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Religion or literature courses often study polytheism. Polytheism is the worship or belief in many gods instead of only one god, as monotheism does. The word's origins come from the term "poly" which means many, and "theoi" which means gods. Polytheistic religions can have many gods and not all of the gods are viewed as equally important. Polytheism was very popular during the Bronze Age, during the height of the Roman empire and during the age of the Roman Empire.

Popular polytheistic religions are as follows:

Mythology and religion often cross when studying polytheism. Polytheism was a large part of the Classical era mythological figures. Gods such as Zeus, Aphrodite, and Poseidon ruled the various aspects of the world and the underworld in an era that thrived on traditions of story-telling and literary exploitation. Ancient Greece was perhaps the best known era for polytheism and their history is extremely rich with tales of polytheism from Homer, Dante, and other classical authors that recorded the tales of great gods throughout the world.

Polytheism and Judaism

Polytheism may even have had its reaches into Judaism in its earliest days.
Some scholars note that the early patriarchs may not have been "pure monotheists", but may have been influenced by the polytheistic environment in which they found themselves; she also notes that there are many words used to denote divinity in early Hebrew scriptures and that these may indicate belief in a plurality of divine beings. Here we have a scholar discussing an issue which, in principle, might be worked out by new discoveries-or new methods-in the field of paleography or archaeology.

Other scholars on Judaism handle this question in a way that is vastly different from the way we currently think of it. In the first place, the existence of gods other than YHWH is recognized in the Hebrew Bible. This recognition of deities other than YHWH was qualified in such locations as Psalm 82:6 in such a way as to indicate that these other gods were subordinate deities who derived their existence-as did the entire universe-from YHWH. Thus monotheism is preserved.

Polytheism VS Monotheism

The information about the polytheism and monotheism issue is roughly similar but one leaps ahead of the time of the earliest patriarchs in a way that current scholars do not. Traditional treatment of monotheism goes beyond the fact-oriented treatment and becomes value oriented. It is not monotheism per se that gave the Jewish version of God its special quality and its special place in the history of man's religions. It was the nature of this deity that was significant. For, unlike the other gods believed in by the peoples of the Middle East and of the Mediterranean littoral, this God was not amoral-Zeus having been mainly interested in the pursuit of women-and this God was not indifferent to the affairs of humans. And this was something new and theologically/morally progressive.


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