USU 1320: History and Civilization
©Damen, 2013
A Guide To Writing in History and Classics
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The existence of antagonistic deities is antithetical to monotheism in its strictest form—how can gods fight when there is only one god?—so it's not likely the Israelite priesthood would have conceived of a "devil" on its own without prolonged exposure to dualistic theologies like Zoroastrianism. Instead, it was, no doubt, the popularity of such combat-laden symbology, especially among common worshipers with little or no theological training, which drove the Hebrew priests to admit a "devil" into their vision of God's kingdom. They would naturally not have embraced such a non-monotheistic mode of thinking without some strong public pressure to do so. The period of the Babylonian Captivity may explain how the Hebrews came into close contact with eastern dualism, since it is at that time (586-536 BCE) that Zoroastrianism was spreading around Mesopotamia.

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