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HENOTHEISM (from Greek ἑνός θεός (henos theos), meaning 'one god') is the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities . Friedrich Schelling (1775–1854) coined the word, and Friedrich Welcker (1784–1868) used it to depict primitive monotheism among ancient Greeks.

Max Müller (1823–1900), a German philologist and orientalist, brought the term into wider usage in his scholarship on the Indian religions , particularly Hinduism
Hinduism
whose scriptures mention and praise numerous deities as if they are one ultimate unitary divine essence. Müller made the term central to his criticism of Western theological and religious exceptionalism (relative to Eastern religions ), focusing on a cultural dogma which held "monotheism" to be both fundamentally well-defined and inherently superior to differing conceptions of God
God
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Definition and terminology * 2 Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
* 3 Hinduism
Hinduism
* 4 Hellenistic religion
Hellenistic religion
* 5 Canaanite religion and early Judaism * 6 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
* 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links

DEFINITION AND TERMINOLOGY

Friedrich Schelling coined the term henotheism, from heis or heno which literally means "single, one". The term refers to a form of theism focused on a single god. Related terms are monolatrism and kathenotheism . The latter term is an extension of "henotheism", from καθ' ἕνα θεόν (kath' hena theon), meaning 'one god at a time'. Henotheism refers to a pluralistic theology wherein different deities are viewed to be of a unitary, equivalent divine essence. Another term related to henotheism is "equitheism", referring to the belief that all gods are equal. Further, the term henotheism does not exclude monism , nondualism or dualism .

Various scholars prefer the term monolatrism to henotheism, to discuss religions where a single god is central, but the existence or the position of other gods is not denied. According to Christoph Elsas, henotheism in modern usage connotes a syncretic stage in the development of religions in late antiquity. A henotheist may worship a single god from a pantheon of deities at a given time, depending on his or her choice, while accepting other deities and concepts of god. Henotheism and inclusive monotheism are terms that refer to a middle position between unlimited polytheism and exclusive monotheism.

ZOROASTRIANISM

Further information: Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
and Iranian studies

Ahura Mazda is the supreme god, but Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
does not deny other deities. Ahura Mazda has yazatas ("good agents") some of which include Anahita
Anahita
, Sraosha , Mithra
Mithra
, Rashnu , and Tishtrya . Richard Foltz has put forth evidence that Iranians of Pre-Islamic era worshiped all these figures, especially Mithra
Mithra
and Anahita.

Prods Oktor Skjærvø states Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
is henotheistic, and "a dualistic and polytheistic religion, but with one supreme god, who is the father of the ordered cosmos". Other scholars state that this is unclear, because historic texts present a conflicting picture, ranging from Zoroastrianism's belief in "one god, two gods, or a best god henotheism".

HINDUISM

Further information: Hindu views on monotheism
Hindu views on monotheism
and History of Hinduism
Hinduism
TO WHAT IS ONE

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly-winged Garutman. To what is One, sages give many a title. — Rigveda
Rigveda
1.164.46 Transl: Klaus Klostermaier

Henotheism was the term used by scholars such as Max Müller to describe the theology of Vedic religion . Müller noted that the hymns of the Rigveda
Rigveda
, the oldest scripture of Hinduism, mention many deities, but praises them successively as the "one ultimate, supreme God", alternatively as "one supreme Goddess", thereby asserting that the essence of the deities was unitary (ekam ), and the deities were nothing but pluralistic manifestations of the same concept of the divine (God).

The Vedic era conceptualization of the divine or the One, states Jeaneane Fowler, is more abstract than a monotheistic God, it is the Reality behind and of the phenomenal universe. The Vedic hymns treat it as "limitless, indescribable, absolute principle", thus the Vedic divine is something of a panentheism rather than simple henotheism. In late Vedic era, around the start of Upanishadic age (~800 BCE), theosophical speculations emerge that develop concepts which scholars variously call nondualism or monism , as well as forms of non-theism and pantheism . An example of the questioning of the concept of God, in addition to henotheistic hymns found therein, are in later portions of the Rigveda, such as the Nasadiya Sukta . Hinduism
Hinduism
calls the metaphysical absolute concept as Brahman
Brahman
, incorporating within it the transcendent and immanent reality. Different schools of thought interpret Brahman
Brahman
as either personal , impersonal or transpersonal. Ishwar Chandra Sharma describes it as "Absolute Reality, beyond all dualities of existence and non-existence, light and darkness, and of time, space and cause."

HELLENISTIC RELIGION

Further information: Hellenistic religion
Hellenistic religion

While Greek and Roman religion began as polytheism , during the Classical period, under the influence of philosophy, differing conceptions emerged. Often Zeus
Zeus
(or Jupiter ) was considered the supreme, all-powerful and all-knowing, king and father of the Olympian gods. According to Maijastina Kahlos "monotheism was pervasive in the educated circles in Late Antiquity" and "all divinities were interpreted as aspects, particles or epithets of one supreme God". Maximus Tyrius (2nd century A.D.) stated: "In such a mighty contest, sedition and discord, you will see one according law and assertion in all the earth, that there is one god, the king and father of all things, and many gods, sons of god, ruling together with him."

The Neoplatonic
Neoplatonic
philosopher Plotinus
Plotinus
taught that above the gods of traditional belief was "The One", and polytheist grammarian Maximus of Madauros even stated that only a madman would deny the existence of the supreme God.

CANAANITE RELIGION AND EARLY JUDAISM

Rabbinical Judaism as it developed in Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
is emphatically monotheistic. However, its predecessor—the various schools of Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism
and Second Temple Judaism , and especially the cult of Yahweh
Yahweh
as it was practiced in ancient Israel and Judah during the 8th and 7th centuries BC—have been described as henotheistic.

For example, the Moabites worshipped the god Chemosh , the Edomites , Qaus
Qaus
, both of whom were part of the greater Canaanite pantheon, headed by the chief god, El . The Canaanite pantheon consisted of El and Asherah
Asherah
as the chief deities, with 70 sons who were said to rule over each of the nations of the earth. These sons were each worshiped within a specific region. Kurt Noll states that "the Bible preserves a tradition that Yahweh
Yahweh
used to 'live' in the south, in the land of Edom" and that the original god of Israel was El Shaddai .

Several Biblical stories allude to the belief that the Canaanite gods all existed and were thought to possess the most power in the lands by the people who worshiped them and their sacred objects; their power was believed to be real and could be invoked by the people who patronized them. There are numerous accounts of surrounding nations of Israel showing fear or reverence for the Israelite God
God
despite their continued polytheistic practices. For instance, in 1 Samuel 4, the Philistines
Philistines
fret before the second battle of Aphek when they learn that the Israelites are bearing the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
, and therefore Yahweh, into battle. The Israelites were forbidden to worship other deities, but according to some interpretations of the Bible, they were not fully monotheistic before the Babylonian captivity . Mark S. Smith refers to this stage as a form of monolatry. Smith argues that Yahweh
Yahweh
underwent a process of merging with El and that acceptance of cults of Asherah
Asherah
was common in the period of the Judges. 2 Kings 3:27 has been interpreted as describing a human sacrifice in Moab
Moab
that led the invading Israelite army to fear the power of Chemosh.

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

Some scholars have written that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) can be characterized as henotheistic, but others have rejected this stance.

Eugene England , a professor at Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University
, asserted that LDS Presidents Brigham Young
Brigham Young
and Joseph Fielding Smith along with LDS scholar B. H. Roberts used the LDS interpretation of 1 Corinthians 8:5–6 as "a brief explanation of how it is possible to be both a Christian polytheist (technically a henotheist) and a monotheist". BYU Professor Roger R. Keller rejected descriptions of the LDS Church as polytheistic by countering, as summarized by a reviewer, "Mormons are fundamentally monotheistic because they deal with only one god out of the many which exist."

In their book, Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, Richard and Joan Ostling , wrote that some Mormons are comfortable describing themselves as henotheists.

Kurt Widmer, professor at the University of Lethbridge , described LDS beliefs as a "cosmic henotheism". A review of Widmer's book by Bruening and Paulsen in the FARMS Review of Books countered that Widmer's hypothesis was "strongly disconfirmed in light of the total evidence".

Van Hale has written, "Mormonism teaches the existence of gods who are not the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost" and "the existence of more than one god clearly a Mormon doctrine", but he also said that defining this belief system in theological terms was troublesome. Henotheism might appear to be "promising" in describing LDS beliefs, Hale wrote, but it is ultimately not accurate because henotheism was intended to describe the worship of a god that was restricted to a specific geographical area.

SEE ALSO

* Comparative religion
Comparative religion
* Henosis
Henosis
, mystical "oneness", "union", or "unity" in classical Greek * King of the Gods , a tendency for one divinity, usually male, to achieve preeminence

* Spirituality portal * Religion
Religion
portal * Mythology portal * Hinduism
Hinduism
portal * Christianity portal * Judaism portal * Islam portal

REFERENCES

* ^ A B C D E Monotheism and Polytheism, Encyclopædia Britannica (2014) * ^ A B C D E F G Charles Taliaferro; Victoria S. Harrison; Stewart Goetz (2012). The Routledge Companion to Theism. Routledge. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-1-136-33823-6 . * ^ Robert Karl Gnuse (1997). No Other Gods: Emergent Monotheism in Israel. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 132–133 with footnote 6. ISBN 978-1-85075-657-6 . * ^ Müller, Max. (1878) Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion: As Illustrated by the Religions of India. London:Longmans, Green and Co. * ^ A B C D Ilai Alon; Ithamar Gruenwald; Itamar Singer (1994). Concepts of the Other in Near Eastern Religions. BRILL Academic. pp. 370–371. ISBN 978-9004102200 . * ^ A B C Christoph Elsas (1999). Erwin Fahlbusch, ed. The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 524. ISBN 978-90-04-11695-5 . * ^ Online Etymology Dictionary: kathenotheism * ^ Carl Olson (2007). The Many Colors of Hinduism: A Thematic-historical Introduction. Rutgers University Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-0-8135-4068-9 . * ^ Richard Foltz , "Religions of Iran: From Prehistory to the Present", Oneworld Publications, 2013, p. xiv * ^ Prods Oktor Skjærvø (2006), Introduction to Zoroastrianism, 2005, Harvard University Archives, p. 15 with footnote 1 * ^ Brian Arthur Brown (2016). Four Testaments: Tao Te Ching, Analects, Dhammapada, Bhagavad Gita: Sacred Scriptures of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 347–349. ISBN 978-1-4422-6578-3 . * ^ Klaus K. Klostermaier (2010). A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition. State University of New York Press. pp. 103 with footnote 10 on page 529. ISBN 978-0-7914-8011-3 . * ^ See also, Griffith's Rigveda
Rigveda
translation: Wikisource * ^ Sugirtharajah, Sharada, Imagining Hinduism: A Postcolonial Perspective, Routledge, 2004, p.44; * ^ William A. Graham (1993). Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion. Cambridge University Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-0-521-44820-8 . * ^ A B C Jeaneane D. Fowler (2002). Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy
Philosophy
of Hinduism. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-1-898723-93-6 . * ^ James L. Ford (2016). The Divine Quest, East and West: A Comparative Study of Ultimate Realities. State University of New York Press. pp. 308–309. ISBN 978-1-4384-6055-0 . * ^ Ninian Smart (2013). The Yogi and the Devotee (Routledge Revivals): The Interplay Between the Upanishads and Catholic Theology. Routledge. pp. 46–47, 117. ISBN 978-1-136-62933-4 . * ^ Jessica Frazier (2013). Russell Re Manning, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology. Oxford University Press. pp. 172–173. ISBN 978-0-19-161171-1 . * ^ PT Raju (2006), Idealistic Thought of India, Routledge, ISBN 978-1406732627 , page 426 and Conclusion chapter part XII * ^ Jeffrey Brodd (2003). World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery. Saint Mary's Press. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5 . * ^ Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684 , page 91 * ^ Ishwar Chandra Sharma, Ethical Philosophies of India, Harper p.160 * ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition, Maximus Tryius. * ^ Maijastina Kahlos, Debate and Dialogue: Christian and Pagan Cultures C. 360-430, Ashgate Publishing, 2007, P.70 * ^ K. L. Noll Canaan
Canaan
and Israel in Antiquity: An Introduction, Continuum, 2002, p.123 * ^ David Bridger, Samuel Wolk et al., The New Jewish Encyclopedia, Behrman House, 1976, pp.326-7 * ^ Exodus Chapter 20 Verse 3 * ^ A B Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh
Yahweh
and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel, Eerdmans Publishing, 2002, pp.58, 183 * ^ Gregory A. Boyd, God
God
at War: The Bible ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

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Boethius
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1920 postwar

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1970 1990 2010

* William L Rowe * Dewi Z Phillips * Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Plantinga
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Nicholas Wolterstorff
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