I recently learned of this theory, or cult, whatever. Basically they claim that many people, in ancient Greek already, believed that Zeus was the one and only God of the entire time and space.
So, what's with Zeus' father, brothers, and other gods of his equal? The answers is that Zeus willed all of them into being. He even willed his own birth.
That's how they interprete line 463 to 465 of Hesiod's Theogony, that is, Zeus planned/willed everything.
For he[Kronos] had heard from Earth and starry Sky that, mighty though he was, he was destined to be overpowered by a child of his, through the plans of great Zeus. (translation from Loeb Classical Library)
To me, such interpretation doesn't sound like the only one or the most plausible one. To me, these lines sound more like a prophecy that Kronos was destined to be overpowered by Zeus' plans in the future, than a statement that Zeus planned Kronos' demise then, before he was even born.
The first few lines of the Theogony also, according to them, describe Zeus as omnipotent (ἐρισθενέος Κρονίωνος). But, according to Loeb, and all my dictionaries ἐρισθεν- means "mighty" or "very mighty" instead of almighty. And ἐρι- is only an intensive prefix that means "very" at most. For almighty, one would use παντοκράτωρ.
There are more quotes with no reference claiming Zeus is the one, the beginning and the end.
I wikied a little and it says, in Late Antiquity, there are several competing monotheistic cults.
A number of oracles of Apollo from Didyma and Clarus, the so-called "theological oracles", dated to the 2nd and 3rd century CE, proclaim that there is only one highest god, of whom the gods of polytheistic religions are mere manifestations or servants. 4th century CE Cyprus had, besides Christianity, an apparently monotheistic cult of Dionysus. -- Monotheism
So my questions are:
- Did Hesiod really describe an almighty Zeus who planned everything?
- How popular was the belief of Zeus being the One among the ancients such as Hesiod, Homer, etc. if any at all, and in Late Antiquity?
Different translations of line 463~465 (related question):
απ' την βουλη του μεγαλου Δια*
from the will/plan of the great Zeus*
*Σαν υα προυπηρχε η βουλη του Δια απο την γεννηση του. Η βουλη του Δια ταυτιζεται εδω, με την Μοιρα, στοιχειο αχρονο.
*As if the will of Zeus had existed since his birth ...
despite his strength, as the will of great Zeus decreed. (Norman O. Brown) [in a footnote among the omitted lines]
no matter how mighty Cronus was,
deliberate action by a great god would win out. (C.S. Morrissey)
powerful though he was, through the designs of great Zeus. (M.L. West)
That his own child would conquer him, powerful though he was, And this was bound to happen through the plan of mighty Zeus. (Catherine Schlegel & Henry Weinfield)
that it had been ordained for him,
for all his great strength,
to be beaten by his son,
and through the designs of great Zeus. (Richmond Lattimore)