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Monotheism from Moses to Freud - 20 credits (RT1343)

Module Tutor: Professor Josef Lössl

Summary of course content

This module offers an introduction to the phenomenon of western monotheism as discussed in current scholarship. It explores the concept in principle, its place in cultural memory, and various historical contexts in which forms of monotheism emerged and developed. Its aim is to provide an overview of a range of methods and discourses used in current discussions of the topic and to equip students with knowledge and skills to join one of the great debates in Religious Studies today.

Credits: 20 credits

Availability of module: Every other year – Autumn

RT1108 Religion, Culture and Society I
RT6104 Religion, Culture and Society II

Necessary for
No courses currently build on this one


To study the phenomenon of Monotheism, how it emerged and developed and how it is discussed in Religious Studies today.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to demonstrate

• knowledge of the history of Monotheism and the way it is discussed in Religious Studies today
• an ability to analyse historical sources reflecting the origin and development of Monotheism and relevant literature discussing these
• an ability to discuss issues related to Monotheism, its history, its study and its influence on culture today

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars


Coursework (one essay and oral presentation) and examination (25:75)

Suggested book purchases

J. Assmann, 1997. Moses the Egyptian. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Suggested preparatory reading

J. Assmann, 2006. Religion and Cultural Memory. Stanford, CA: University of California Press
Fowden, G. 1993. Empire to Commonwealth. Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Hornung, E. 1999. Akhenaten and the Religion of Light. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press
Mann, Th., 2005. Joseph and His Brothers, translated by J. E. Woods. New York: Knopf
Mitchell, St. and Van Nuffelen, P. (eds) 2010. One God. Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Stuckenbruck, L. T. and W. E. S. North (eds.) 2004. Early Jewish and Christian Monotheism. London: T&T Clark

Primary sources

The Bible; early Christian writings; Hermetic, Gnostic, Jewish, Manichaean, Sabaean and other ancient writings