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Beyond Monotheism: A Theology of Multiplicity

by Laurel Schneider

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191921,750 (5)None
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.… (more)
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I am not prepared to present a proper review of this astounding work. To do so, I will have to read the book again and dedicate sufficient time to allow my mind to assimilate the ideas Schneider presents. My first reading became an unexpectedly emotional and spiritual experience. The book is full of liberating ideas that seemed to awaken and illuminate parts of my psyche of which I was unaware. As Schneider states, "Divinity is nothing if not free." Reading that phrase at the close of the book combined with its last sentence made me feel in the depths of my being that to touch the divine is to experience absolute freedom - if only for a moment. One rarely expects moments like the one I experienced from a formal work of theology and, that I did have such a moment, is a testimony to Schneider's gifts as a writer, thinker, and, theologian. (I am tempted to add the title of shaman to that list. I look forward to reading this work again and I hope that I will be able to read more works of this exceptional human being. ( )
  millsge | Feb 18, 2010 |
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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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