→The Development of Hebrew Monotheism
This evidence indicates that even if Yahweh had supremacy he was not the only god worshiped. In fact, the Bible does seem to suggest this was the case (e.g., the Asherah poles worshiped in the Bible). What is not indicated is the extent to which ancient Judah and Israel, in essence, appeared to be very similar to other contemporary states, which had chief gods (e.g., Ba’al, Marduk, Ashur, etc.) but also worshiped other deities.<ref>For information about other states and how divinity was structured see: Snell, Daniel C. 2011. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/052168336X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=052168336X&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=8863fbc417e1e248326b0e496a5416b4 Religions of the Ancient Near East]''. New York: Cambridge University Press.</ref>
The Development of Hebrew Monotheism====
[[File:Zeus_Yahweh.jpg|thumbnail|250px|left|4th Century BC Phoenician coin with an image that possibly represents Yaweh.]]
Perhaps more critical to monotheism is not what occurred in the period of Judah and Israel but what happened afterward. In 587 BC, Jerusalem was sacked, which constituted a major crisis for the Jewish population of Judah.<ref>For a history on the exile of the Jews from Judah see: Lipschitz, Oded, and Joseph Blenkinsopp, eds. 2003. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1575060736/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1575060736&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=843b06a4bf8a1afaa936dace0527238e Judah and the Judeans in the Neo-Babylonian Period]’’. Winona Lake, Ind: Eisenbrauns.</ref> Many elites were taken to Babylon and this began a long period of the Jewish diaspora in places such as Mesopotamia (i.e., Iraq) that lasted until after World War II. We see soon after this period a greater emphasis on Yahweh, while other gods are now depicted in a negative light and Yahweh is mentioned as the only god.<ref>For an indication of monotheism during the post-Babylonian exile period and its predecessors see: Schneider, Laurel C. 2008. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0415941911/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0415941911&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=d65b1e1dca811b52f37f6d5cae77a156 Beyond Monotheism: A Theology of Multiplicity]''. London, [England] ; New York: Routledge.</ref>
In other words, the theology began to be monotheistic
by at least after the period of the exile in Babylon. This could be due to the fact that the main temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem was destroyed, negating any way to properly worship the god. Regardless, what is clear is monotheism only began to obtain greater traction after the destruction of the temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem.
Perhaps also critical to these developments were other religious changes occurring to the Near East from the period of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) and later. This period introduces a new god, Ahura Mazda, to the wider Near East. While this may not seem significant, this god began to be associated with the emerging religion of Zoroastrianism.<ref>For information about Zoroastrianism see: Boyce, Mary. 1996. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9004092714/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=9004092714&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=89511a221a1a75eb734672874e72f015 A History of Zoroastrianism]''. 3rd impression, with corrections. Handbuch Der Orientalistik. Erste Abteilung, Der Nahe Und Mittlere Osten, 13. Bd., Religion, 1. Abschnitt, Religionsgeschichte des Alten Orients, Lfg. 2, Heft 2A. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill.</ref> Zoroastrianism eventually (i.e., this is unclear how this religion develops or when it develops its main tenants) becomes the earliest faith which depicts a single good god fighting an evil deity (Angra Mainyu) in a great cosmic struggle affecting the whole world (i.e., a universal faith). Furthermore, this good vs. evil struggle is also depicted in the eventual resurrection of the dead during a judgment day on Earth, where the good goes to a type of heaven. What this suggests is that Judaism, or at least very likely Christianity, may have been influenced by Zoroastrianism’s concepts of good vs. evil, as the major tenants that Christianity adopts, such as the concept of God vs. Satan and judgment day, were already present in Zoroastrianism.
====The Rise of Monotheism parallels the Rise of Empires====