The tenacity of this belief may be explained among other things by the living impression of the polytheism that surrounded the communities on every side.
But whether the great gods of polytheism were really transfigured ancestors is very doubtful.
If polytheism is to be seriously defended at all, the basis must be empiricist.
Hume endeavours to show that polytheism was the earliest as well as the most natural form of religious belief, and that theism or deism is ' See Burton, ii.
Mithraism courted the favour of Roman paganism and combined monotheism with polytheism, while Christianity was uncompromising.
And can we regard the prohibition of polytheism and the prohibition of idolatry as one commandment?
They make counter attacks on polytheism as a folly and on the shamefulness of obscene myths.
Lastly pre-Mosaic polytheism seems to be implied in the Mosaic prohibition Ex.
Thus to take the preface as a distinct word is not reasonable unless there are cogent grounds for uniting the commandments against polytheism and idolatry.
- From the higher Polytheism an easy step leads to some form of Monotheism.
In the Apology, after contrasting the judicial treatment of Christians with that of other accused persons, he refutes the accusations brought against the Christians of atheism, eating human flesh and licentiousness, and in doing so takes occasion to make a vigorous and skilful attack on pagan polytheism and mythology.
It is true that Arabian polytheism in the time of Mahomet was in a state of decay.
The belief in these Mura-Mura or Alcheringa folk may obviously develop, in favourable circumstances, into a polytheism like that of Greece, or of Egypt, or of the Maoris.
The ignorant polytheism of the time could not tolerate such explanation, and the enemies of Pericles used the superstitions of their countrymen as a means of attacking him in the person of his friend.
With the rise of a belief in departmental gods comes the age of polytheism; the belief in elemental spirits may still persist, but they fall into the background and receive no cult.
Of the epic fragments, the more important are those in which he attacks the "anthropomorphic and anthropopathic polytheism" of his contemporaries.
A docile Israelitish writer accepted one of the chief forms of the Babylonian cosmogony, merely omitting its polytheism and substituting " Yahweh " for " Marduk."
Besides those who were ready to go the whole length and accept circumcision, numbers adopted particular Jewish practices, observing the Sabbath, for instance, or turned from polytheism to the doctrine of the One God.
For a true appreciation of the chaotic polytheism that reveals itself even in the earliesttexts it would be necessary to be able to trace its development, stage by stage, out of a number of naive primitive cults; but the period of growth lies behind recorded history, and we are here reduced to hypotheses and a posleriori reconstructions.
While these monotheistic, pantheistic doctrines were taught in the schools, the people were left to a debased polytheism and to new superstitions imported from the Orient; the philosophers themselves were by no means unaffected by the popular beliefs.
Other deities, like Zeus, rise to the head of a monarchical polytheism, in which their physical base is almost, ' Gotternamen, Bonn, 1896, p. 279 ff.
But cp. Dr Farnell's essay " On the Place of the Sonder-Gottcr in Greek Polytheism," in Anthropological Essays presented to Edward Burnett Tylor (1907), p. 8r.
- Polytheism is here on the way to monotheism, and this tendency receives significant support from the recognition of an order in nature which is the ground and framework of social ethics.
By such conceptions the Hellenic polytheism was moralized; the physical character of the greater gods fell into the background, and the sculptor's art came to the aid of the poet by completely enduing them with personality.
Anthropomorphic polytheism (religions of the Vedic Indians,the ancient Persians, the later Babylonians and Assyrians,the advanced Semites, the Kelts, Germans, Hellenes, Greeks and Romans).
Sometimes he gives prominence, and correctly, to the fact that the disputants partially failed to understand one another, because they had separate interests at heart - those on the one side desiring above everything to guard against polytheism, those on the other being most afraid of Sabellianism.
In theology, the dominant philosophical idea of each of these epochs results in pantheism, polytheism, theism.
3 The " departmental " arrangement prevails among the polytheism of civilized peoples, ' Dasent, Bragi's Telling: Younger Edda, P. 94.
In polytheism the grades of superhuman beings are continuous; but in monotheism there is a sharp distinction of kind, as well as degree, between God on the one hand, and all other superhuman beings on the other; the latter are the " angels."
On the human side polytheism receives fresh groups in connexion with the development of social institutions and national feeling.
4 The Hellenic polytheism of Homer and Hesiod is already at work upon similar ideas, and a whole group of mythic personifications slowly rises into view representing different phases of the same fundamental conception.
Wolff's list is of some historical importance - atheism, deism (a God without care for men) and naturalism (denial of supernatural revelation); anthropomorphism (assigning a human body to God); materialism, and idealism (non-existence of matter); paganism (polytheism); Manichaeism, Spinozism, Epicureanism.
Their belief might be described as a polydemonism rather than a polytheism, or more correctly, to avoid altogether the intrusion of foreign notions, as a "multinuminism."
Porphyry marks the transition to a new phase of Neoplatonism, in which it becomes completely subservient to polytheism, and seeks before everything else to protect the Greek and Christianity.
(Usage does not allow us to rank polytheism as a form of theism.) E.
The necessity of a constant protest against polytheism led to a tenacious insistence on the divine unity, and the task was to reconcile this unity with the deity of Jesus Christ.
Whilst it can hardly be allowed that Xenophanes, so far from denying, actually affirms a plurality of gods, it must be conceded to Freudenthal that Xenophanes's polemic was directed against the anthropomorphic tendencies and the mythological details of the contemporary polytheism rather than against the polytheistic principle, and that, apart from the treatise De Melisso Xenophane et Gorgia, now generally discredited, there is no direct evidence to prove him a consistent monotheist.
The first, De Falsa Religione, and the second, De Origine Erroris, attack the polytheism of heathendom, show the unity of the God of creation and providence, and try to explain how men have been corrupted by demons.
Unlike the Hindu, Xenophanes inclined to pantheism as a protest against the anthropomorphic polytheism of the time, which seemed to him improperly to exalt one of the many modes of finite existence into the place of the Infinite.
We have, however, yet to notice the enlargement of the sphereof ethics due to its close connexion with theology; for while this added religious force and sanction to ordinary moral obligations, it equally tended to impart a moral aspect to religious, belief and worship. " Duty to God " - as distinct from duty to man - had not been altogether unrecognized by pagan moralists; but the rather dubious relations of even the more orthodox philosophy to the established polytheism had generally prevented them from laying much stress upon it.
The church and church theology, to whose guidance the masses now surrendered themselves, took in along with them their superstition, their polytheism, their magic, their myths, and all the machinery of religious witchcraft.
With the rise of species, deities and the cult of individual animals, the path towards anthropomorphization and polytheism is opened and the respect paid to animals tends to lose its strict animistic character.
The catechetic course included instruction in monotheism, in the folly of polytheism, in the Christian scheme of salvation, &c. (c) They were again and again exorcized, in order to rid them of the lingering taint of the worship of demons.
Was not polytheism still a living enemy ?
A brief description of how the Egyptians were punished through the very things with which they sinned (though the punishment was not fatal, for God loves all things that exist), and how judgments on the Canaanites were executed gradually (so as to give them time to repent), is followed by a dissertation on the origin, various forms, absurdity and results of polytheism and idolatry (xiii.-xv.): the worship of natural objects is said to be less blameworthy than the worship of images - this latter, arising from the desire to honour dead children and living kings (the Euhemeristic theory), is inherently absurd, and led to all sorts of moral depravity.
But with the decline of dogmatic belief and the spread of religious doubt - as the special sciences also grow more general, and the natural sciences become more speculative about matter and force, evolution and teleology - men begin to wonder again about the nature and origin of things, just as it was the decay of polytheism in Greek religion and his own discoveries in natural science which impelled Aristotle to metaphysical questions.