from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Belief in one god without denying the existence of others.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Belief in or worship of one deity without denying the existence of other deities.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Primitive religion in which each of several divinities is regarded as independent, and is worshiped without reference to the rest.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A name given to an asserted characteristic of the oldest Hindu religion (of the Vedas), as ascribing supreme power to different gods in turn: hence also sometimes applied to similar phases of other polytheistic religions.
Recently, while browsing through the dictionary, I came across the word henotheism, defined as "the worship of one of a group of gods, in contrast with monotheism, which teaches that only one god exists."
Monolatry is not the same thing as henotheism, which is the belief in and worship of one god without at the same time denying that other persons of different nations on this earth can with equal truth worship different gods.
From this polytheistic position the people took a step forward to a state of mind which Professor Max Muller calls henotheism; that is, they believed in the real existence of many gods, but that they were under allegiance to only one, their national Deity, and that him only they must serve.
There is no longer any such 'henotheism' as that of the Rig Veda.
Nor must it be supposed that this monotheism was unconscious; that it was, for example, a form of "henotheism," where the devotion of the adorer filled his soul, merely to the forgetfulness of other deities; or that it was simply the logical law of unity asserting itself, as was the case with many of the apparently monotheistic utterances of the Greek and Roman writers.
The concept of "henotheism" (in which any one of various deities may be singled out for worship as the Supreme Being) has been proposed to describe Hinduism.
When we find that many of them are credited with the same larger or smaller acts of creation, protection, or blessing, we may suspect that they were originally clan gods that have been incorporated in the great theologic system, and that "henotheism" is mainly a survival from this earlier scheme or an extension of it. [
Universal henotheism plays a role in the story, and it is one of the backgrounds to the whole thing.
Since the Terran Army had been blessed by every god under universal henotheism, it didn't loose battles and didn't need void jackals.
Now that I think about it, I can't off-hand think of any examples of henotheism in fantasy fiction except Orson Scott Card's Hart's Hope, which has a god called God whose followers worship him exclusively, even though the other deities, the Hart and the Sweet Sisters, unquestionably exist.
Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.