Friday, April 12, 2013

The Shema & Monotheism

The Biblical Archaeology Society has just posted about a new discovery of a Jewish amulet, related to the Shema of Israel, originally in Hebrew, but found in Greek.

The article includes these lines:

In the groundbreaking book The Birth of Monotheism: The Rise and Disappearance of Yahwism, André Lemaire, a world-renowned expert on the ancient world, explores the development of perhaps the most important idea in the history of mankind: the concept of a single, universal God.
What is an early monotheistic Shema‘ Yisrael doing near Carnuntum? Lange and Eshel illustrate that Carnuntum had a well-integrated Jewish population that stated their religion openly. The Jewish population would have known how to recite the Shema‘ Yisrael, but most likely did not know how to write in Hebrew.

Lange and Eshel conclude that:  "To our knowledge the Halbturn amulet is the first text that renders the Hebrew word ehad (אחד) with the number “1.” This numerical representation of the final word of the Shema‘leaves no doubt about how the Jewish craftsman who made the Halbturn amulet understood the Shema‘ Yisrael —as a monotheistic statement! Only the Lord is God; there is no other God."
I'm delighted to have published in my second book,  my spiritual reflections on Shema since this text has been important, used widely by Believers throughout the centuries!


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