was a step out of the world one could almost speak in this context of an 'exodus' into scripture Our author regards this as a pivotal moment in our history After this the natural world itself really can only be at bottom an IdolWe have left the magical world behind Of course this doesn't happen immediately it is a long ongoing process that is not yet complete But down this road something like our secular modernity may be almost inevitable once 'book religions' rise Prophetic monotheism lacks natural evidence; it walks as Saint Paul says not in vision but in faith But this particular faith is in a God Who is entirely separate from His Creation What the sociologist Max Weber named 'disenchantment of the world' and the psychoanalyst Freud called 'progress in intellectuality' continually grows along this road Consider yourself at least a sympathizer of cosmotheism if this doesn't entirely strike you as progressThe uestion now is 'how have these sympathies survived?' That is another conseuence of monotheism None of the new or secondary religions succeeded in completely wiping out the vestiges of the primary religion or religions on which they were built; rather they freuently adopted such traces and adapted them to their own purposes This is a process of 'syncretistic amalgamation' The archaic sacred was not immediately wiped away as if by a sponge The 'New' in order to arise must incorporate aspects of the 'Old' Our author uotes Theo Sundermeier approvingly on this point Here we find an organic syncretism at work that is both inevitable and unobjectionable The this synthesis succeeds the greater are the chances that the new religion will be able to establish itself as a viable popular religion So you see secondary religions must incorporate pre existing 'sacred' material in order to be successful Without such pre existing material one suspects that the religion would be largely ignored and then forgottenBut our author adds that the origin of these syncretistic elements has to be forgotten and made invisible Assmann argues persuasively that secondary or counterreligions develop a new form of unconsciousness by enriching themselves with elements of primary religious experience and religious practice while at the same time having to reinterpret their semantics and refunction their forms to fit them to the new context And it is from this 'crypt' of cultural unconsciousness that supposedly new religious movements often draw their ideas Of course as our author notes this has some similarity to the Freudian notion of the 'return of the repressed'Freud was right about this much there is always an unacknowledged depth Out of these depths grow ever new syntheses of the contemporary and the archaic These deep traces forms a depth dimension a 'crypt' of religious tradition which like language bears within it much knowledge and many memories than those who live in that tradition can ever fully bring to consciousness Not only does the individual mind have an unconscious but culture does too One suspects that just as psychoanalysis teaches us that all individuals are a bit neurotic so too all cultures or at least all cultures formed around secondary religions must also be a little 'crazy' It is the existence of this crypt of memory that allows our author to say of our secondary religions that they are duplicitous; they bear encrypted within themselves the paganism they ostensibly rejectA third conseuence of monotheism according to our author is 'the invention of the inner self' This occurs because monotheism at its inception sharply delimits itself from its own other a process for which 'Egypt' and 'Canaan' stand as the central symbols; and it gives itself the form of a 'covenant' modeled on a political alliance according to which Israel not only agrees to become the people of god but god likewise vows to become the god of a people Our author understands this to mark a conversion from primary to secondary religion from a lower to a higher state of consciousness allegiance and commitmentOf all this primary religions knew nothing They do not separate themselves from something else and they therefore have no need to distinguish themselves from 'culture' or to 'sectorally segregate' themselves within culture Secondary or counterreligions foster a higher degree of consciousness because the distinction between true and false on which they rest must continually be drawn anew within the soul of the believer Our author often refers to the distinction between true and false religion as the 'Mosaic Distinction' It seems that the old pagan religions were religions almost exclusively of exteriority; one performed the appropriate rituals correctly at the prescribed time and one was done with it But I doubt that one could ever be 'done' with the God who is interested in the recesses of our very soulsExteriority is easy; interiority is hard Thanks to these secondary religions many distinctions primarily between True and False Religion but also between True Religion and 'science art politics' and also the natural world we are told that the the transition from primary to secondary religious experience is therefore also a consciousness raising experience Now if this experience sounds unhappy to you you may well be a cosmotheist Our author again approvingly uotes Theo Sundermeier from an untranslated work regarding this transition Now one can and must decide for the new It is not enough to go through the motions inner acceptance is reuired as well Belief and discipleship are the order of the day truth must be separated from lies Now there is 'true' and 'false' religionThere are people who read these last words and say perhaps only to themselves 'welcome to hell' Our author concludes his discussion of this particular conseuence of monotheism by saying the distinction between truth and lies does not just carve up external space it cuts through the human heart as well which for the first time becomes the stage upon which the religious dynamic is played out Again the archaic gods were gods of exteriority and performance; the One God Who Rules Alone is concerned exclusively with our interiority ie our faith And it is the resulting expansion of human interiority both terrible and exhilarating that has irrevocably changed our worldThe last conseuence of monotheism that was especially important to our author is its status as what our author calls a 'counterreligion' and its relation to sin Our secondary religions ie our monotheisms are counterreligions because they must oppose something that is 'untrue' The first thing they oppose of course are the primary religions Now the type of 'sin' our author has in mind has nothing to do with the Biblical 'Fall of Man' ie expulsion from Eden and the story of Noah and the Flood As our author points out there are numerous parallels to the fall and the flood; this concept of sin is thus nothing new and by no means first came into the world with Monotheism The 'new form of sinfulness' that our author is interested in is found in the dance around the Golden CalfUltimately the difference is that with our monotheisms one must want to sin Now one could certainly in the primary religions dishonor the gods Of course we are told the gods can be neglected insufficiently venerated sinned against in a hundred different ways for example by breaking one of the taboos associated with them but one can choose neither to initiate nor to terminate a relationship with them After all the pagan gods are but names for the various forces in the world It is obvious that no one would ever contemplate denying the existence of divine forces They are there for all to see in the form of sun and moon air and water earth and fire death and life war and peace All these things are either natural or social ie collective; none of them reuire an inner decision on the part of the individual My inner decision is no responsible for war and peace for the pagans these too are personified as divine forces than it is for keeping the sun and moon in their appointed pathsBut my inner decision and mine alone decides my relationship to the One True God A terrible and exhilarating responsibility indeed We are now forever alone with The One Who Is Forever Other In turning to face the world the One and Only God finds no other partner than the people who believe in him and the human heart that yearns for him since the world itself is bereft of all godliness Each of us alone with the Alone bears the weight of god's address to the world Never before had man borne such a heavy responsibility I found this point in particular to be the most profound conseuence of monotheism; I mean the unprecedented expansion of human interiority I believe this expansion occurs in order for each of us to better meet the unfathomable depths on the One God Who is Forever Other The depths within each of us unconsciously strive to mirror the Other Who cannot ever be imitatedThe gods of polytheistic religions realized the forms in which they addressed the world in mutual obligations and constellations In monotheism the One God invests himself for the first time exclusively in humans and their capacity for love and fidelity The correlate of this shift is an entirely new sense of inadeuacy on the part of humans Ah yes sin This is why the dalliance with the Golden Calf is of such importance to our author We had given our word to be faithful to the One God and we broke it The commandment to renounce false gods evidently meets with the greatest resistance in the human soul So no monotheism did not 'invent' sin; it invented a new kind of sin And this is not to be considered a denunciation of monotheism by our author I am not claiming that 'sin and guilt are the result of the division of the world through the Mosaic distinction' merely that a new consciousness and conception of guilt came into the world with the distinction and the turn it brought about in the history of consciousness This assertion does not imply any value judgment Perhaps a few concluding words on the 'Mosaic Distinction' between True and False Religion are in order Monotheistic religion defines itself in the Exodus story by differentiating itself from Egypt Egypt had to be left behind so the promised land of monotheism could be reached Again our author insists that this move is not to be deplored Unfortunately this never happens in an evolutionary manner Humankind would never have progressed to monotheism in the natural course of events in the sense of a gradual evolution Monotheism demands emigration delimitation conversion revolution a radical turning towards the new resulting from an eually radical break abnegation denial of the old Paganism is the 'natural' form of religion; there is no 'progress' from it only revolutionary rejection The Exodus from Egypt was the first Revolution One doubts we will ever see the last onePerhaps there may even be a revolution overturning our present religions How? Well the archaic remains of pagan religion still haunt our cultural unconscious In fact our author will make note of the eruptive forcefulness with which this repressed dark side has continually returned to haunt the West in the idea of a prisca theologia and in Renaissance hermeticism in the ideas of natural religion Spinozism and pantheism in the Enlightenment and early Romanticism and in the various neo cosmotheisms from the Munich cosmicists through to 'Hitler's God' the Wicca cult and other New Age religious fadsAs you can see throughout post medieval times new religious movements have continually appeared And all of them according to our author with a healthy dose of the archaic cosmotheism within them Is there a religious revolution that overturns our secondary religions in the making? No one knows for sure However if it does come I believe we can be certain of one thing It will be no mere return to ancient religiosity The 'new' according to our author always emerges out of a mixture of the contemporary and the archaic I suspect that if a new religion were to arise it would be a mixture of the archaic belief in the 'divinity of the world' alongside the spiritual depth gained thanks to our several secondary religions If this were ever to come to pass the apologists of this new religion would likely say that 'the infinite exterior of our divine World and the eternal recesses of the in dwelling Spirit had at last come to rest in each other arms' Or so I imagineBut is a new religion even possible? The Hebrews in thrall to pagan idolatry are converted to monotheism by Moses Paul converts Jews and gentiles to Christianity Mohammed converts Jews Christians and infidels to Islam; and in all these situations of conversion the Mosaic distinction between true and false is reintroduced and tightened The Mosaic distinction must constantly be drawn anew It seems that the Mosaic distinction between true and false belief is itself a permanent revolution Ultimately all theology is local Each and every religious formation reacts negatively to the beliefs that came before them; of course along with this there is as one would expect also a reaction to what is uniue in its local circumstances too Thus what our author calls 'cosmotheism' the entire world is divine precedes monotheism the Divinity is entirely separate from the world which in turn will eventually be overthrown by something else So yes perhaps it is not impossible that a new religion especially in a time of protracted trouble would again be able to rise But the 'Price of Monotheism' that is the conseuence of humanity first drawing the Mosaic distinction between true and false religion is always repression of what came before it And so each new religious formation can never truly bring a lasting peaceThis is because the 'denied' ie the overturned religion whatever it might be becomes at least a part of the newly minted archaic and there it slumbers fitfully in the deep recesses of culture Until the next crisis calls it forth reader ì The Price of Monotheism ✓ Egyptologist Jan Assmann

Egyptologist Jan Assmann ✓ The Price of Monotheism epub

Egyptologist Jan Assmann ✓ The Price of Monotheism epub Permanent and revolutionary form Assmann reiterates that the price of this monotheistic revolution has been the exclusion as paganism and heresy of everything deemed incompatible with the truth it proclaims This exclusion has exploded time and again into violence and persecution with no end in sight Here for the first time Assmann traces the repeated attempts that have been made to do a This book is an English translation of Asmmann's Die Mosaische Unterscheidung oder Der Preis des Monotheismus The German title which emphasizes the Mosaic Distinction is meaningful in the book's context but might be confusing for American readers and this is probably the reason why the translator Robert Savage used only the subtitle The book is in essence a reply to critics of Assmann's previous one Moses the Egyptian The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism which I have reviewed here in November 2001Since the book clarifies some of the points the author had made previously it may be useful to read it in conjunction with Moses the Egyptian because it provides the context for the criticisms which were addressed here Inasmuch as the current book refrains from using extensive Greek uotations it will also be easier to understand by the general public This is important because the book touches on issues that are of vital importance for the future of mankindWith the Mosaic distinction Assmann created a parallel to that of Parmenides 6th century BC who may be regarded as the father of logical thought in literature and science To put it simply instead of random thought where everything has potentially eual validity it created the either or distinction of true and false The classic example is that which is cannot not be; that which is not cannot be This dictum of tertium non datur there is no middle became the basis of logic philosophy and science Something is either true or it is false While this enabled science to progress its inevitable corollary was that it put a restraint on thinking and was therefore exclusionary This was no problem for the Greeks because mythical thinking could persist in regard to religious aspectsMoses whose name is used generically rather than for a specific historical person who may or may not have existed became the Parmenides for Jews By insisting that the Jewish god was the one and only one the true and false doctrine was introduced into the religious sphere This was the Mosaic distinction which had to lead to exclusivity and intolerance Since Assmann also used the term counter religion his detractors felt not only that his view involved a value judgment but that it also provided an excuse for anti Semitism which Assmann felt had not been intended and was unwarranted Nevertheless in my opinion this is the crux of the problem as presented and discussed in The Moses Legacy Roots of Jewish SufferingThe book then explains what Assmann had meant by counter religion and why the Jewish belief system was linked to Akhenaten's abortive monotheistic furor One may not necessarily agree with these opinions and some of the critics he mentioned obviously did not but I don't regard this as crucial The basic thought of the Mosaic distinction and its inevitable effect on the conduct of the Jewish people which with eual inevitability leads to a reaction by their environment is the fundamental point and can now be regarded as historical fact It has exacted its price not only on the Jewish people but also the world at large and continues to do so in the current Middle East wars The problem of anti Semitism can neither be wished nor legislated away and will continue to plague us until it is openly and dispassionately addressed Assmann deserves credit for having done so and this why this book should be read by all thoughtful peopleThe translation from the German language is in general excellent and I had only one problem which drove me to buy the German edition as well It dealt with intellectuality and the beneficial effect of it on humanity's progress Since intellect is reason and reason alone will not lead to redemption of the human race from its errors I wondered what Assmann had really meant The German word which was translated with intellect was Geist and intended to denote mind or spirit rather than the narrower concept of rational thinking as implied by intellectDiscursive fluidification as indispensable basis for an advance in humanity is meaningless but is the best that could be done with Habermas' uote diskursive Verfluessigung Some German authors like to display erudition to the point of obfuscation which provides serious difficulties for translators The statement occurs as part of the last sentence of the Conclusion and its interpretation is therefore important For this reason I am paraphrasing the essence of the last paragraph here in the hope that it reflects Assmann's intentionThe Parmenidan true false distinction has to be retained in its proper sphere but its extension into revealed truth of religion is not necessarily warranted Serious thought and discussion will be reuired so that this current rigid dichotomy in the monotheistic religions will give way to a flexible approach which can then become the necessary basis for humanity's progress