Psalm 104 & The Great Hymn to the Aten Similarities


Hi all, I hope you are well.

Recently I’ve saw online people spouting that there is a great similarity between Psalm 104 and the Great Hymn to the Aten, in an attempt to dismantle our faith I assume. I was curious if anyone had knowledge on this they could share to enlighten me on this subject? Thank you and God bless. :slight_smile:

These are some parallels highlighted by Knight and Levine, in their book. ‘The Meaning of the Bible’:

"O Sole God beside whom there is none! – to Aten
O YHWH my God you are very great. – to YHWH

How many are your deeds … You made the earth as you wished, you alone, All peoples, herds, and flocks. – to Aten
O YHWH, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. to YHWH

When you set in western lightland, Earth is in darkness as if in death – to Aten
You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out. – to YHWH

Every lion comes from its den – to Aten
The young lions roar for their prey … when the sun rises, they withdraw, and lie down in their dens. – to YHWH

When you have dawned they live, When you set they die; – to Aten
When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die – to YHWH

You set every man in his place, You supply their needs; Everyone has his food. – to Aten
These all look to you to give them their food in due season. – to YHWH

The entire land sets out to work – to Aten People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening – to YHWH

The fish in the river dart before you, Your rays are in the midst of the sea. – to Aten
Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there – to YHWH

Birds fly from their nests, Their wings greeting your ka – to Aten
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches – to YHWH

He makes waves on the mountain like the sea, To drench their fields and their towns. – to Aten
You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills … The trees of YHWH are watered abundantly – to YHWH"


I would be more surprised if Catholicism had no similarity whatsoever to other religions. After all, it is supposed to contain the fullness of truth, which other religions can only have some glimpses of (Not sure where I heard this). Of course I would defer to others with more knowledge on this :slight_smile:

Just some thoughts on the subject :slight_smile:


Eh, it’s to be expected that among similar cultures, close in geography and culture and time, you’ll find cultural similarity.

I don’t think this would prove anything damaging to the Faith. Minimally, it’s coincidence; naming all the things in the earth praising the Creator, thanking Him for food, etc. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from a hymn of praise, whether Christian or Jewish or Islamic or Atenist. Maximally, it’s possible that the Jews came in contact with the great hymn and wanted to put it to their own use- note that the original talks about the sun itself being great, and Psalm 104 emphasizes God’s sovereignty over all, including the sun. Sort of a polemic or repurposing.

I’d lean toward the minimalist side, but the maximalist doesn’t really impact the faith, either. There’s material elsewhere in the Bible that appears to draw thematically from anti-Egyptian or anti-Canaanite mythological polemics, that is, showing that the gods of Egypt and the Baals are inferior to YHWH. No big deal if this is another of those.


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