Akhenaten influence on Monotheism/Abrahamic Faiths

Jan 2014
1,773
Portugal
Akhenaten influence on Monotheism/Abrahamic Faiths

There are several questions around this theme that I would like to know the Historum members opinion.

1 - I'm studying history and my teacher on Pre-Classical Antiquity states that the cult of Athen/Athon (the cult of the Sun-Disc) is the precursor of Judaism/Christianism, or at least has a critical influence on the creation of those faiths.
2 - Considering this question: Do you think modern day Abrahamic faiths are a cultural evolution of Ancient Egypt cult of the Sun-Disc?

*If you feel that Q2 is to silly or offends your beliefs please ignore it and focus on Q1.

Thank you all.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,903
Blachernai
What exactly is your teacher meaning when he or she is saying "precursor"?
 

dreamregent

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
4,366
Coastal Florida
Akhenaten influence on Monotheism/Abrahamic Faiths

There are several questions around this theme that I would like to know the Historum members opinion.

1 - I'm studying history and my teacher on Pre-Classical Antiquity states that the cult of Athen/Athon (the cult of the Sun-Disc) is the precursor of Judaism/Christianism, or at least has a critical influence on the creation of those faiths.
2 - Considering this question: Do you think modern day Abrahamic faiths are a cultural evolution of Ancient Egypt cult of the Sun-Disc?

*If you feel that Q2 is to silly or offends your beliefs please ignore it and focus on Q1.

Thank you all.
Those are good questions but the extant record doesn't have the necessary resolution to explain the extent of the influence, if any. About the closest thing you're going to find are the seeming parallels between biblical Psalm 104 and the Great Hymn to the Aten.
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,979
Yötebory Sveriya
I am going with no influence and probably little or no connection. The suggestion of the connection was made by Freud, but he did not know nearly as much about Atenism as we do today. The only thing they have in common was that they were monotheistic; but they were incredibly different religions.

1. Time - The religions developed hundreds of years to a thousand years apart from each other. Judaism developed into a monotheistic religion by tradition about 500 years earlier in the time of Abraham, by biblical evidence about 600 years later in the time of Isaiah, and by historical evidence around 1000 years later in the late Persian/early Hellenistic.

2. Theology - Judaism has much more in common with non-polytheistic Indo European religions than Atenism. Like the Zoroastrianism of the Persians, it contains a moralistic God who interacts using Angels, with negative forces being associated with Demons. There are also aspects of similar to Greek Cults like the Pythagoreans and Platonists; especially Christianity which shares an omnipotent and omniscient God which transcends time and space while interacting with the mortal world through a personified Word/Logos/Son. The Aten was a sun God, and had no moral purpose, and served only as a means to give the Pharoah a divine connection.

3. Atenism was a religion for the Pharoah of Egypt alone; it was instituted as the sole religion of Egypt in order to lessen the power of priests and strengthen the power of the Pharoah; as the Pharoah was now the sole path to the sacred. It was also extinguished during the reign of Tutankhamen.

The Septuagint was written about 1000 years after Atenism.
The Gospels about 1400 years later.
The Qur'an about 2000 later.

The major influences on the three were the Semitic pagans; the Persian Zoroastrians; and the Greek philosophers, especially the Platonists. Also internal philosophers and reformers of the indo-european world, especially the Roman Empire, the Arab Empire, and Europe.
 
Jan 2013
1,080
Toronto, Canada
2 - Considering this question: Do you think modern day Abrahamic faiths are a cultural evolution of Ancient Egypt cult of the Sun-Disc?


I would argue it's just the opposite - the cult of the Aten was an Egyptianized version of contemporary Judaism.

Akhenaten's reign overlapped with the Hebrews' captivity in Egypt if you believe the story of the Exodus. I think Akhenaten got the idea for the Great Hymn of the Aten by listening to the prayers of the palace slaves.
 

Kookaburra Jack

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,961
Rural Australia
The key term in the OP probably reduces to [the history of] monotheism. Atenism is seen as one of the first monotheisms.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism]Monotheism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

Monotheism characterizes the traditions of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atenism"]Atenism[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babism"]Babism[/ame], the Bahá'í Faith, [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cao_Dai"]Cao Dai (Caodaiism)[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheondoism"]Cheondoism (Cheondogyo)[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity"]Christianity[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism"]Deism[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckankar"]Eckankar[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam"]Islam[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism"]Judaism[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rastafari"]Rastafari[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravidassia_religion"]Ravidassia religion[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seicho_no_Ie"]Seicho no Ie[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaivism"]Shaivism[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikhism"]Sikhism[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenrikyo"]Tenrikyo (Tenriism)[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaishnavism"]Vaishnavism[/ame], and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism"]Zoroastrianism[/ame] and elements of the belief are discernible in numerous other religions.​
 
Jan 2014
1,773
Portugal
Thank you for all the answers.
Interesting thinking about the reverse: Judaism (allow me to use the term: "Proto-Judaism") influence on Akhenaten. I will make further searches.
 

Mike McClure

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
6,231
Indiana
The first question seems to be did Akhenaten influence the Jews or did the Jews influence Akhenaten?
 

abram

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
2,181
oklahoma
I would argue it's just the opposite - the cult of the Aten was an Egyptianized version of contemporary Judaism.

Akhenaten's reign overlapped with the Hebrews' captivity in Egypt if you believe the story of the Exodus. I think Akhenaten got the idea for the Great Hymn of the Aten by listening to the prayers of the palace slaves.
Problems:
(1) There is little reason to believe the story of the Exodus;
(2) Even if we did, we don't know when it occurred, or whose reign it overlapped;
(3) If the Hebrews were in "bondage" in Egypt, there is no indication they were palace slaves; it is more likely they were corvee laborers on various building projects.
So is it helpful to believe a purely speculative theory about the origins of monotheism. We do have evidence that Akhenaten instituted it, and no evidence that anybody else gave him the idea. Why not give him the credit?

But Exodus and Moses might make good topics for another thread. Thanks
 
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Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,979
Yötebory Sveriya
Akhenaten's monotheistic conversion was largely political. That is he wanted to strengthen the office of the Pharaoh and weaken the office of the Egyptian priests of other Gods, particularly Amon.