Polytheism

Polytheism

Overview
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

 of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 and ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

s.

Polytheism was the typical form of religion during the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, up to the Axial Age
Axial Age
German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term the axial age or axial period to describe the period from 800 to 200 BC, during which, according to Jaspers, similar revolutionary thinking appeared in India, China and the Occident...

 and the gradual development of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 or pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, and atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

.
It is well documented in historical religions of Classical Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, especially Greek polytheism and Roman polytheism, and after the decline of classical polytheism in tribal religions such as Germanic polytheism or Slavic polytheism.
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Encyclopedia
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

 of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 and ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

s.

Polytheism was the typical form of religion during the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, up to the Axial Age
Axial Age
German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term the axial age or axial period to describe the period from 800 to 200 BC, during which, according to Jaspers, similar revolutionary thinking appeared in India, China and the Occident...

 and the gradual development of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 or pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, and atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

.
It is well documented in historical religions of Classical Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, especially Greek polytheism and Roman polytheism, and after the decline of classical polytheism in tribal religions such as Germanic polytheism or Slavic polytheism. It persists into the modern period in traditions such as Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Shintoism, Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

, etc., and it has been revived in currents of Neopaganism
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

 in the post-Christian West.

Polytheism is a type of theism
Theism
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe....

. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

, the belief in a singular God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally, but can be Henotheists
Henotheism
Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities...

, specializing in the worship of one particular deity. Other polytheists can be Kathenotheists
Kathenotheism
Kathenotheism is a term coined by the philologist Max Müller to mean the worship of one god at a time. It is closely related to henotheism. Müller coined the term in reference to the Vedas; where he explained each deity is treated as supreme in turn....

, worshipping different deities at different times.

Gods and divinity


The deities of polytheistic religions are agents in mythology, where they are portrayed as complex personages of greater or lesser status, with individual skills, needs, desires and histories. These gods are often seen as similar to humans (anthropomorphic
Anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism is any attribution of human characteristics to animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities. The term was coined in the mid 1700s...

) in their personality traits, but with additional individual powers, abilities, knowledge or perceptions.
Polytheism cannot be cleanly separated from the animist
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 beliefs prevalent in most folk religion
Folk religion
Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices...

s. The gods of polytheism are in many cases the highest order of a continuum of supernatural beings or spirits, which may include ancestors, demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s, wights and others. In some cases these spirits are divided into celestial
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 or chthonic
Chthonic
Chthonic designates, or pertains to, deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in relation to Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth"; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land or the land as territory...

 classes, and belief in the existence of all these beings does not imply that all are worshipped.

Types of deities



Types of deities often found in polytheism
  • Creator deity
    Creator deity
    A creator deity is a deity responsible for the creation of the world . In monotheism, the single God is often also the creator deity, while polytheistic traditions may or may not have creator deities...

  • Culture hero
    Culture hero
    A culture hero is a mythological hero specific to some group who changes the world through invention or discovery...

  • Death deity
    Death deity
    Deities associated with death take many different forms, depending on the specific culture and religion being referenced. Psychopomps, deities of the underworld, and resurrection deities are commonly called death deities in comparative religions texts...

     (chthonic
    Chthonic
    Chthonic designates, or pertains to, deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in relation to Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth"; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land or the land as territory...

    )
  • Life-death-rebirth deity
    Life-death-rebirth deity
    A dying god, also known as a dying-and-rising or resurrection deity, is a god who dies and is resurrected or reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern and Greek deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Attis Tammuz, Asclepius, Orpheus, as well as...

  • Love goddess
  • Mother goddess
    Mother goddess
    Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation or embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.Many different goddesses have...

  • Political deity
  • Sky deity (celestial
    Heaven
    Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

    )
  • Solar deity
    Solar deity
    A solar deity is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms...

  • Trickster deity
    Trickster
    In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. It is suggested by Hansen that the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this...

  • Water deity
    Water deity
    A water deity is a deity in mythology associated with water or various bodies of water. Water deities are common in mythology and were usually more important among civilizations in which the sea or ocean, or a great river was more important...

  • Gods of music, arts, science, farming or other endeavors.

Mythology and religion



In the Classical era, Sallustius
Sallustius
Sallustius or Sallust was a 4th-century Latin writer, a friend of the Roman Emperor Julian. He wrote the treatise On the Gods and the Cosmos, a kind of catechism of 4th-century Hellenic paganism. Sallustius' work owes much to that of Iamblichus of Chalcis, who synthesized Platonism with...

 (4th century CE) categorised mythology into five types:
  1. Theological
  2. Physical
  3. Psychological
  4. Material
  5. Mixed


The theological are those myths which use no bodily form but contemplate the very essence of the gods: e.g., Cronus
Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky...

 swallowing his children. Since divinity is intellectual, and all intellect returns into itself, this myth expresses in allegory the essence of divinity.

Myths may be regarded physically when they express the activities of gods in the world.

The psychological way is to regard (myths as allegories of) the activities of the soul itself and or the soul's acts of thought.

The material is to regard material objects to actually be gods, for example: to call the earth Gaia, ocean Okeanos, or heat Typhon.

The mixed kind of myth may be seen in many instances: for example they say that in a banquet of the gods, Eris
Eris (mythology)
Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord, her name being translated into Latin as Discordia. Her Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Latin counterpart is Concordia. Homer equated her with the war-goddess Enyo, whose Roman counterpart is Bellona...

 threw down a golden apple
Golden apple
The golden apple is an element that appears in various national and ethnic folk legends or fairy tales. Recurring themes depict a hero retrieving the golden apples hidden or stolen by a monstrous antagonist...

; the goddesses contended for it, and were sent by Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 to Paris
Paris (mythology)
Paris , the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War...

 to be judged. Paris saw Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 to be beautiful and gave her the apple. Here the banquet signifies the hypercosmic powers of the gods; that is why they are all together. The golden apple is the world, which being formed out of opposites, is naturally said to be 'thrown by Eris ' (or Discord). The different gods bestow different gifts upon the world, and are thus said to 'contend for the apple'. And the soul which lives according to sense - for that is what Paris is - not seeing the other powers in the world but only beauty, declares that the apple belongs to Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

.

Historical polytheism


Some well-known historical polytheistic pantheons include the Sumerian gods and the Egyptian
Egyptian mythology
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals which were an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with a multitude of deities who were believed to be present in, and in control of, the forces and elements of nature...

 gods, and the classical-attested pantheon which includes the ancient Greek religion
Ancient Greek religion
Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These different groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared...

 and Roman religion
Roman religion
The term Roman religion may refer to:*Ancient Roman religion*religions of the Roman Empire period **Imperial cult *** Sol Invictus**Mithraism**Early Christianity**Gnosticism**State church of the Roman Empire...

. Post-classical polytheistic religions include Norse
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

 Æsir and Vanir, the Yoruba
Yoruba mythology
The Yorùbá religion comprises the original religious beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, a region that has come to be known as Yorubaland...

 Orisha, the Aztec
Aztec mythology
The aztec civilization recognized a polytheistic mythology, which contained the many deities and supernatural creatures from their religious beliefs. "orlando"- History :...

 gods, and many others. Today, most historical polytheistic religions are pejoratively referred to as "mythology", though the stories cultures tell about their gods should be distinguished from their worship or religious practice. For instance deities portrayed in conflict in mythology would still be worshipped sometimes in the same temple side by side, illustrating the distinction in the devotees mind between the myth and the reality. It is speculated that there was once a Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion is the hypothesized religion of the Proto-Indo-European peoples based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices and mythologies of the Indo-European peoples. Reconstruction of the hypotheses below is based on linguistic evidence using the...

, from which the religions of the various Indo-European peoples
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 derive, and that this religion was an essentially naturalist numenistic religion. An example of a religious notion from this shared past is the concept of *dyēus
Dyeus
*Dyēus is the reconstructed chief deity of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon. He was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society....

, which is attested in several distinct religious systems.

In many civilizations, pantheons tended to grow over time. Deities first worshipped as the patrons of cities or places came to be collected together as empires extended over larger territories. Conquests could lead to the subordination of the elder culture's pantheon to a newer one, as in the Greek Titanomachia, and possibly also the case of the Æsir
Æsir
In Old Norse, áss is the term denoting a member of the principal pantheon in Norse paganism. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Tyr. The second pantheon comprises the Vanir...

 and Vanir
Vanir
In Norse mythology, the Vanir are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom and the ability to see the future. The Vanir are one of two groups of gods and are the namesake of the location Vanaheimr . After the Æsir–Vanir War, the Vanir became a subgroup of the Æsir...

 in the Norse mythos
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

. Cultural exchange could lead to "the same" deity being renowned in two places under different names, as with the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans, and also to the introduction of elements of a "foreign" religion into a local cult, as with Egyptian Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 worship brought to ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

.

Most ancient belief systems held that gods influenced human lives. However, the Greek philosopher Epicurus
Epicurus
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism.Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works...

 held that the gods were living, incorruptible, blissful beings who did not trouble themselves with the affairs of mortals, but who could be perceived by the mind, especially during sleep. Epicurus believed that these gods were material, human-like, and that they inhabited the empty spaces between worlds.

Hellenistic religion
Hellenistic religion
Hellenistic religion is any of the various systems of beliefs and practices of the people who lived under the influence of ancient Greek culture during the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire . There was much continuity in Hellenistic religion: the Greek gods continued to be worshiped, and the...

 may still be regarded as polytheistic, but with strong monistic components, and monotheism finally emerges out of Hellenistic traditions in Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 in the form of Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 and Christian theology
Christian theology
- Divisions of Christian theology :There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.- Sub-disciplines :...

.

Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 to Classical Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

  • Religions of the Ancient Near East
    Religions of the Ancient Near East
    The religions of the ancient Near East were mostly polytheistic, with some early examples of primitive monolatry , Ashurism and Monism...

    • Ancient Egyptian religion
    • Ancient Semitic religion
  • Historical Vedic religion
    Historical Vedic religion
    The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

  • Ancient Greek religion
    Ancient Greek religion
    Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These different groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared...

  • Ancient Roman religion
  • Celtic polytheism
    Celtic polytheism
    Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...



Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 to High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

  • Germanic paganism
    Germanic paganism
    Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

  • Slavic paganism
  • Baltic paganism
  • Finnish paganism
    Finnish paganism
    Finnish paganism was the indigenous pagan religion in Finland, Estonia and Karelia prior to Christianization. It was a polytheistic religion, worshipping a number of different deities...


Ancient Greece


The classical scheme in Ancient Greece of the Twelve Olympians
Twelve Olympians
The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon , in Greek mythology, were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings. Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis were children of Zeus...

 (the Canonical Twelve of art and poetry) were: Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

, Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

, Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

, Ares
Ares
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and...

, Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

, Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

, Hephaestus
Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

, Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

, Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

 and Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

; Hestia
Hestia
In Greek mythology Hestia , first daughter of Cronus and Rhea , is the virgin goddess of the hearth, architecture, and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family. She received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum...

 stepped down when Dionysus was offered a seat on Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, located on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, about 100 kilometres away from Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks. The highest peak Mytikas, meaning "nose", rises to 2,917 metres...

 and Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

 was often excluded because he dwelt in the underworld. All of the gods had a power. There was, however, a great deal of fluidity as to whom was counted among their number in antiquity. Different cities often worshipped the same deities, sometimes with epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

s that distinguished them and specified their local nature.

The Hellenic Polytheism extended beyond mainland Greece, to the islands and coasts of Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, to Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

 (Sicily and southern Italy), and to scattered Greek colonies in the Western Mediterranean, such as Massalia (Marseille). Greek religion tempered Etruscan cult and belief
Etruscan mythology
The Etruscans were a diachronically continuous population, with a distinct language and culture during the period of earliest European writing, in the Mediterranean Iron Age in the second half of the first millennium BC...

 to form much of the later Roman religion
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities...

.

Folk religion


The animistic
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 nature of folk beliefs is an anthropological cultural universal
Cultural universal
A cultural universal , as discussed by George Murdock, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Donald Brown and others, is an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all human cultures worldwide. Taken together, the whole body of cultural universals is known as the human condition...

. The belief in ghost
Ghost
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to...

s and spirit
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

s animating the natural world and the practice of ancestor worship is universally present in the world's cultures and re-emerges in monotheistic or materialistic societies as "superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

", belief in demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s, tutelary saints, fairies or extraterrestrials.

The presence of a full polytheistic religion, complete with a ritual cult conducted by a priestly caste, requires a higher level of organization and is not present in every culture. Explicit polytheism in contemporary folk religion is found in African traditional religion
African Traditional Religion
The traditional religions indigenous to Africa have, for most of their existence, been orally rather than scripturally transmitted. They are generally associated with animism. Most have ethno-based creations stories...

 as well as African diasporic religions. In Eurasia, the Kalash
Kalash
Kalasha or Kalash may refer to:*Kalash people of Chitral, northern Pakistan**Kalasha **Kalash language, also known as Kalasha-mondr**Kalasha Desh, their valleys*Nuristani people of Nuristan, Afghanistan...

 are one of very few instances of surviving polytheism. Also, a large number of polytheist folk traditions are subsumed in contemporary Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, although Hinduism is doctrinally dominated by monist or monotheist theology (Bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

, Advaita). Historical Vedic polytheist ritualism survives as a minor current in Hinduism, known as Shrauta. More widespread is folk Hinduism, with rituals dedicated to various local or regional deities.

Hinduism


Religious Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 is a broad category which encompasses both monotheistic and polytheistic tendencies and variations on or mixes of both structures, Hinduism is accused of polytheism but Hinduism cannot be considered polytheistic as all great Hindu religious leaders have repeatedly stressed that god is one and his forms are many,the ways to communicate with him are many and focussing or concentrating on the icon is one of those ways. For a Hindu the human language itself is a symbolic representation of the divine.

Hindus venerate God in the form of the Murti
Murti
In Hinduism, a murti , or murthi, or vigraha or pratima typically refers to an image which expresses a Divine Spirit . Meaning literally "embodiment", a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped...

, an icon. the Puja (worship) of the Murti is like a way to communicate with the formless, abstract divinity (Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

 in Hinduism) which creates, sustains and dissolves creation.

Hindu philosophers and theologians also argue for a transcendent metaphysical structure with a single divine essence. This divine essence is usually referred to as Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

 or Atman
Ātman (Hinduism)
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena...

, but the understanding of the nature of this absolute divine essence is the line which defines many Hindu philosophical traditions such as Vedanta
Vedanta
Vedānta was originally a word used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for that part of the Veda texts known also as the Upanishads. The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns." It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal...

. Hindus believe that the decision of whose path to god is correct will be decided by god only, so everything must be left to and surrendered unto god and no one should take the matters into his own hands or use violence.

Many Hindus believe in different deities emanating from Brahman, and the majority continues to worship a deity as a matter of personal belief or tradition as a representation of this supreme being, as a representation of the 'One God'.

In the Smartha denomination of Hinduism, the philosophy of Advaita expounded by Shankara
Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

 allows veneration of numerous deities with the understanding that all of them are but manifestations of one impersonal divine power, Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

. Therefore, according to various schools of Vedanta including Shankara, which is the most influential and important Hindu theological tradition, there are a great number of deities in Hinduism, such as Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

, Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

, Ganesha
Ganesha
Ganesha , also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh, also known as Ganapati , Vinayaka , and Pillaiyar , is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshipped in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India and Nepal. Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations...

, Hanuman
Hanuman
Hanuman , is a Hindu deity, who is an ardent devotee of Rama, a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana and one of the dearest devotees of lord Rama. A general among the vanaras, an ape-like race of forest-dwellers, Hanuman is an incarnation of the divine and a disciple of Lord Rama in the...

, Lakshmi
Lakshmi
Lakshmi or Lakumi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity , light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments...

, and Kali
Kali
' , also known as ' , is the Hindu goddess associated with power, shakti. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means "the black one". Since Shiva is called Kāla - the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" . Hence, Kāli is...

, but they are essentially different forms of the same "Being". However, many Vedantic philosophers also argue that all individuals were united by the same impersonal, divine power in the form of the Atman
Ātman (Hinduism)
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena...

.

Many other Hindus, however, view polytheism as far preferable to monotheism. Ram Swarup
Ram Swarup
Ram Swarup , , born Ram Swarup Agarwal, was an independent Hindu thinker and prolific author. His works took a critical stance against Christianity, Islam and Communism. His work has influenced other Indian writers.- Life :He graduated in Economics at Delhi University in 1941...

, for example, points to the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

 as being specifically polytheistic, and states that, "only some form of polytheism alone can do justice to this variety and richness." Sita Ram Goel
Sita Ram Goel
Sita Ram Goel , writer and publisher in late twentieth century. He had Marxist leanings during the 1940s, but later became an outspoken anti-communist that also spoke negatively about Islam and Christianity...

, another 20th century Hindu historian, wrote:

Buddhism and Shinto


In Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, there are higher beings commonly designed (or designated) as gods, Devas
Deva (Buddhism)
A deva in Buddhism is one of many different types of non-human beings who share the characteristics of being more powerful, longer-lived, and, in general, living more contentedly than the average human being....

; however, Buddhism, at its core (the original Pali canon), does not teach the notion of praying nor worship to the Devas or any god(s).

However, there are many gods in Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 who end being worshipped in practice. Worshipping images of Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 is common, Buddhism has also integrated with the Chinese Folk Religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

 and many gods from that religion are considered Bodhisattvas which means incarnations of the Buddha.

Devas, in general, are beings who have had more positive karma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

 in their past lives
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 than humans. Their lifespan eventually ends. When their lives end, they will be reborn as devas or as other beings. When they accumulate negative karma, they are reborn as either human or any of the other lower beings. Humans and other beings could also be reborn as a deva in their next rebirth
Rebirth (Buddhism)
Rebirth in Buddhism is the doctrine that the evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness upon death , becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new aggregation...

, if they accumulate enough positive karma
Karma in Buddhism
Karma means "action" or "doing"; whatever one does, says, or thinks is a karma. In Buddhism, the term karma is used specifically for those actions which spring from the intention of an unenlightened being.These bring about a fruit or result Karma (Sanskrit, also karman, Pāli: Kamma) means...

; however, it is not recommended.

Buddhism flourished in different countries, and some of those countries have polytheistic folk religion
Folk religion
Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices...

s. Buddhism syncretizes
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 easily with other religions. Thus, Buddhism has mixed with the folk religions and emerged in polytheistic variants as well as nontheistic variants. For example, in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Buddhism, mixed with Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

, which worships deities called kami
Kami
is the Japanese word for the spirits, natural forces, or essence in the Shinto faith. Although the word is sometimes translated as "god" or "deity", some Shinto scholars argue that such a translation can cause a misunderstanding of the term...

, created a tradition which prays to the deities of Shinto as a form of Buddha. Thus, there may be elements of worship of gods in some forms of later Buddhism.

The concepts of Adi-Buddha
Adi-Buddha
In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Adi-Buddha, or Adibuddha , is the "Primordial Buddha." The term refers to a self-emanating, self-originating Buddha, present before anything else existed. Samantabhadra, Samantabhadri and Vajradhara are the best known names for Adi-Buddha, though there are others...

 and Dharmakaya
Dharmakaya
The Dharmakāya is a central idea in Mahayana Buddhism forming part of the Trikaya doctrine that was possibly first expounded in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā prajñā-pāramitā , composed in the 1st century BCE...

 are the closest to monotheism any form of Buddhism comes. All famous sages and Bodhisattvas being considered as reflections of it.
Adi-Buddha is not said to be the creator, but the originator of all things, being a deity in an Emanationist sense.

Neopaganism


Hard Polytheists believe that gods are distinct, separate real divine beings not psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces. Hard polytheists reject the idea that "all gods are one God"

This is contrasted with Soft Polytheism, which holds that Gods may be aspects of only one God, psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces.

It is a misconception that Hard Polytheists consider the gods of all cultures as being equally real; that is a theological position more correctly called integrational polytheism or omnitheism.

Soft Polytheism is prevalent in New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 and syncretic
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 currents of Neopaganism, as are psychological
Psychologism
Psychologism is a generic type of position in philosophy according to which psychology plays a central role in grounding or explaining some other, non-psychological type of fact or law...

 interpretations of deities as archetypes of the human psyche. English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 occultist Dion Fortune
Dion Fortune
Violet Mary Firth Evans , better known as Dion Fortune, was a British occultist and author. Her pseudonym was inspired by her family motto "Deo, non fortuna" , originally the ancient motto of the Barons & Earls Digby.-Early life:She was born in Bryn-y-Bia in Llandudno, Wales, and grew up in a...

 was a major populiser of soft polytheism. In her novel, The Sea Priestess, she wrote, "All gods are one god, and all goddesses are one goddess, and there is one initiator." This phrase is very popular among some Neopagans (notably, Wiccans) and incorrectly often believed to be just a recent work of fiction. However, Fortune indeed quoted from an ancient source, the Latin novel The Golden Ass
The Golden Ass
The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which St. Augustine referred to as The Golden Ass , is the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety....

  of Apuleius
Apuleius
Apuleius was a Latin prose writer. He was a Berber, from Madaurus . He studied Platonist philosophy in Athens; travelled to Italy, Asia Minor and Egypt; and was an initiate in several cults or mysteries. The most famous incident in his life was when he was accused of using magic to gain the...

. Fortune's soft polytheist compromise between monotheism and polytheism has been described as "pantheism" (Greek: πάν pan 'all' and θεός theos 'god'). However, "Pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

" has a longer history of usage to refer to a view of an all-encompassing immanent divine.

Neopaganism
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

 often blends polytheism with pantheism or panentheism.

Wicca


Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

 is a pantheistic, duotheistic, and a polytheistic faith. It sees the universe as being comprised by a divine Godhead (known by various names), but who is subdivided into the opposing polarities of The God and The Goddess. Each of these deities can be further divided into many different polytheistic deities, which are aspects of The God and The Goddess. Wicca is tolerant in the understanding of divinity, but emphasises a balance and equality between male and female deities, whereas other polytheistic faiths have often placed male deities at the top of the hierarchy.

Reconstructionism


Reconstructionists are neopagans which apply scholarly disciplines such as History
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

,Etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

,Archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

, Linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 and others to a traditional religion that has been destroyed such as Norse Paganism
Norse paganism
Norse paganism is the religious traditions of the Norsemen, a Germanic people living in the Nordic countries. Norse paganism is therefore a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe in the Viking Age...

, Greek Paganism,Celtic Paganism and others. After researching his or her path a reconstructionist or "recon" for short will apply the customs, morals and worldview to the modern day. In general they are considered "Hard Polytheists" and value historical research over personal insight.

See also



  • Apotheosis
    Apotheosis
    Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature...

  • Henotheism
    Henotheism
    Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities...

  • Judgement of Paris
    Judgement of Paris
    thumb |right |460px |[[The Judgment of Paris |The Judgment of Paris]], [[Peter Paul Rubens]], ca 1636...

  • Monotheism
    Monotheism
    Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

  • Mythology
    Mythology
    The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

  • Paganism
    Paganism
    Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

  • Pantheism
    Pantheism
    Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

  • Polytheistic reconstructionism
    Polytheistic reconstructionism
    Polytheistic reconstructionism is an approach to Neopaganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, and gathering momentum in the 1990s to 2000s...

  • Shirk (polytheism)
    Shirk (polytheism)
    In Islam, shirk is the sin of idolatry or polytheism. i.e. the deification or worship of anyone or anything other than the singular God, or more literally the establishment of "partners" placed beside God...

  • Theism
    Theism
    Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe....



Further reading

  • Assmann, Jan, 'Monotheism and Polytheism' in: Sarah Iles Johnston (ed.), Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, Harvard University Press (2004), ISBN 0-674-01517-7, pp. 17–31.
  • Burkert, Walter
    Walter Burkert
    Walter Burkert is a German scholar of Greek mythology and cult.An emeritus professor of classics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, he also has taught in the United Kingdom and the United States...

    , Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical, Blackwell (1985), ISBN 0-631-15624-0.
  • Greer, John Michael
    John Michael Greer
    John Michael Greer is an American author, independent scholar, historian of ideas, cultural critic, Neo-druid leader, Hermeticist, environmentalist/conservationist, blogger, novelist, and occultist/esotericist who currently resides in Cumberland, Maryland after living in Ashland, Oregon for a...

    ; A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry Into Polytheism, ADF Publishing (2005), ISBN 0-9765681-0-1
  • Iles Johnston, Sarah; Ancient Religions, Belknap Press (September 15, 2007), ISBN 0-674-02548-2
  • Marbaniang, Domenic Epistemics of Divine Reality Google Books (See Chapter 3 Empirical Epistemics of Divine Reality for philosophical analysis of polytheism)
  • Paper, Jordan; The Deities are Many: A Polytheistic Theology, State University of New York Press (March 3, 2005), ISBN 978-0-7914-6387-1
  • Penchansky, David, Twilight of the Gods: Polytheism in the Hebrew Bible (2005), ISBN 0-664-22885-2.

External links