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Sillman, L.R. (1949). Monotheism and the Sense of Reality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:124-132.

(1949). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 30:124-132

Monotheism and the Sense of Reality

Leonard R. Sillman, M.D.

One of the most striking phenomena in history has been the rise and spread of monotheistic cults since the fall of classical civilization. For almost two thousand years after its adoption by the Jews to the decline of the Roman Empire (circa 1400 B.C.—A.D. 300), the idea of a single abstract God held no general appeal for humanity except for the politically insignificant peoples of Israel. Then there would seem to have developed an urge for some concept of a single God, for within a period of seven hundred years, or from the conversion of Constantine to approximately A.D. 1000, monotheism spread all over Europe, North Africa and the Near East in Christian and Mohammedan forms. At present it is the religious faith of half the peoples of the world and of the politically and culturally advanced societies of Europe and the Americas.

When one considers the vast multitude of religions which the fertile imagination of man has created, one cannot help but wonder why this triumph should have occurred. In this as in so many later discoveries and changes in belief, a premonition of coming events may be found amid the Greeks. Gilbert Murray (11) points out: 'It is curious how near to monotheism, and to monotheism of a very profound and impersonal type, the real religion of Greece came in the sixth and fifth centuries. Many of the philosophers, Xenophanes, Parmenides, and others, asserted it clearly or assumed it without hesitation. Aeschylus, Euripides, Plato, in their deeper moments point the same road.

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