The Bible

Gods and Monsters: Powerful, Emotional Deities in Theogony and Genesis College

Both Hesiod’s epic poem Theogony and the early chapters of Genesis from the Hebrew Bible offer unique creation stories for their respective religions. Though these two religions are vastly different, one being monotheistic and the other polytheistic, their tales of origin each portray gods (or a singular God) as exceedingly holy and formidable yet at times undeniably human-like. These contrasting character traits serve to depict gods that humans can more easily relate to and understand, while still remaining in awe and fear of their limitless power.

In Theogony, Hesiod describes the gods as “deathless,” “sublime,” and “great,” often repeating these phrases throughout the poem for emphasis (Hesiod 37, 38). Zeus is even said to be a “father,” which most would consider to be a position of authority and reverence (Hesiod 38). These descriptions of the gods clearly illustrate the hierarchy that is in place: the immortal gods are ranked far above the mere mortals who reside on Earth. Later in the poem, Hesiod provides hyperbolic-seeming accounts of the gods’ strength and stature, stating that Kottos, Briareos, and Gyges, the sons of Gaia and Ouranos, have “a hundred invincible arms” and “fifty heads” (Hesiod 40). He goes on to say...

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