Word of the Day : November 24, 2015


noun HEN-uh-thee-iz-um


: the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods

Did You Know?

Henotheism comes to us from the German word Henotheismus, which in turn is derived from Greek hen- ("one") and theos ("god"). Someone who engages in henotheism worships one god but does not deny that there are others. Max Müller, a respected 19th-century scholar, is credited with promoting the word henotheism as a counterpart to polytheism ("belief in or worship of more than one god") and monotheism ("the doctrine or belief that there is but one God"). Müller also used the related word kathenotheism, from Greek kath' hena ("one at a time"), for the worship of several gods successively.


"For Assyrian kings, the god Ashur … was proclaimed to be the true king, and the human king was the god's regent. In other words, in the ancient world, henotheism was a convenient method for imposing a king's rule over subject peoples: one all-powerful god means one all-powerful king as well." — A. C. Black, Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: An Introduction, 2001

"Wishing to find the roots of Jewish monotheism in the cult of Aten, Freud worked freely with ancient Egyptian henotheism: that is, the concept of the sun as one supreme divinity among many." — David Meghnagi, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 2014

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to create a word that is derived from Greek theos and refers to an elevation to divine status or to the perfect example of something: a _ _ t _ e _ s _ _ .



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