Religion Past and Present

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(582 words)

[German Version]

The term “apotheosis” (ἀποθέωσις/apothéōsis) is a coinage of the Hellenistic period. Important individuals like Alexander the Great were said to have been elevated to divine status (Polybius). Apotheosis belongs to the extensive semantic field that associates deities with human beings (Gen 6:1–4). Divine kingship, the Egyptian pharaoh, and the Greek hero cult are the closest analogies. The beginnings of apotheosis in the narrow sense appear in the 6th and 5th centuries bce. The heroization of Greek figures like Homer and Hesiod developed into the dei…

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Dormeyer, Detlev, “Apotheosis”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 08 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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