Yoruba tradition often says that there are 400 + 1 Orisha, which is associated with a sacred number. Other sources suggest that the number is "as many as you can think of, plus one more – an innumerable number"

So if it's as many as I can think of, can I think of infinity and it wouldn't be wrong?


  • 1
    Do you have evidence that the concept of infinity existed in that culture? If not then no, you can't correctly think of infinity.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Mar 6, 2022 at 10:42
  • You can't really think of infinity gods, except as a group. If you have to think about each god individually, then you probably won't be able to get to a billion even if you think of one every second for 8 hours a day for the rest of your live. That's just arguing semantics, though; no telling what your source meant without knowing what it is.
    – towr
    Commented Mar 6, 2022 at 15:06
  • From your link: Their number is usually given as 400 + 1 as a kind of shorthand for "without number" or innumerable. So yes, essentially, it's "infinite" as described by culture that did not have a clear mathematical concept of "infinite". It's not uncommon for ancient cultures to use an arbitrarily large number to represent the idea that it's an uncountably large number. I'm not sure what you're asking though, do you have reason to dispute this source?
    – Semaphore
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 10:09
  • @Semaphore it could be that the number of gods is always growing, instead of it being a set constant number
    – Orionixe
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 1:25
  • @Orionixe I think you're still misunderstanding; in historical language like this, they're not saying the number is literally 400 or 401; instead it's a way of saying "infinite" before they invented the concept of infinity. For example in Classical Chinese the number "9" often represents the idea of "maximum" rather than literally nine.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 14:57


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.