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Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism$
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James K. Hoffmeier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199792085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199792085.001.0001

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Is Atenism Monotheism?

Is Atenism Monotheism?

(p.193) Chapter 7 Is Atenism Monotheism?
Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism

James K. Hoffmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Akhenaten’s religion was monotheistic, defined as the exclusive worship of one deity and the rejection of or the denial of the existence of others. This understanding is demonstrated by the iconoclasm directed against images and writings and titles of the former chief deity, Amun, and other deities. After the move to Amarna, a final change to the didactic name occurred in which all vestiges of other gods were removed, specifically, Ra-Harakhty and Shu. During the final decade of his reign, even traditional solar images were banished, and only the sun-disc and its rays, along with Aten’s name, remain in the iconography at Amarna. This combination of factors, it is argued, points to a monotheistic faith.

Keywords:   monotheism, iconoclasm, Amun, Amarna, Aten, Akhenaten

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