Anthropotheism  

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"But if cattle and horses and lions had hands [...]" --Xenophanes

The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Anthropotheism is ascribing human form and nature to gods, or the belief that gods are only deified human beings. Associated with classical Greek and Roman beliefs, a type of anthropotheism finds a modern expression in the Mormon world-view of eternal progression. Vestiges of Hebrew anthropotheism can be discerned throughout the Hebrew Bible. It is a type of physitheism.

The attribution of human general qualities to divine beings may be called anthropopathy.

Criticism

Xenophanes is quoted in Clement of Alexandria, arguing against the conception of gods as fundamentally anthropomorphic:

But if cattle and horses and lions had hands
or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do,
horses like horses and cattle like cattle
also would depict the gods' shapes and make their bodies
of such a sort as the form they themselves have.
...
Ethiopians say that their gods are snub–nosed [σιμούς] and black
Thracians that they are pale and red-haired.

Early Christian writers such as Melito, Tertullian, Origen and Lactantius were accused of anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism was revived in northern Italy during the tenth century, but was effectually suppressed by the bishops, notably by the Ratherius, bishop of Verona.

In modern times, Benny Hinn has also taught a form of anthropomorphism.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Anthropotheism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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