Here is a test – does the subject line above strike you as intriguing or uninteresting? Well, believe it or not, if you identify yourself as either Jewish or Christian, you should find it interesting. Monotheism and monolatry both have to do with how the people of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible (and also today) viewed God. How many gods are there? What is his (their) nature? How should he be worshipped? Those are pretty big questions!
I reviewed a great book a couple of months ago called Jesus and the God of Israel, in which the author (Richard Bauckham) described the similarities, differences and relationship between monotheism (the belief in the existence of one God) and monolatry (the exclusive worship of one God). Fascinating book. In Bauckham’s opinion (which I agree with), the Old Testament reflects both, and somehow, the two wind their way together in both Judaism and early Christianity, and they influenced how Jesus was understood and responded to in the first century. If you like to “think deeply” about the nature of God and Jesus, you may enjoy this book!