Pagan Monotheism: A Bibliography

Although my reading and thinking is often fuelled by frustration, there is one scholarly construction above all that has motivated my efforts: „pagan monotheism“. Interest in the topic seems to have waned in recent years, but the number of essay collections that were published on it have cemented this deeply flawed concept in scholarship. This bibliography is intended (a) as an overview of the scholarship in this area in recent decades; (b) to situate that scholarship, which has generally presented itself as innovative, in a longer history of, not to mince words, academic Christian chauvinism; and (c) to at some point provide links to critical posts that show the argumentative flaws of all the major articles.

For the moment, until I have time to write these posts, I can at least provide the following guidance:
🙂 = insightful
🙁 = not worth reading


… „Arabian monolatry and ambient monotheism“ …


Rez. Peter Van Nuffelen, Rethinking the Gods: Philosophical Readings of Religion in the Post-Hellenistic period. Greek culture in the Roman world. Cambridge; New York:Cambridge University Press, 2011.Pp. viii, 273.ISBN 9781107012035
Bryn Mawr Classical Review


Edwards, Mark Julian
Christians, Gnostics and philosophers in Late Antiquity

Brenk, Frederick E.
Plutarch and „Pagan Monotheism“
in: Plutarch in the religious and philosophical discourse of late antiquity. Ed. by Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta. (Studies in platonism, neoplatonism, and the Platonic tradition. 14.). Leiden: Brill


M. R. Salzman, „Religious Koine and Religious Dissent in the Fourth Century“, in: Jörg Rüpke (ed.), A Companion to Roman Religion, 2011, 109–126, specifically pages 113–114 („Pagans approaching monotheism“)


S. Mitchell & P. Van Nuffelen (eds.), One God. Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire, 2010; in this volume:

  • S. Mitchell & P. Van Nuffelen, „Introduction: the debate about pagan monotheism“, 115
  • P. Van Nuffelen, „Pagan monotheism as a religious phenomenon“, 16–33
  • J. North, „Pagan ritual and monotheism“, 34–52
  • M. Frede, „The case for pagan monotheism in Greek and Graeco-Roman antiquity“, 53–81
  • A. Fürst, „Monotheism between cult and politics: the themes of the ancient debate between pagan and Christian monotheism“, 82–99
  • Ch. Markschies, „The price of monotheism: some new observations on a current debate about late antiquity“, 100–111
  • A. Chaniotis, „Megatheism: the search for the almighty god and the competition of cults“, 112–140
  • N. Belayche, „Deus deum. . . summorum maximus (Apuleius): ritual expressions of distinction in the divine world in the imperial period“, 141–166
  • S. Mitchell, „Further thoughts on the cult of Theos Hypsistos“, 167208


(?) Amerise, Marilena
Monotheism and the monarchy. The Christian emperor and the cult of the Sun in Eusebius of Caesarea
Jahrbuch für Antike & Christentum


Approaching late antiquity. The transformation from early to late empire
„The book challenges orthodoxies (for example, Honore on law, Whitby on military life, Edwards on monotheism)“
Whitby, M.
Pagan and Christian monotheism in the age of Constantine


Wallraff, Martin
Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity. Remarks on a Recent Publication


One god or many ? Concepts of divinity in the ancient world. Barbara Nevling Porter (Ed.). Bethesda, Maryland: CDL press. (Transactions of the Casco Bay Assyriological Institute. 1.)

Bloch, René S.
Monotheismus. I. Begriff. II. Mesopotamien und Ägypten. III. Altes Israel. IV. Griechenland und Rom. V. Judentum und Christentum
in: Der Neue Pauly. Enzyklopädie der Antike. Herausgegeben von Hubert Cancik und Helmuth Schneider. Band VIII. Mer – Op. Stuttgart & Weimar: Verlag J. B. Metzler

Lerro, Bruce
From earth spirits to sky gods. The socioecological origins of monotheism, individualism, and hyperabstract reasoning from the Stone Age to the Axial Iron Age


P. Athanassiadi & M. Frede (eds.), Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity, 1999; in this volume:

  • P. Athanassiadi & M. Frede, „Introduction“, 1–20
  • 🙁 M. L. West, „Towards Monotheism“, 21–40
  • 🙁 M. Frede, „Monootheism and Pagan Philosophy in Later Antiquity“, 41–68
  • J. Dillon, „Monotheism in the Gnostic Tradition“, 69–80
  • S. Mitchell, „The Cult of Theos Hypsistos between Pagans, Jews, and Christians“, 81–148
  • P. Athanassiadi, „The Chaldaean Oracles: Theology and Theurgy“, 149–184 (somewhat off-topic from „pagan monotheism“)
  • 🙁 W. Liebeschuetz, „The Significance of the Speech of Praetextatus“, 185–206


Teixidor, The Pagan God