Book: Dictionary Of Gods And Goddesses by Michael JordanIn compiling a book like Encyclopedia of Gods, one is struck both by the enormous number and variety of deities that occur in different religions around the world, and also by the way patterns repeat themselves—almost every culture has its creator gods, gods concerned with a locally important aspect of the weather, goddesses of fertility, gods whose duty it is to protect the home. The same mysteries have puzzled people on every continent, the same fears have beset them and they have all attempted to explain the mysteries and allay the fears in the same way—through the worship of gods.
It is explained in the introduction to this volume that no database of deities worldwide can ever hope to be comprehensive. There are just too many regional variations amongst the larger religion blocks and, equally, a vast number of very localized cults, each with its own idiosyncratic pantheons of gods and goddesses. The intention of the first edition was to cover all the major theaters of belief as extensively as was feasible at the time, with the primary object of including most of the names of deities that the student was likely to come across while traveling to religious and archaeological sites around the world, or researching in museums and libraries. This meant that much attention was paid to the living polytheistic religions, including Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto. It was also thought constructive to include as many names as possible from Ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Classical Roman and Greek, Norse, Celtic, and Germanic pantheons since, in recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in many of these among “alternative religion” movements.
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