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From Greek kath'hena, "one by one" or "one at a time" or "each in turn," and theos, "god," kathenotheism is the term coined by linguist and comparative religion scholar Max Muller to describe the sequential worship of multiple gods, treating each individually as the exclusive supreme being when it is their specific turn to receive worshipful attention.

This concept is related to henotheism, the treatment of one god as the supreme being, while not excluding the possibility of existence of other gods (or even while explicitly treating other gods as real but not involved with one's own personal religious praxis).

Smarta Hinduism is kathenotheistic, focusing on five deities (Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Surya and Devi) who receive equal reverence to one another at all times, but who during active praise are treated sequentially as supreme.

Orphism also treats a great many deities (the Twelve Olympians in addition to Dionysos and Persephone receiving the most consistent focus, but numerous nymphs, muses, titans, and primordial gods also appearing) one by one as supreme, in a series of eighty-seven short religious poems.

The religion(s) of ancient Egypt were kathenotheistic at multiple time periods, interrupted by strictly henotheistic and strictly monotheistic time periods when Akenaten and other leaders instituted worship of just one god (in this case, Aten) or of one god as exclusively supreme over all others (variously Amon, Osiris, Horus, or individual pharaohs posthumously or while living).

Many Neo-Pagan individuals and groups are deliberately kathenotheistic, often in addition to selecting their deities syncretically and/or eclectically. A result of this is "patchwork" individual beliefs which hold chief deities (e.g. Iuppiter of Religio Romana) in the same standing as comparatively "subordinate" or even contrary "dark" and "trickster" deities (e.g. Loki from Norse Mythology or Cerridwen from Welsh Mythology) across multiple sources. This has historically created inter-system tensions between different branches of reconstructionist and eclectic paganism, with reconstructionists often considering this a deeply disrespectful (and often culturally appropriative) treatment of the source religions and the deities themselves.

Iron Noder 2018, 15/30

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