Lecture | T.F.L.S. Lecture
The Myth of Monotheism
- 6 December 2017
- Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden
The Myth of Monotheism: why students of religion (and history) should not count invisible beings
No one doubts that monotheism is an important concept for many believers in the world: Jews and Christians, Muslims and Sikhs, Baha’is and modern Zoroastrians all affirm their basic monotheism and use it frequently as a source of identification, and of pride. What unites them, however, is also a source of bitter division. In the academic study of religion, and the history of religions more generally, the label ‘monotheism’ has been surprisingly successful, in spite of the obvious theological, emotional and moral baggage that it carries.
In this lecture, Ab de Jong, Professor of the Study of Religion, will argue that students of religion should avoid the concept altogether. This will be done along two lines of thought: a general discussion of the problems and a practical illustration on the basis of the evidence from classical Zoroastrianism, which can be described without any effort as monotheist, dualist, and polytheist and strongly suggests the uselessness of these very concepts.