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In this systematic study, Werner H. Schmidt confronts a complex question critical to understanding the Bible: What, if anything, is really distinctive about the religion of Israel? His answer is a challenging work that is both a history of the religion of Israel and a theology of the Old Testament. Arranged chronologically, the book traces the historical development of Israel's concept of God from the period of the patriarchs to the diaspora. The author draws upon a wide range of recent comparative studies of the ancient near East, delineating the factors that made the religion of the Israelites like, yet crucially unlike, that of their surrounding neighbors. In particular, he examines the importance of the first commandment in shaping Israel's unique awareness of God.