Johannes C. de Moor, Ph.D. (1971) Free University, Amsterdam, is Professor Emeritus of Semitic languages at Kampen, The Netherlands. He is editor of several international series, among them "Oudtestamentische Studien.""
Reviews - What do customers think about The Rise of Yahwism: The Roots of Israelite Monotheism, Second and Revised Edition?
History Out of the Ordinary Aug 12, 2000
This is sophisticated material that is understandable to any thoughtful adult. The topic is the beginnings of monotheism, a rise that happened to occur under the Egyptian empire, evidence of monotheism's older roots and how it managed to survive. The author convincingly (to an amateur - more about this below) musters evidence from seemingly unlikely places as to how monotheism began and why it survived. It turns out to be no accident that its stable emergence about the year 1200 B.C. coincides with a difficult social transition from the bronze to the iron age.
The book is more compelling that it would seem from reading its table of contents. For example, an early chapter titled "The Evidence of Names" doesn't sound like it could possibly contain data both significant and compelling but it surely does. The next chapter, "The Crisis of Polytheism", lays the groundwork for the entire rest of the book. Throughout the book evidence from the bible and from archeological records are meshed together with some extrapolation at the end, all clearly labeled with its source. For the record, I am neither Christian nor Jew yet I find the author's use of the bible compelling.
An ancillary but fascinating section proposes the identification of the biblical Moses with a person known from archeological records. As the author plainly states, this identification is not proven and also is not central to the book's thesis, yet it captures the imagination with seemingly convincing reasoning. Here I must relate the skepticism that a seminary professor mentioned to me saying that he found the reasoning of this one section less compelling that did I based on his far more complete knowledge. Nevertheless he was using the book in teaching one of his graduate classes.
This is a book with little competition. As a history buff I am quite selective in my readings and this is one of my most memorable books.