The term properly implies a clear polytheistic conception of gods in contrast with men, while it recognizes that some men cross the dividing line.
It is now more usually given to polytheistic races, thus excluding Mahommedans.
It presents itself historically as an intellectual revolt against the difficulties involved in the presupposition of theistic and polytheistic systems, and in philosophy as an attempt to solve the dualism of the one and the many, unity and difference, thought and extension.
Whilst at times a truly monotheistic fervour manifests itself in the adoration of these two gods, the polytheistic instincts of the people did not fail to extend the pantheon by groups of new deities in connexion with them.
He assumes that the narrative was meant ethically, not physically, in order to eliminate false and polytheistic notions; and he draws attention to that double narrative in Genesis which was elsewhere to be so fruitfully handled.