Henotheism: Monotheism in Principle and Polytheism in Action

Henotheism is the belief that there is one God without denying the existence of other deities. The largest example of henotheism among today’s world religions is found in Hinduism. In this system, the practice of bhakti is common in which a person worships or reveres one deity while acknowledging many others. In the Hindu tradition, more than 300 million gods and goddesses exist.

Ancient Greek religion also provides an example of henotheism. For example, Zeus was an important deity who ruled over eleven other gods. All of these deities were believed to be divine, yet one was considered stronger than the others.

Henotheism (Greek “one god”) is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean devotion to a single primary god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities. Müller stated that henotheism means “monotheism in principle and polytheism in fact”.

Variations on the term have been inclusive monotheism and monarchical polytheism, designed to differentiate differing forms of the phenomenon. Related terms are monolatrism and kathenotheism, which are typically understood as sub-types of henotheism. The latter term is an extension of “henotheism”, from (kath’ hena theon) —”one god at a time”. Henotheism is similar but less exclusive than monolatry because a monolator worships only one god, while the henotheist may worship any within the pantheon, depending on circumstances. In some belief systems, the choice of the supreme deity within a henotheistic framework may be determined by cultural, geographical, historical or political reasons.

Source(s):

Compelling Truth

NAU

Pantheism

Religion as a Social Group

Social Group

About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
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