The origins of monotheism

Jeremiah Cataldo started writing “Breaking Monotheism: Yehud and the Material Formation of Monotheistic Identity” because of his curiosity regarding the persistent correlation between monotheism (belief in one God) and conflict.

Published in 2012, the book took three years to write and was a burden of passion for Cataldo. “My book argues that monotheism, at its origin, resulted from a contest over authority between a social-politically marginal group and a prevailing social authority,” said Cataldo, assistant professor of history, Honors College. “I make this argument in contrast to prevailing views that monotheism was a product of an Axial-Age transformation, or that it was a logical ‘next step’ after polytheism.”

Published by Bloomsbury, the book is targeted for professional scholars and graduate students. Cataldo said that he could see graduate students using the book.

“I hope that readers gain a better understanding of monotheism as something that has its origins in a contest over authority,” said Cataldo. “And by understanding that, we may better understand how different forms of monotheism have shaped social-political engagement, both historically and today.”


Page last modified December 18, 2012