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Introduction to the History of Religions

Handbooks on the History of Religions, Volume IV

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Published: 1914
Language: English
Wordcount: 244,611 / 798 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 51.6
LoC Category: BL
Downloads: 999
Added to site: 2009.01.19 23177
Genre: Religion

The object of this volume is to describe the principal customs and ideas that underlie all public religion; the details are selected from a large mass of material, which is increasing in bulk year by year. References to the higher religions are introduced for the purpose of illustrating lines of progress.

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solidarity with objects regarded as Powers, and the institution of social relations with them.

+2+. These Powers are thought of in general as mysterious, and as mightier than ordinary living men.[2] Ordinarily the feeling toward them on man's part is one of dependence--he is conscious of his inferiority. In some forms of philosophic thought the man regards himself as part of the one universal personal Power, or as part of the impersonal Whole, and his attitude toward the Power or the Whole is like that of a member of a composite political body toward the whole body; such a position is possible, however, only in a period of very advanced culture.

+3+. There being no records of initial humanity, it is hardly possible for us to know certainly what the earliest men's feeling was toward the animate and inanimate forces around them. Not improbably it was simply fear, the result of ignorance of their nature and absence of social relations with them. But in the human communities known to us, even the lowest, the relations with extrahuman beings appear to be in general of a mixed nature, sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly, but neither pure love nor pure hatred. So refined a feeling as love for a deity is not found among savages. As religion springs from the human demand for safety and happiness as the gift of the extrahuman Powers, hostility to them has been generally felt to be opposed to common sense.[3] Coercion there has been, as in magical procedures, or to bring a stubborn deity to terms; and occasional antagonism (for example, toward foreign gods); but not hatred proper as a dogma, except in the great eth



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