Zoroasters and Egyptian Pharos

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Zoroasters and Egyptian Pharos

I know about the Zoroasters popularizing the first attempt at monotheism. BUT I also have herd of one of the Egyptian Pharos trying to make "Ra" the one true god. If memory serves me correctly it was Akanaton.

If anyone can point out , especially the Pharo who made that attempt, and the period of his rule, that would be great. I want to compair it to the Zoroasters.

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There was just something on

There was just something on History channel last night about that. But for some reason I don't remember it being Ra, but, another 'sun' god instead, Aeten, Aten, something like that.

I do remember the show saying how unpopular the change was and that the people were pretty upset with the pharo.

 Edit to add: I'm pretty sure they said it was Akhenaten.


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There was just something on

Hmmm stupid double post. Ignore this.....

 


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The Egyptians were the first

The Egyptians were the first to have an officially sanctioned monotheistic religion under the rule of Ahkenaten.  Aten was the sun God which was worshiped by the Egyptians for a short period as their only God.  Ahkenaten and his wife Nefertiti were both killed by opposition from priests and others who felt deep down this was blasphemous to their previously held polytheistic religion, and eventually after the deaths of the pharaoh and his wife, polytheistic rule was re-established. 

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Don't you mean polytheistic

Don't you mean polytheistic for the last 2?


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Rook_Hawkins wrote:The

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

The Egyptians were the first to have an officially sanctioned monotheistic religion under the rule of Ahkenaten.  Aten was the sun God which was worshiped by the Egyptians for a short period as their only God.  Ahkenaten and his wife Nefertiti were both killed by opposition from priests and others who felt deep down this was blasphemous to their previously held monotheistic religion, and eventually after the deaths of the pharaoh and his wife, monotheistic rule was re-established. 

Thank you Rook. But what I am trying to compair it to, and either way, both the anceint Egyptians and Zoroasters pre date the abrahamic religions.

From what I understand because the ancient Egyptians valued their polytheism, that reign's idea was quickly squashed, and attempts to reverse his decree were made upon his death.

My point is between him, and the Zoroasters, who came first?

But you are saying that monotheism was re-established by that same Egyptian linage?

EVEN with the Ugartic text there is an admission to the "divine" family full of multiple gods and one head god.

But, I was under the impression that his rule was only one Pharo, and that after that they went back to polytheism untill later cultures defeated them.

Maybe my question is wrong? Maybe I should ask, which culture was more effective in selling the idea of one god?

 

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Let me add Rook that I was

Let me add Rook that I was mixing multiple topics in at the same time, A.D.D.

My impresion with that Pharo is that he made an unpopular decree that one god should be worshiped and that upon his death they tried to re-establish polytheism.

How does Zoroaster compair to liner time. And when did, and by what culture was the claim made about the "Ugartic Text and the "divine family?

My point is and has always been that monotheism is a result of polytheism which is a result of anthropromorphic theism. We as a species went from earthy gods, to polytheistic human gods, to one god.

I am merely interested as to which was first, the Egyptian attempt at monotheism or the Zoroaster attempt, and when did, from a liner timescale did the "Divine family" of the Cannans  compair as far as a time line.

 

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mistake

 

       I think Rook got distracted in his post and mis wrote. Egyptians had polytheism before Akenaten; Akenaten worshipped only Aten the sun god,  after Akenaten Egyptians returned to polytheisim under his heir Tutankamun. This was around the mid19th century BCE.

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Yes, sorry.  I fixed that

Yes, sorry.  I fixed that error.  Brian, I stated in the first sentence that the egyptians were the first.  That means they were also before Zoroastrians. 

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Conclusion:Polytheism is

Conclusion:

Polytheism is just as irrational as monotheism.


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MattShizzle

MattShizzle wrote:

Conclusion:

Polytheism is just as irrational as monotheism.

Sure.

 

But Thor is still way awesomer than Yahweh could ever hope to be.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:
Sure.

 

But Thor is still way awesomer than Yahweh could ever hope to be.

Of course.  I mean, he even had a recurring character named after him in Stargate.  10 seasons and not one single yehweh.  Pathetic.

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He also had a comic book,

He also had a comic book, though I'm sure some fundies made Jesus comic books.


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Zoroastrians and Egyptian Pharaohs

I know this subject is quite old, but I stumbled upon it when Googling "Akhenaten" and "Zoroaster" and would like to make some comments/clarifications.

Zarthustra (Persian name), known in the West as Zoroaster (Greek name), is hard to date. The ancient Greeks placed him thousands of years before them, putting him long before Pharaoh Akhenaten. Some scholars agree with this date, placing Zoroaster at an early division of the Indo-Aryan religion that led to Hinduism on one end and Zoroastrianism on the other. Others believe he exhisted at a later time, dating him around the 6th or 7th centuries B.C.E. Regardless of his date, there is nothing to indicated connection or influence between the Atenistic and Zoroastiran religions. Zarthustra is seen as a revolutionary, much like Akhenaten, and their respective overthrows of polytheism do have parallels.

Zarthustra's culture in Persia worshiped various devas, or gods, much like their eastern counterparts in India. These gods were opposed by asuras, or demon gods. Some scholars even attempt to linguistically connect the "deus" gods of Southern Europe and the "aesira" gods of Northern Europe with the "devas" gods and "asura" gods of Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, - a sort of "unified theory" of proto-religion.

Anyhow, Zarthustra's theology upended the order which had the devas as good divinities and the asuras as negative counterparts. Instead, he suggested that all the devas were either evil or false, depending on academic interpretation. He then placed Ahura Mazda, or Wise Lord, as the sole divinity. Opposing Ahura Mazda was Angra Mainyu/Ahriman, an evil divinity. His religion wasn't pure monotheism, but rather a dualism which only worshiped a single diety. Many of the asuras and devas came to be seen as angels and demons, all under the reign of either Ahura Mazda or Ahriman. Additionally, echatological theology developed such that they believed in an end of time conflict between Good and Evil, as well as a heaven and hell. Of course, it is hard to distinguish between what was originally Zarthustra's revelation and what was later theological development by the priesthood. Central to worship was fire, not seen as an idol or incarnation but rather as a pure form upon which to direct oneself when praying to Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrianism as somewhat iconoclastic, although not nearly as strict in this as the later Muslim or Protestant religious traditions. While Ahura Mazda can never be depicted, there were no prohibitions against other visual arts. Zoroastrianism survived in Persia until the spread of Islam and the invasion of Muslim armies. Many fled to India, where they became known by the locals as Parsis, or rather "the Persians."

The Pharaoh Amenhotep IV cause another revolution in religion, and unlike Zarthustra he can be accurately dated. He reigned in the 18th Dynasty, from around 1352-1335 B.C.E. Prior to his accention to the throne, the Egyptians worshiped a pantheon of deities that oftentimes merged and diverged. Like most polytheistic religions, they found no theological conflict with the other surrounding civilizations - gods were gods, and seen as interchangable (like the Zeus/Jupiter, Hades/Pluto of the Greeks and Romans). One of the most popular at the time was Amun, a solar deity, whose priesthood was quite powerful (because they were wealthy). A sign of his popularity was the fact that the past few pharaohs honored Amun in their regnal name, with Amenhotep IV ("Amun is satisfied&quotEye-wink himself continuing this trend. However, soon upon taking the throne, he changed his name to Akhenaten ("Glory of Aten&quotEye-wink, honoring his new god Aten. The subsequent development of Atenism is somewhat murky, considering that after his death Akhenaten was branded a heretic and he was erased from this historicaly record: his capital was abandoned, his temple pulled down, his statures and reliefs defaced (literally), and all official lists of pharaohs skip his term. The only reason we know about him today is because in pulling down his temple and abandoning the city, the ancient Egyptians inadvertantly preserved much of what they didn't shatter or break.

As far as archeologists have been able to reconstruct, the transition to Aten as sole diety was gradual, over a period of ten years or so. At its height, Atenism was completely different from the standard Egyptian faith that exhisted hundreds of years before (and hundreds after). Under Akhenaten there was one primary temple, located in the new city ("Horizen of Aten&quotEye-wink at modern day Amarna. Atenism was also iconoclastic in that Aten could not be depicted physically like the other previous gods. While Amun, Horus, Ra, Osiris, and others were all shown in human form, Aten was only displayed as a sun disk, with rays of light radiating outward and ending as hands bestowing blessings upon humanity. Aten still received sacrifices much like other deities at the time, and although Akhenaten constructed two or three other minor temples (in all of Egypt), the temple at Amarna was the primary place of worship. Akhenaten himself was seen as the high priest, with his wife Nefertiti also performing important religious ceremonies. Akhenaten even called for the closure and destruction of temples to the other gods, only allowing worship of the "one true god" Aten. With the death of Akhenaten, his son/grandson/nephew eventually took over and Egypt reverted to its polytheistic past. Everyone, of course, knowns this successor: Tutankhaten, who changed his name to Tutankhamum soon after becoming pharaoh.

While there is no direct connection between either of these monotheistic faiths, they are both intriguingly tied to Judaism. When attempting to date the Exodus, most scholars place Moses either just before Akhenaten at the time of the Hyksos expulsion or just after Akhenaten at the time of Rameses II and the Habiru. The Hyksos were invaders from the Levant (modern Israel, Lebanon, etc.) who entered Lower Egypt (north) and ruled for some time before being expelled by a resurgent southern army from Upper Egypt. After the reign of Akhenaten, pharaohs had to deal with raiders from the same region which they called Habiru (Hebrews?). There are no solid connections, and historians continue to debate the historicity of the Exodus and any historical connections or historical memory that might be legitimate. Either way, Akhenaten right in the middle of the period of Exodus is quite interesting.

As for Zoroastrian connections, many scholars are quite certain that the Zoroastrians influenced Jewish thought. During the end of the Babylonian captivity, once Babylon was conqured by the Persians, the Jewish leadership was under Zoroastiran rule. Prior to their deportation some 50 years earlier, Judaism appears henotheistic, meaning they worship one god while acknowledging others. "You shall have no other gods before me," and the like place Yahweh as primary and above other gods, but not as the sole diety. After the Babylonian Captivity, their language changes such that Yahweh alone is god. The scholarship suggests that coming into contact with the monotheistic Zoroastrianism, with its one god, a devil, an afterlife (heaven/hell) and angels and demons, greatly affected Jewish theology. Prior to the captivity, with the Book of Job, Satan is simply one of God's angels playing "devil's advocate" so-to-speak. Afterwards, Satan takes on some of the characteristics of Zoroastiran's Angra Mainyu. Another interesting tidbit is that Cyrus the Great not only frees the Jews from captivity, but even helps them rebuild the temple in Jerusalem by partially funding the construction. It seems that he recognized his one god in their one god, much as the polytheists had recognized their pantheon in others.

Sorry my post is so long, but the topic of ancient monotheism has been at the forefront of my interests recently. I study comparative religion, which I'm sure all of you here would find as rewarding as contemplating one's navel - but as a character in Angels & Demons says, "you don't need to have cancer to study it."


Bradley (not verified)
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Zoroastrians and Egyptian Pharaohs

I know this subject is quite old, but I stumbled upon it when Googling "Akhenaten" and "Zoroaster" and would like to make some comments/clarifications.

Zarthustra (Persian name), known in the West as Zoroaster (Greek name), is hard to date. The ancient Greeks placed him thousands of years before them, putting him long before Pharaoh Akhenaten. Some scholars agree with this date, placing Zoroaster at an early division of the Indo-Aryan religion that led to Hinduism on one end and Zoroastrianism on the other. Others believe he exhisted at a later time, dating him around the 6th or 7th centuries B.C.E. Regardless of his date, there is nothing to indicated connection or influence between the Atenistic and Zoroastiran religions.Zarthustra is seen as a revolutionary, much like Akhenaten, and their respective overthrows of polytheism do have parallels.

Zarthustra's culture in Persia worshiped various devas, or gods, much like their eastern counterparts in India. These gods were opposed by asuras, or demon gods. Some scholars even attempt to linguistically connect the "deus" gods of Southern Europe and the "aesira" gods of Northern Europe with the "devas" gods and "asura" gods of Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, - a sort of "unified theory" of proto-religion.

Anyhow, Zarthustra's theology upended the order which had the devas as good divinities and the asuras as negative counterparts. Instead, he suggested that all the devas were either evil or false, depending on academic interpretation. He then placed Ahura Mazda, or Wise Lord, as the sole divinity. Opposing Ahura Mazda was Angra Mainyu/Ahriman, an evil divinity. His religion wasn't pure monotheism, but rather a dualism which only worshiped a single diety. Many of the asuras and devas came to be seen as angels and demons, all under the reign of either Ahura Mazda or Ahriman. Additionally, echatological theology developed such that they believed in an end of time conflict between Good and Evil, as well as a heaven and hell. Of course, it is hard to distinguish between what was originally Zarthustra's revelation and what was later theological development by the priesthood. Central to worship was fire, not seen as an idol or incarnation but rather as a pure form upon which to direct oneself when praying to Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrianism as somewhat iconoclastic, although not nearly as strict in this as the later Muslim or Protestant religious traditions. While Ahura Mazda can never be depicted, there were no prohibitions against other visual arts. Zoroastrianism survived in Persia until the spread of Islam and the invasion of Muslim armies. Many fled to India, where they became known by the locals as Parsis, or rather "the Persians."

The Pharaoh Amenhotep IV cause another revolution in religion, and unlike Zarthustra he can be accurately dated. He reigned in the 18th Dynasty, from around 1352-1335 B.C.E. Prior to his accention to the throne, the Egyptians worshiped a pantheon of deities that oftentimes merged and diverged. Like most polytheistic religions, they found no theological conflict withthe other surrounding civilizations - gods were gods, and seen as interchangable (like the Zeus/Jupiter , Hades/Pluto of the Greeks and Romans). One of the most popular at the time was Amun, a solar deity, whose priesthood was quite powerful (because they were wealthy). A sign of his popularity was the fact that the past few pharaohs honored Amun in theirregnal name, with Amenhotep IV ("Amun is satisfied&quotEye-wink himself continuing this trend. However, soon upon taking the throne, he changed his name to Akhenaten ("Glory of Aten&quotEye-wink, honoring his new god Aten. The subsequent development of Atenism is somewhat murky, considering that after his death Akhenaten was branded a heretic and he was erased from this historicaly record: his capital was abandoned, his temple pulled down, his statures and reliefs defaced (literally), and all official lists of pharaohs skip his term. The only reason we know about him today is because in pulling down his temple and abandoning the city, the ancient Egyptians inadvertantly preserved much of what they didn't shatter or break.

As far as archeologists have been able to reconstruct, the transition to Aten as sole diety was gradual, over a period of ten years or so. At its height, Atenism was completely different from the standard Egyptian faith that exhisted hundreds of years before (and hundreds after). Under Akhenaten there was one primary temple, located in the new city ("Horizen of Aten&quotEye-wink at modern day Amarna. Atenism was also iconoclastic in that Aten could not be depicted physically like the other previous gods. While Amun, Horus, Ra, Osiris, and others were all shown in human form, Aten was only displayed as a sun disk, with rays of light radiating outward and ending as hands bestowing blessings upon humanity. Aten still received sacrifices much like other deities at the time, and although Akhenaten constructed two or three other minor temples (in all of Egypt), the temple at Amarna was the primary place of worship. Akhenaten himself was seen as the high priest, with his wife Nefertiti also performing important religious ceremonies. Akhenaten even called for the closure and destruction of temples to the other gods, only allowing worship of the "one true god" Aten. With the death of Akhenaten, his son/grandson/nephew eventually took over and Egypt reverted to its polytheistic past. Everyone, of course, knowns this successor: Tutankhaten, who changed his name to Tutankhamum soon after becoming pharaoh.

While there is no direct connection between either of these monotheistic faiths, they are both intriguingly tied to Judaism. When attempting to date the Exodus, most scholars place Moses either just before Akhenaten at the time of the Hyksos expulsion or just after Akhenaten at the time of Rameses II and the Habiru. The Hyksos were invaders from the Levant (modern Israel, Lebanon, etc.) who entered Lower Egypt (north) and ruled for some time before being expelled by a resurgent southern army from Upper Egypt. After the reign of Akhenaten, pharaohs had to deal with raiders from the same region which they called Habiru (Hebrews?). There are no solid connections, and historians continue to debate the historicity of the Exodus and any historical connections or historical memory that might be legitimate. Either way, Akhenaten right in the middle of the period of Exodus is quite interesting.

As for Zoroastrian connections, many scholars are quite certain that the Zoroastrians influenced Jewish thought. During the end of the Babylonian captivity, once Babylon was conqured by the Persians, the Jewish leadership was under Zoroastiran rule. Prior to their deportation some 50 years earlier, Judaism appears henotheistic, meaning they worship one god while acknowledging others. "You shall have no other gods before me," and the like place Yahweh as primary and above other gods, but not as the sole diety. After the Babylonian Captivity, their language changes such that Yahweh alone is god. The scholarship suggests that coming into contact with the monotheistic Zoroastrianism, with its one god, a devil, an afterlife (heaven/hell) and angels and demons, greatly affected Jewish theology. Prior to the captivity, with the Book of Job, Satan is simply one of God's angels playing "devil's advocate" so-to-speak. Afterwards, Satan takes on some of the characteristics of Zoroastiran's Angra Mainyu. Another interesting tidbit is that Cyrus the Great not only frees the Jews from captivity, but even helps them rebuild the temple in Jerusalem by partially funding the construction. It seems that he recognized his one god in their one god, much as the polytheists had recognized their pantheon in others.

Sorry my post is so long, but the topic of ancient monotheism has been at the forefront of my interests recently. I study comparative religion, which I'm sure all of you here would find as rewarding as contemplating one's navel - but as a character in Angels & Demons says, "you don't need to have cancer to study it."