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Book: Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion

Chapter: 28. What Is a “God” Actually?: Some Comparative Reflections

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.28126


Though an essential feature of religions, the nature of ‘gods’ has not been a regular topic of systematic elaboration in comparative studies of religion. The contribution will address questions such as: what do ‘culturally postulated superhuman agents’ do when they are perceived as gods? (The answer will focus on agency, reception of worship and ontological status.) Do all such agents qualify as ‘gods’? Are monotheistic gods gods in the same way as polytheistic gods? Do all societies have gods?

Chapter Contributors

  • Einar Thomassen ( - ethomassen) 'University of Bergen'