One God

One God : Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire

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Graeco-Roman religion in its classic form was polytheistic; on the other hand, monotheistic ideas enjoyed wide currency in ancient philosophy. This contradiction provides a challenge for our understanding of ancient pagan religion. Certain forms of cult activity, including acclamations of 'one god' and the worship of theos hypsistos, the highest god, have sometimes been interpreted as evidence for pagan monotheism. This book discusses pagan monotheism in its philosophical and intellectual context, traces the evolution of new religious ideas in the time of the Roman empire, and evaluates the usefulness of the term 'monotheism' as a way of understanding these developments in later antiquity outside the context of Judaism and Christianity. In doing so, it establishes a framework for understanding the relationship between polytheistic and monotheistic religious cultures between the first and fourth centuries AD.

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  • Hardback | 250 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 20mm | 498.95g
  • 15 Aug 2011
  • CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge
  • English
  • 0521194164
  • 9780521194167
  • 879,313

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Author Information

Stephen Mitchell is Leverhulme Professor of Hellenistic Culture at the University of Exeter. Previous books include A History of the Later Roman Empire AD 284-641 (2007) and, more recently, The Imperial Temple at Ankara and the Res Gestae of the Emperor Augustus. A Historical Guide (2008). Peter Van Nuffelen is Research Professor of Ancient History at the University of Ghent. He has published numerous articles on aspects of the ancient and medieval worlds, and has recently edited Faces of Hellenism (2009), and co-edited (with Stephen Mitchell) Monotheism Between Christians and Pagans in Late Antiquity (2009).

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Review quote

'Whether or not one finds the term pagan monotheism useful, and I do, this volume is ... extraordinarily effective in conveying the continuities between paganism, ancient Judaism and Christianity.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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