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Unlike modern monotheistic religions that only accept one, omnipotent and omniscient god, ancient Greek religion has a pantheon of fallible gods. Yet it was also well developed, where the pantheon has hierarchy (Zeus, king of gods) and lineage.

Was there ever a time and place where the religion evolved into a monotheistic form? That is, only accepting one god, rejecting the others as false ones or manifestations of the one true god. For example, ancient Egyptian religion briefly gave rise to Atenism, the offshoot religion that states the sun-disc Aten was the only god.

Did a similar thing happen to Greek religion? If so, which god became the one? Or was it an amalgam?

  • Do you have any reason for suspecting that this may have occurred in Greek mythology? Or is this just random speculation? – user62 May 1 '15 at 0:38
  • @Christofian I think the rationale is the example he gave in his question: it happened to Egypt, so it could have happened in Greece. – Nerrolken May 1 '15 at 0:44
  • @Christofian at first, I suspected Zeus might qualify since he's the king already. Also, according to this, there were apparently monotheistic cults that worshipped Dionysus. Perhaps those more familiar with this subject can write a good answer. – congusbongus May 1 '15 at 0:59
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    Well in Egypt this came from a Pharaoh who had and always had power given by the gods over its subjects. Rulers in Greece weren't like that so it is unlikely they could have done the same thing – meneldal May 1 '15 at 1:09
  • @meneldal I'm not sure what you're trying to say; why would religions require rulers enforcing them? Plenty of people are religious today without any laws forcing them to. – congusbongus May 1 '15 at 1:12
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No, at least not that we know of. If there was a monotheistic cult in ancient Greece, it certainly wasn't as popular as Atenism. There are traces of monotheistic thought in Platonism (e.g. the Euthyphro dilemma), but that's more about philosophy than religion.

There's one theory, put forth by Elizabeth Kessler in Dionysian Monotheism in Nea Paphos that "two monotheistic religions, Dionysian and Christian, existed contemporaneously in Nea Paphos during the 4th century C.E.". The only evidence cited, however, is a mosaic where Dionysus is the central figure, so I'd take this with a grain of salt.

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