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Sigmund Freud was the most prominent proponent of the idea that Akhenaten’s monotheism was the root of western monotheism. He argued that following Akhenaten’s death, his religion was carried on by a lone Egyptian priest named Moses who led an oppressed Semitic tribe out of Egypt and taught them to worship his god.

While it is now widely agreed that Akhenaten’s monotheism had no specific connection to the development of Israelites’ monotheism, it was the first major expression of a religious concept that would be of world-historical significance.

Statue of Akhenaten holding an offering table, XVIII dynasty, late period. (Egyptian Museum)

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