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Yahwism - Inclusive and Exclusive

Professor Jodi Magness, in her course on The Holy Land Revealed, speaks of "inclusive Yahwism" and "exclusive Yahwism". These are terms used by the academic establishment, in archaeology and elsewhere, to refer to two belief-inspired aspirations:

The duality arose from Richard Bauckman's inclusive and exclusive monotheism. The Old Testament books denounce inclusive and urge exclusive Yahwism.

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This page does not argue which is 'right', nor which occurred when (which is still a matter of much debate in intellectual circles). Instead, I wish to comment on the two terms used.

Use of terms is very seldom neutral, and can betray the prejudices of those who first use them. In these last few decades "inclusive" has universally positive connotations for liberal, Western, academic thought, while "exclusive" has almost universally negative connotations. And these connotations are so powerful that they 'bully' the mind of the thinker to immediately see the one (inclusive Yahwism, monotheism) as good and to be aspired to, and the other (exclusive Yahwism, monotheism) as to be denigrated and treated with disrespect of various kinds.

So, by using these terms, is Bauckman (with Magness following him) betraying his prejudices against the Bible's claim that we should worship Yahweh alone?

Does not the use of powerfully connotative terms "inclusive" and "exclusive" subtly turn the scholar against the idea of worshipping Yahweh alone? Does it not whisper in the student's ear, "Don't you dare support pure worship of Yahweh, if you want good marks in your exams"? Does it not outlaw the idea that the nation of Israel was meant to be a representative of Yahweh among the nations? Does it not place such ideas beyond the boundary of what it is appropriate to study and explore?

Could and should they not have used less connotative terms?

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Created: 26 July 2017 Last updated: