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Why invent a new religion?

May 20, 2012

Why invent a new religion?


“Why invent a new religion? There have been efforts since the 18th century to recast Moses as a renegade Egyptian priest of a sun-worshiping sort of monotheism who became the leader of the backward Hebrews. We find this canard repeated from Schiller’s essay “Moses’ Mission” to Freud’s 1938 Moses and Monotheism. But Judaism is not monotheism as such, but a human relationship with an infinite God who loves and suffers with his people. Vast amounts of scholarship show similarities between the language of the covenant in the Bible and earlier legal documents in the region, or parallelisms between Ugaritic hymns and the Psalms. These are interesting but have no direct bearing on the astonishing innovation of Jewish revelation: nowhere in earlier history do we hear of an infinite and eternal God who also has a personality and engages human beings with love.”


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