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March 26 , 2010

Beyond Monotheism

A theology of multiplicity


Laurel Schneider takes the reader on a vivid journey from the origins of "the logic of the One" - only recently dubbed monotheism - through to the modern day, where monotheism has increasingly failed to adequately address spiritual, scientific, and ethical experiences in the changing world. In Part I, Schneider traces a trajectory from the ancient history of monotheism and multiplicity in Greece, Israel, and Africa through the Constantinian valorization of the logic of the One, to medieval and modern challenges to that logic in poetry and science. She pursues an alternative and constructive approach in Part II: a "logic of multiplicity" already resident in Christian traditions in which the complexity of life and the presence of God may be better articulated. Part III takes up the open-ended question of ethics from within that multiplicity, exploring the implications of this radical and realistic new theology for the questions that lie underneath theological construction: questions of belonging and nationalism, of the possibility of love, and of unity. In this groundbreaking work of contemporary theology, Schneider shows that the One is not lost in divine multiplicity, and that in spite of its abstractions, divine multiplicity is realistic and worldly, impossible ultimately to abstract.

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