The concept of monotheism has deep roots in Western Civilization, reaching as far back in time as the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt, well before the formation of the ancient state of Israel or the advent of Christianity. There, an odd-looking, nontraditional and ultimately unfathomable pharaoh named Akhenaten imposed on his people a belief-system centering around a single deity, the Aten or sun-disk. Famous also for his capital city Akhetaten (modern el-Amarna) and his strikingly beautiful wife Nefertiti, Akhenaten's revolution in religion was short-lived, and the extent of its influence even within Egypt is hard to gauge, though it seems slight. Nevertheless, it's possible that Aten worship inspired or in some way sparked the development of monotheism later among the ancient Israelite's.
Mark L. Damen
Professor of History and Classics
Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-0710
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