Podcast episode

Episode 145: Thinking through Monotheism, Henotheism, Polytheism, and Dualism in Late Antiquity

[Another SHWEP field-recording. Special thanks to traffic in Viroqua, Wisconsin, for accompaniment.]

In the last of our somewhat-abstract, concept-riddled wide-angle approaches to late antiquity at the end of the third century CE, we discuss some of the more important -theisms of the era: mono-, heno-, and poly-, with a special bonus section looking at dualism in religion in theory and practice.

Works Cited in this Episode:


  • The Hermetic Asclepius: Ascl. 24.
  • Celsus: ap. Origen, Cels. V 41.
  • Maximus of Madauros: Augustinus, Ep. 16, 1 (we cite the translation of J. H. Baxter).


  • Polymnia Athanassiadi and Michael Frede, editors. Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1999.
  • Jason D. BeDuhn. Augustine’s Manichaean Dilemma, Volume 1: Conversion and Apostasy, 373-388 CE. Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religions. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2012.
  • Idem. Augustine’s Manichaean Dilemma, Volume 2: Making a ”Catholic” Self, 388-401 CE. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2013.
  • Garth Fowden. From Empire to Commonwealth: The Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1993 [we cite p. 5].
  • The Louvin Brothers.  Satan is Real. Capitol 1959 [we cite the title track].
  • Stephen Mitchell and Peter van Nuffelen, editors. One God: Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010.



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