Skip to main content

Monotheism

  • 82 Accesses

Monotheism is necessarily understood in opposition to polytheism. Do we believe in one god or several gods (or one god more powerful than other gods)? The struggle between monotheism and polytheism can be seen as a metaphorical representation of an essential struggle in the human psyche.

We almost always associate monotheism with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The assumption in these religious traditions is that there is one deity, conceived of as a personality with mind, a deity who acts through history and ultimately rules and controls the universe. Because of the dominance of the three “monotheistic religions,” there has been a general assumption in the western world that monotheism is an important part of a general path toward enlightenment. Polytheism is a belief system postulating many gods representing the many facets of creation and is often dismissed by the western mind as a “primitive” phenomenon.

Freud, in his Moses and Monotheism, suggested that monotheism originated...

Keywords

  • Religious Tradition
  • Human Psyche
  • Potential Wholeness
  • Creative Mind
  • Metaphorical Representation

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Bibliography

  • Eliade, M. (1963). Patterns in comparative religion. Cleveland: Meridian.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freud, S. (1939). Moses and monotheism. New York: Random House.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hillman, J. (1971). Psychology: Monotheistic and polytheistic (pp. 193–208). New York: Spring Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jung, C. G. (1976). Symbols of transformation. Princeton: Bollingen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, D. (1974). New polytheism: Rebirth of the gods and goddesses. New York: Harper &; Row.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David A. Leeming .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany

About this entry

Cite this entry

Leeming, D.A. (2016). Monotheism. In: Leeming, D. (eds) Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_435-4

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_435-4

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-642-27771-9

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Behavioral Science and PsychologyReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences