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The Polemic Against Polytheism

Religion

More than a century ago, William James said that “the word ‘polytheism’ usually gives offence, so perhaps it is better not to use it,”[1] but we do not have that luxury. The term “polytheism”, some might be surprised to learn, predates the term “monotheism” by at least 1,600 years even on a conservative evaluation. The earliest usage of the term actually occurs in Aeschylus, more than 2000 years earlier, but there is purely descriptive, referring to a shrine dedicated to many Gods, which is thus termed polytheos.[2] The term is first used to distinguish one type of religion from another by Philo of Alexandria, in the first century CE, who uses it on several occasions to refer to those who do not worship the God of Abraham, but rather their many other Gods.[3] The term probably had some history of usage between the Aeschylus fragment and Philo, but which does not show up in the record. “Monotheism”, by contrast, is coined in the 17th century, in explicit contrast to “polytheism” and to “atheism” alike. While initially descriptive, then, the term “polytheism” has at least since Philo been embroiled in a polemic, one which has continued unabated for two millennia, and in that time dramatically widened in its scope and implications. As a result, we can hardly regard this polemic as one from which anybody can simply abstain. All of the world’s indigenous traditions are descriptively polytheistic, that is, they have many objects of religious regard, with different names and depictions. I say “descriptively” in order to begin from the simple usage we see in Aeschylus, in which a shrine is one through which many Gods are addressed. Many of these descriptively polytheistic traditions, of course, Hinduism among them, have doctrines or practices which have often been regarded, since the emergence of the polemic concerning polytheism, as in some fashion mitigating or contradicting this descriptive polytheism. Note that I say since the emergence of the polemic, because in none of these traditions did these practices or doctrines tend toward the elimination of descriptively polytheistic worship, because were that the case, given that these traditions are for the most part of great antiquity, they would presumably long since have ceased to be descriptively polytheistic, or else we would have to assume that these doctrines were ineffectual. Sometimes this is indeed the tacit assumption, based upon an invidious distinction between an enlightened few and the ignorant masses, which is a strong sociological premise requiring its own, independent argumentation. In this essay, I will address the history of anti-polytheist polemics as well as discussing some of the factors which purportedly render a tradition only apparently polytheistic, and explain why we not only need not regard this as the case, but also ought not. We cannot ignore the fact that any tradition which is descriptively polytheistic is also in danger precisely because of this from the monotheistic traditions, as well as from an atheism which shares with monotheism an antipathy toward polytheism, and which has inherited from monotheism many of its privileges and prerogatives in secular contexts.

The first and most important element which is often treated as rendering the descriptive polytheism of a tradition superficial is a doctrine respecting the nature of reality, which is assumed by modern interpreters to take priority over the existence of the Gods simply by virtue of the fact that reality can thus be characterized by a single term, such as On or “Being” in Greek, Brahman in Sanskrit, and Dao in Chinese. I will speak primarily about the Greek conception, because it is my area of expertise, but also because of its centrality in the Western tradition which has become hegemonic globally.[4] The first Greek philosopher to speak about “Being” as such was Parmenides, who does so as the result of the visionary experience of a Goddess, who clearly posits Herself as belonging to a field of other divinities. As such, there is no impetus whatsoever in Parmenides toward monotheism as a result of the doctrine of being, despite its universal scope. Thales, another important early Greek thinker, known for positing a single substance in all things, also states that “All things are full of Gods”; Heraclitus expresses a similar sentiment when he states that “The Gods are even here”. The great philosophers of the mainstream tradition of Greek philosophy, Plato and Aristotle, despite what many careless accounts of their thought may claim, offer many attestations of piety with respect to the Gods of their tradition, and no declarations whatsoever of monotheism. Rather, and this is the crucial point, things of which these philosophers speak, but which are only relatively or comparatively divine, and hence depend for their divinity upon the unequivocal affirmation of the existence and divinity of the actual Gods, and which are not regarded by them as being “God” in any sense of that term, are nevertheless treated by moderns as constituting a monotheistic or monistic theology, to the detriment of the actual religious traditions to which these men vociferously declared their allegiance. In the rarest of cases, a modern author will be candid enough to confess that while Plato, for example, does not call the Idea of the Good, “God”, that he should have, and that “theology”, which meant for him a discourse concerning the many Gods, ought instead to be taken in the sense it has today for Christian theologians, and that whatever in Plato answers most closely to those Christian expectations should be treated as Plato’s “theology”, rather than the one which is, indisputably, his own.

Indeed, “theology” as it is known in the modern academic world is an anomalous pseudo-science. In every other case, a science’s name denotes a class of objects, as in the case of “biology”, which pertains to the class of living things, or biota. “Theology” ought thus to refer to the class of Gods, theoi in Greek, and not to a “God” presumed to be singular. Were biology to be construed in the manner of modern academic theology, it would insist upon the existence of a single supreme living thing. By contrast, in Plato and Aristotle the term theologia refers to a discourse concerning the Gods collectively, the class of living immortals who have chosen to reveal Themselves to mortals and are worshiped in traditional cult.[5] Hence for Plato and Aristotle the theologoi or ‘theologians’ are the poets, priests and mystagogues, and the discourse proper to ‘theology’ is that of myth and ritual, which is still the meaning of ‘theology’ in Proclus, 800 years later.

A particularly important aspect of the discussion concerning the doctrine of being in Greek philosophers is the Platonic doctrine of the One, the principle of individuation, which is carefully distinguished from Being. The One, which neither is, nor is one in itself (Plato, Parm. 141e), but rather is the cause for everything else of each thing being one thing, stands in contrast to Being, which expresses instead the manner in which everything is one thing or one substance. The Platonic doctrine, by separating the cause of unity from the cause of being, therefore renders it impossible for the qualitative unity of being to undermine the numerical multiplicity of things. The purpose of the One in Platonic thought, thus, is to ground the multiplicity of things, not to subsume them: it is the principle of individuation, nothing more and nothing less. Indeed, the nonbeing of the One Itself, which is established by the dialectical inquiry of Plato’s most important dialogue, the Parmenides, named for the father of the Greek study of Being, renders it impossible that the One be taken to be any sort of ultimate object in its own right. Therefore, the highest development of Greek philosophy, which took place within the Platonic tradition, renders impossible the identification of either of its two highest principles, the One and Being, as any sort of monotheist deity, whether transcendent or immanent in character. For the One, as principle of individuation, prevents the unity of Being from collapsing everything into a single object, while the One’s own negativity prevents it, in turn, from being taken for a singular object itself. The two major types of monotheism, therefore, the transcendent variety adopted by the mainstream currents of Christianity and Islam, and the immanent variety, often known as ‘pantheism’, another modern neologism, are both blocked in advance by the fundamental structures of the most advanced ancient Greek metaphysics.

Let us turn for a moment to the consideration of immanent monotheism or pantheism, which treats the qualitative unity of Being as itself the supreme being. The term pantheism, while initially coined in the late 17th century in the context of polemics internal to Christianity, has been widely applied retrospectively to ancient polytheistic traditions, as well as to contemporary descriptively polytheistic traditions, in order to present these traditions as holding no true existential conviction in their Gods, but only in a singular substance of things. Prior to any discussion of the actual details of any particular doctrine, however, we must first contend with the collapsing of philosophy and theology which is presupposed by the claim that a philosophical doctrine concerning the substance of things is, by its very nature, a doctrine concerning the number of Gods. We know that this was not the case historically. The cultures in which doctrines such as Brahman or Dao were propounded have been throughout their history massively descriptively polytheistic. Such doctrines therefore neither discouraged the worship of the many Gods already acknowledged at the time they were first promulgated, nor did they, despite their importance in their respective traditions, inhibit them from enlarging their pantheons significantly and steadily throughout the whole of the time since then. And even those thinkers exhibiting the most extreme forms of monism have not argued for the nonexistence of the Gods of their tradition. Even the position that only one thing exists (which is far from the most common ‘monistic’ position) does not apply to any particular class of entities more than to another. That is to say, even the most extreme monism has no special reference to the number of Gods, and cannot therefore be assumed to constitute any sort of monotheism in the absence of any positive affirmation of this. Even in such an extreme doctrine, any relative order of nonbeings will establish Gods as the most real of things, especially insofar as no such thinker will be so simplistic as to regard their ultimate principle to be any sort of ‘thing’ at all.

Translating the most important concepts in a civilization’s philosophical tradition into another, alien set of terms can never be regarded as a simple, nor as a transparent process. This is all the more true when a clash of civilizations, and a veritable war of religions, has been in progress for centuries. It can hardly be denied that the tactics used in the West to undermine its own polytheistic traditions and to appropriate for Christian purposes the doctrines of polytheistic philosophers were put to use again in relation to the polytheistic civilizations which Christendom encountered in the modern era in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania. Therefore, an understanding of this history is essential to any attempt to translate between any of these traditions and those who would eliminate them.

It is a matter of historical record that already in the 3rd century CE, the earliest point at which Christian monotheism had become a trend noticeable to most of the Roman Empire, the great Platonic philosopher Plotinus, an Egyptian, engaged in stringent critique of those who, as he put it, “contract the divine into one” (Enneads II.9.9.36-7), and laid upon his students the responsibility to continue the effort against this tendency (Vita Plotini 16), as they did, with increasing urgency in each successive generation, as Christians took power in the Empire and consolidated their position. Their resistance only ended with Imperial legislation in 529 CE which forbade non-Christians from public teaching altogether, famously resulting in an exodus of Platonic philosophers across the Iron Curtain of their day, to take refuge in Iran. From this point forward, Christians, and later Muslims, were free to make of this philosophical legacy whatever they wished, without fear of contradiction. Doctrines concerning the nature of Being were transformed thus into doctrines in support of the notion of a supreme being. This fundamental transformation in the very mission of philosophy required the silencing of the philosophers themselves.

It is possible that Plotinus had an advance insight into the danger of monotheism due to the early spread of Christianity in Egypt. Indeed, his own teacher, Ammonius Saccas, had been a Christian who had reverted back to polytheism. The long and bitter struggle between Christians and philosophers in late antiquity gives the lie to any notion that philosophy was a preparation for monotheism. On the contrary, a philosopher in late antiquity was assumed by Christians to be a “pagan”, a term which does not mean “rustic”, as is often claimed, but rather refers to the recognition of the Gods of the national pantheons, as opposed to the universal, or kath’holikos, “Catholic”, Christian God. This is more easily recognized from the corresponding term used by Greek-speaking Christians, who referred to the “pagans” as ta ethnē, “the nations”, and the adherents of polytheistic traditions as ethnikoi.

Nor would it be particularly controversial, at least among those with genuine knowledge of the field, to point out that the stage of advancement reached by the last polytheistic Platonic philosophers of late antiquity was not surpassed during the era of Christian hegemony. Indeed, Thomas Aquinas in the late 13th c. CE was avidly awaiting the latest translations of Proclus, a polytheistic philosopher who had died almost 800 years earlier, much as we would today await the latest transmissions arriving from a deep space probe.

Given this, members of surviving descriptively polytheistic indigenous traditions should be highly circumspect concerning the evolutionary claims made on behalf of monotheism, namely that it represents a more advanced stage of thought, and should be wary of allying their own tradition with monotheism’s supposed historical inevitability. Rather, they should ask themselves whether they would not thus be helping to tip the scales in real time, at just the moment in history at which monotheist hegemony, finding itself in crisis, is in fact in vital need of their willing self-sacrifice to its cause.

If we look back at the situation of Christendom in the early modern era, we see it embattled from within and without. Internally, it had been shaken by the rediscovery of the texts of pagan antiquity and the progress of scientific inquiries which had been halted since the coming of Christian hegemony in late antiquity. The situation of Giordano Bruno is exemplary of both these conditions. Bruno, in response to exposure to ancient Greek texts newly available in the West due to the fall of Byzantium, as well as to the cutting edge scientific inquiries of Copernicus, of which he recognized the ontological consequences far more than did their author, reverted from Christianity to polytheism, and was as a result burned at the stake in the year 1600. The schism between Catholic and Protestant, moreover, cast a pall of radical doubt over the entire Christian project. In particular, Protestant ideology identified itself as the voice of true monotheism, claiming that Catholicism, like Judaism, represented an insufficiently universal, and hence superseded creed, and as such had failed to complete the conquest of polytheism. Protestantism therefore casts itself as embodying the continuing impetus of the original Christian movement. It is no accident, therefore, that the term ‘monotheism’, as distinct from any particular monotheistic tradition, was coined in this era, as a massive body of tradition was cast aside in order to maintain the trajectory toward an increasingly purified focus upon a singular divinity. There is much more that could be said, indeed, about the various ways in which the Protestant movement essentially pursues the project of an increasingly rigorous monotheism, and the consequences this has had for Western modernity.

This intensification of monotheist hegemony, however, did not arise only in response to Christendom’s internal crisis, but also to external challenges. It is important to remember that Christianity, within 400 years of becoming the state religion of the Roman Empire, had lost fully half of its territory to a new monotheistic creed, never to recover it. Imposition of Christianity among the Germanic tribes under the Carolingian rulers, which followed upon the heels of this devastating setback, required harsh repressive measures and incited the furious response of Viking raids, while Christianity was only fully imposed in the Scandinavian and Baltic region through the Northern Crusades of the 13th and 14th centuries. The discovery of intact and continuous ancient polytheistic civilizations in Asia, Africa and the Americas thus could not have come at a worse time for Christendom. For the contest between Christianity and Islam, bitter as it was, served at least to reinforce for both combatants the absolute value of monotheism and of the Abrahamic revelation which was its vehicle in the world. Far worse was the specter of irrelevance that Christianity faced on the new, wider global stage.

This is the essential context for the emergence of the project of monotheism as such, that is, as a mission of thought and a supposed evolutionary progress of human consciousness transcending even Christianity, albeit preserving the most important tenets of the Christian faith. This project required, as its proof of concept, that monotheism was not a feature of some particular historical creed which had achieved dominance through contingent historical factors. It required that monotheism be something innate or primordial, in order that its adoption not be regarded as a sheer novelty, even though it was at the same time presented as emblematic of modernity, progress and scientific advancement. It had to be the case, therefore, that monotheism would be found somehow both in peoples regarded as the most primitive compared to Europeans, but also, at least to some extent, in the works of what Europeans could not help but regard as the ‘high’ civilizations of India and China. This inchoate recognition of utter ideological necessity determined the approach to the non-Western cultures that Europeans encountered. The idea of a so-called ‘natural theology’, a primordial monotheistic revelation granted to all peoples, was crucial in this effort. Christians had already made use of this notion  in the Middle Ages, in order to claim that selected individuals who lived prior to the spread of the gospel or outside its reach had been granted a privileged insight into the nature of the one true God. This notion of an original monotheism took on new life in the modern era, however, through the discipline of ethnography or ‘anthropology’, which was arguably founded in this very attempt to tame through ‘scientific’ inquiry the new, and far wider horizon of ‘pagan’ lifeworlds that Europeans were encountering and attempting to control. Here it acquired a veneer of scientificity at the same time that it laid down clear guidelines in advance for what the human sciences were supposed to find, that is, of what ‘human nature’ was supposed to consist.

There is, indeed, a long story that needs to be told about the manner in which this monotheist project fostered the distinctively modern form of racism, at one time denying the humanity of those who fell beyond the pale of recognition of and by the One God, while at another time, using the notion of an original monotheism to hold out the promise of perfectibility, in light of which any cruelty was justified in the present, and to undermine any surviving indigenous tradition as, ironically, inauthentic. Inherent in the notion of a primordial ‘natural theology’ is the degeneracy and unnaturalness of any given actual religion, and hence the depravity of its adherents, to the degree that it fails to resemble the putative ideal. Moreover, the theory opens a whole field of historical speculation about the relations of power which gave rise to the fallen, all-too-human institutions of religion. The notion of a pure and original monotheism, an ideal state of spirituality which existed naturally in the distant past and would be reestablished through human action in the future, was and remains perhaps the single most powerful tool of the colonial project.

This tactic, accordingly, was applied throughout the world. In those places, however, such as India and China, where it lay beyond the power of Christendom either to eradicate the indigenous religions entirely, or to erase the written records of their intellectual achievements, a two-pronged tactic was adopted, namely that of arguing that the intellectual elite within these cultures had always been monotheistic, and at the same time that the native priesthood, who had preserved and transmitted the thought of these supposedly monotheistic thinkers, but who had clearly not become monotheists themselves, were denounced as self-serving frauds and the abusers of the populace, as having willfully distorted the ancient wisdom because it would not have served their self-interest and lust for power. The Western scholar thus emerges as a more accurate reader of the ancient texts of these traditions than any native could be, at least while the distorting presence of the living polytheistic indigenous tradition had not yet been eliminated.

In this regard, the ostensibly secular and ‘scientific’ approach of the anthropologists, philologists, and historians of thought and religion is revealed as essentially united with the Christian missionary project. It is no accident, for example, that we find in one family Alfred North Whitehead, author of a supposedly progressive philosophy of immanent monotheism, a pantheism which has been widely enlisted as a privileged interpreter of non-Western thought, and Henry Whitehead, the Bishop of Madras, vividly demonstrating how the terms of debate have been limited, with the transcendent monotheism of the clergy on the one hand and the immanent monotheism or pantheism of the ‘free thinker’ on the other, while polytheism’s very existence is denied. The illusion of an open and vigorous exchange of ideas is thus created while ensuring that monotheism will be victorious however the debate turns out. This is the very essence of intellectual hegemony.

For this reason, any position which argues that the apparent multiplicity of divinities in a tradition is merely apparent, even if it presents itself as an interpretation of ideas internal to that tradition, cannot be allowed to escape being interrogated with respect to its participation in the erasure and elimination of indigenous polytheistic traditions all over the world, because it is no longer operating merely within that tradition, but on a world stage. Choices of interpretation involve ethical choices and power relations which epistemology provides no excuse for ignoring.

While the issue of the misinterpretation of doctrines of being or substance is probably of the most direct significance to the situation of Hinduism, especially given the weight that the monotheizing interpretation of Hindu philosophy has been given, not only within India but also in comparative studies that exert pressure on other traditions, there are other intellectual tactics used to suppress polytheism which should be mentioned as well.

One of these is the anti-polytheistic inferences drawn from the mere existence of a ‘creator’ God in a given tradition. In the first place, of course, this depends upon the privileging within the Abrahamic traditions of the role of ‘creator’, as opposed to all of the other ways of conceptualizing divine activity. But it also ignores that there are frequently multiple ‘creators’ and multiple cosmogonies within a single tradition. To fail to recognize the plurality of ways in which even a single tradition can conceive of ‘creation’ effectively reduces the entire notion of ‘creation’ to a pallid imitation of the physical sciences. It is worth pointing out, in this respect, that the reductionist ideology of scientism has nothing to do with actual scientific practice, and is itself arguably a descendant of monotheism. Natural science has never been in a position to provide adequate interpretations of cosmogonies which, for their own part, concern the nature of being, since the natural sciences are essentially instrumental. The very term ‘theory’ derives from the Greek theoria, which referred originally to the experience of beholding the Gods at Their holy festivals. The experience of theophany lies not only historically, but also ontologically prior to the practices of theory formation in the sciences which still depend, one and all, upon some tacit metaphysics, a metaphysics which may be monotheistic or polytheistic. The recent theoretical tendency known as cosmopolitics notably recognizes the inherent plurality of cosmogonies and ontologies not as partial views upon a singular reality, but as the living creation of reality itself.

The issue of the multiplicity of cosmogonies within a single tradition, and a fortiori, of course, in the entire multiverse of diverse traditions, the essential plurality of cosmogony as such, raises the deeper question of the perspectival or polycentric nature of polytheism, such that a deity who is literally everything for one devotee is peripheral for another, without on that account failing to be recognized as existent and deserving of worship. While this is a state of affairs that virtually defines polytheism, it has been in modernity commonly treated as somehow logically entailing that all Gods must therefore be the aspects or expressions of one God. Hence it has been labeled as something categorically distinct from polytheism, through terms such as ‘henotheism’ or ‘monolatry’, and argued to be a ‘transitional stage’ to monotheism in evolutionist accounts of religious history. Hence the term ‘henotheism’, for example, was introduced by Max Müller in order to explain away the polytheism of the Veda, by treating its polycentricity, that is, the fact that now one Deva, now another, is treated as supreme, as implying an underlying monotheism.

The logical fallacy here, however, is evident when we consider that whether we are dealing with perspectives on a single object or upon multiple objects is the very issue at hand, and the argument therefore a transparent case of petitio principii, or “begging the question”. The appropriate comparison to the case of multiple Gods assuming the position of eminence in texts like the Veda is not that of a single elephant of which blind men grasp different parts, but rather that of objects which appear larger when the observer is closer and smaller when the observer is further away. In neither case is the observer failing to perceive something accurately: nearer, they recognize more detail in the object, while at a distance, they observe the relationships between multiple objects in a shared space. Both of these are essential to any conception of polytheism which is not artificially truncated, and evidence for polycentricity is to be found in any sufficiently documented polytheistic tradition. In the Hindu tradition, of course, the polycentric nature of Vedic devotion forms a continuum with the so-called ‘sectarian’ bhakti traditions. The multiplicity of the objects of bhakti is no more a merely contingent fact than the multiplicity of Devas in the Veda, and as such requires no explanation beyond itself: there are many objects of bhakti because there are many Devas worthy of this singular devotion. In similar fashion, ancient Egyptians stated that every God is “unique in his fashion”, and priests, in the standard daily cult service, affirmed this, pledging to the God that “I have not equated your nature with that of another God”.[6] Polytheistic traditions emerge from the basic position of openness to theophany, to discovering Gods, and having discovered Them, to sustaining the conditions of relation to Them, recognizing the ineffable person of the God as an intrinsic value.

Related to this latter point about the personhood of the Gods is the question of so-called ‘idolatry’. One of the most common tactics of monotheists, in order to avoid speaking of even the putative existence of many Gods, has been to refer to polytheists simply as ‘idolators’, because they make images of their Gods. Of course, it is not the case that polytheists always make images of their Gods. Nor, of course, is there any logic whatsoever in the notion that without some tangible representation a multiplicity of Gods would not exist, because an incorporeal multiplicity cannot be individuated in the first place by corporeal images, nor even by names. Rather, for the polytheist these serve to articulate identities Who are distinct prior to any human knowledge of Them. A common charge by monotheists has it that only the weak-minded masses require images on which to focus their devotion, while the sublime of mind worship the one God. We may respond to this with the immortal words of Porphyry, a great philosopher and student of Plotinus, who waged in his day a tireless intellectual resistance to Christianity: “It is no wonder that the most ignorant people consider statues to be wood and stone, just as illiterate people see inscriptions as stones, and writing tablets as wood, and books as woven papyrus,” (Peri Agalmatōn, frag. 1).

The general tactic of introducing such a schism into a culture, separating its thinkers from the mass of their people, has moreover a wide-ranging significance for the colonial project. It doesn’t matter, in this regard, whether this elite is given a positive or a negative value, whether they are seen as the few enlightened, or as the obscurantist agents of domination, insofar as the basic integrity of the society has been violated and its power to resist thus undermined. One has only to look at the indispensible role played by Vodoun, the transplanted African polytheism of Haiti, in the Haitian revolution, the success of which shook Europe to its very core, to appreciate the importance attached by colonial powers to dissolving the bonds between an oppressed people and the Gods Who are uniquely their own.

In this essay, I have discussed four tactics which have been used historically to deny the existence and validity of polytheistic worship and to promote the idea of the supremacy and inevitability of monotheism. The first involved the wholesale appropriation of philosophical doctrines regarding the nature of being, in order to recast it as a body of argumentation for the existence of a supreme being; the second involved the misinterpretation of ‘creator’ Gods within pantheons as playing a role analogous to that of the monotheist creator, which however loses its meaning unless it is taken as excluding others; the third involved the misinterpretation of the polycentric nature of actually existing polytheism as expressions of an underlying monotheism, or a transitional state to monotheism; and the fourth involved the assignment of polytheism to the ignorant masses, while the elite were presumed to be monotheists. All of these tactics have their roots in Christian strategies against their polytheist adversaries, and yet all of them pass for secular theses today. Whether or not members of descriptively polytheistic traditions wish to regard the plurality of their divinities as ultimate or conditional, as long as the stigma attached to polytheism remains, and as long as the idea is allowed to go unquestioned that monotheism is either the rational, natural, or inevitable condition of humanity, their traditions will be in danger.

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[1]    A Pluralistic Universe, p. 771 in William James: Writings 1902-1910, ed. Bruce Kuklick, New

York: Library of America (1987).

[2]    Suppliant Women 424: “And see me not ravished from this sanctuary of many Gods,” (trans. H. W. Smyth).

[3]    On the Creation §61; Confusion of Tongues, §28/144; On the Change of Names, §37/205.

[4]    See, however, my essay “The Gods and Brahman,” Walking the Worlds 4.1, Winter 2017, pp. 18-36.

[5]    E.g., Plato, Republic 379a; Aristotle, Mete. 353a35; Metaph. 983b29; 1000a9-11; 1071b26-28; 1075b24-7; 1091a33. See also Richard Bodéüs, Aristotle and the Theology of the Living Immortals, pp. 34-9.

[6]    Erik Hornung, Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many, p. 185.

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