By Page duBois
Many humans worship not only one yet many gods. but a constant prejudice opposed to polytheism denies legitimacy to a couple of the world's oldest and richest non secular traditions. In her exam of polytheistic cultures either historical and contemporary--those of Greece and Rome, the Bible and the Quran, in addition to glossy India--Page duBois refutes the concept that the worship of a number of gods clearly evolves over the years into the "higher" trust in one deity. In A Million and One Gods, she indicates that polytheism has persevered intact for millennia even within the West, regardless of the numerous hidden ways in which monotheistic proposal keeps to form Western outlooks.
In English utilization, the be aware "polytheism" comes from the seventeenth-century writings of Samuel Purchas. It was once pejorative from the beginning--a note to tell apart the idea method of backward peoples from the extra theologically complicated faith of Protestant Christians. this day, whilst monotheistic fundamentalisms too usually force humans to dedicate violent acts, polytheism is still a scandalous presence in societies nonetheless orientated in line with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim ideals. Even within the multicultural milieus of twenty-first-century the United States and nice Britain, polytheism reveals itself marginalized. but it persists, possibly simply because polytheism corresponds to subconscious wishes and deeply held values of tolerance, range, and equality which are critical to civilized societies.
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Extra resources for A Million and One Gods: The Persistence of Polytheism
The rewards which Christianity promises to virtue, and the punishments with which it threatens guilt, produce at the first glance a conviction of the truth” (Chateaubriand, 203). Christians generously commit themselves to spreading their message: “Idolatrous nations knew nothing of that divine enthusiasm which animates the apostle of the gospel” (Chateaubriand, 557). This accusation of apathy serves as a reproach to the ancient philosophers who never left the pleasures of Athens, while Christian missionaries have courageously gone forth to save the souls of those who “still languished in the darkness of idolatry.
Theirs are the “determinate” religions, those of the first few “nature religions,” the lowest form, but each representing a higher development than the one before. The Greeks and the Israelites have not “nature” religions, but spiritual beliefs, “being-for-self,” and these two, the Greek the religion of beauty, the Israelite the religion of sublimity, are synthesized in the Roman religion of purposiveness, the purpose being dominion over the empire, guaranteed by Jupiter Capitolinus and by the emperor himself.
Chateaubriand, 588). The American translator notes: “The author had before his eyes the massacres of St. Domingo, which had but recently occurred. His remarks on the ultra philanthropy of his time will be easily applied in our own day and country” (Chateaubriand, 588, n. 1, translator’s note). The translator writes in 1856, just before the American civil war. 26 Chateaubriand attributes all the excellences of modern Europe to the effects of Christianity. In relation to ancient Rome, he claims: “The passions under polytheism would soon have overturned a government which is preserved only by the accuracy of its counterpoises” (Chateaubriand, 662).
A Million and One Gods: The Persistence of Polytheism by Page duBois