1902 Encyclopedia > Religions


RELIGIONS. Religions, by which are meant the modes of divine worship proper to different tribes, nations, or communities, and based on the belief held in common by the members of them severally, were not before the present century the subject of original scientific research and comparative study. With the exception of a few good books containing useful information on some ancient religions and on the religious customs of uncivilized nations, nothing written on this subject in former centuries can be said to possess any scientific value. It is not that the old books are antiquated, as all works of learning must become with the lapse of time; they were worth nothing even when published. There were huge collections, containing descriptions of all the religions in the world, so far as they were known, laboriously compiled, but without any critical acumen, and without the least suspicion that unbiblical religions are not mere curiosities. There was a philosophy of religion, but it was all but purely speculative, and it could not be otherwise, as then it had scanty means to work with, and was obliged to draw the facts it required from very troubled and insufficient sources. Attempts were made to explain the mythologies of the Greeks and the Romans, and even of some Oriental nations, but for the same reason they could not but fail. Then there was the theological bias, which caused all religions except one to be regarded as utterly false; the philosophical bias, which caused all religions, except the arbitrary abstraction then called natural religion, to be descried as mere superstitions, invented by shrewd priests and tyrants for selfish ends; and, finally, the total lack of a sound method in historical investigation, which was one of the prominent characteristics of the 18th century. It was only after the brilliant discovery which marked the end of that century and the first half of this and after the not less brilliant researches to which they gave rise, after the sacred writings of the Chinese, the Indians, the Persians, and some other ancient nations could be studied in the original; after the finding of the key to the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform writing had lifted the veil which for many centuries had covered the history of these most ancient civilization—it was then only that a history of religion could be thought of and that something like a science of religion could be aimed at, if not yet founded.

The comparative historical study of religions is one of the means indispensable to the solution of the difficult problem What is religion?—the other being a psychological study of man. It is one of the pillars on which not a merely speculative and fantastic, and therefore worthless, but a sound scientific philosophy of religion should rest. Still, like every department of study, it has its aim in itself. This aim is not to satisfy a vain curiosity, but to understand and explain one of the mightiest motors in the history of mankind, which formed as well as tore asunder nations, united as well as divided empires, which sanctioned the most atrocious and barbarous deeds, the most cruel and libidinous customs, and inspired the most admirable acts of heroism, self-renunciation, and devotion, which occasioned the most sanguinary wars, rebellions, and persecutions, as well as brought about the freedom, happiness, and peace of nations—at once time a partisan of tyranny, at another breaking its chains, now calling into existence and fostering a new and brilliant civilization, then the deadly foe to progress, science, and art.

Religions, like living organisms, have a history, and therefore this is to be studied first, so far as it can be known,—how they rise and spread, grow and fade away; how far they are the creations of individuals genius, and how far of the genius of nations and communities; by what laws, if it is possible to discover them, their development is ruled; what are their relations to philosophy, science, and art, to the state, to society, and above all to ethics; what is their mutual historical relation, that is, if one of them sprang from another, or if a whole group are to be derived from a common parent, of if they only borrowed from one another and were subject to one another’s influence; lastly, what place is to be assigned to each of those groups or single religions in the universal history of religion. The first result of this historical inquiry must be an attempt at a genealogical classification of religions, in which they are grouped after their proved or probable descent and affinity.

However, like every genuine scientific study, historical investigations, if they are to bear fruit, must be comparative. Not only has every religion as a whole, and every religious group, to be compared with others, that we may know in what particular qualities it agreed with or differs from them, and that we may determine its special characteristics, but, before this can be done, comparative study on a much larger scale must precede. Every religion has two prominent constituent elements, the one theological, the other practical—religious ideas and religious acts. The ideas may be vague conceptions, concrete myths, precise dogmas, either handed over by tradition on recorded in sacred books, combined or not into systems of mythology and dogmatics, summarized or not in a creed or symbol, but there is no living religion without something like a doctrine. On the other hand, a doctrine, however elaborate, doe not constitute a religion. Scarcely less than by its leading ideas a religion is characterized by its rites and institutions, including in the higher phases of development moral precepts, in the highest phases ethical principles. It happens but very seldom, if ever, that those two elements balance each other. In different religions they are commonly found in very different proportions, some faiths being pre-eminently doctrinal or dogmatic, other pre-eminently ritualistic or ethical; but where one of them is wanting entirely religion no longer exists. Not that dogma and ritual are religions; they are only its necessary manifestations, the embodiment of what must be considered as its very life and essence, of that which as an inner conviction must be distinguished from a doctrine or creed—a belief. But we cannot get a knowledge of the belief which lies at the base of a particular doctrine and which prompts peculiar rites and acts, without studying the mythical and dogmatical conceptions and the ritual or ethical institutions in which it takes its shape, and without comparing these with others. This then is the task of what is called comparative theology in its widest sense, of which comparative mythology is only a branch, and in which more space and attention should be given to the hitherto much neglected comparative study of religious worship and of ethics in their relation to religion. It is then only that we can proceed to characterize and mutually compare religions themselves, regarded as a whole, and that we may come to what must be the final result of this historical as well as comparative study, a morphological classification of religions. Here the study of religions reaches its goal , and the task of the philosophy of religion, the other main branch of the so-called science of religion or general theology, begins.

It need scarcely be said that the basis of the comparative historical study of religions must be a patient and critical examination of the sources from which the knowledge of the various religions of the world is to be drawn, viz., written documents and traditions, monuments and works of art, sacred writings and heretical books, and when we wish to inquire into the religions of the uncivilized tribes that have no history at all, an impartial weighing of the evidence brought by travelers and settlers from different parts of the globe,—in short an unboassed ascertaining of facts.

Genealogical Classification.—There is no difficulty in determining the descent and relationship of religions which have taken rise in historical times, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, and some others of minor importance. But the great majority of ancient religions had their origin in prehistoric times, of which neither documents nor trustworthy traditions are extant. In that case their mutual relation has to be established by reasoning from the myths, ideas, rites, and characteristics common to them. Professor Max Müller (Lectures on the Science of Religion, pp. 154 sq.) suggests that, whatever classification has been found most useful in the science of language ought to prove equally useful in the science of religion. Now it may be true in general, at least for the most ancient times, that where the languages of a group of nations are proved to belong to one family their religions too most probably "hold together by the same relationship." But this hypothesis requires proof, and that proof is not to be obtained otherwise than by the comparative study of the religions themselves. Only when the religion of two independent nations agree in doctrine and made of worship, above all in the notion of the relation between God and man, between the divine and the human, to such a degree and in such a manner that this agreement cannot be accounted for by the universal aspirations and wants of human nature, then only may we fell sure that the one of these religions is the parent of the other, or that both have come from a common stock. If not only two but several religions agree in like manner, or nearly so, we get a family of religions. At present we can go no farther. The mutual relations of the different families cannot be determined yet; the problem is too difficult and too complicated to be solved in the present state of science. That religions belonging to different families have borrowed myths and customs from one another and have been subjected to one another’s influence may easily be proved. But whether the families themselves are branches of one and the same old tree is an open question to which a satisfactory answer cannot be given now.

It would be equally premature to venture on drawing up a complete genealogical table of religions. For some families of religions such a classification may be sketched with tolerable certainty; the genealogy of by far the greater number of them can be given in mere outlines only, leaving the fixing of details for further inquiry. We start from what may be held the most certain.

Aryan or Indo-Germanic Family.—Comparative mythology and the history of religion leave doubt that all the religions of the Aryan or Indo-Germanic nations, viz., Eastern Aryans (or Indians, Persians, and Phrygians) and Western Aryans (or Greeks, Romans, Germans, Norsemen, Letto-Slavs, and Celts), are the common offspring of one primitive OLD-ARYAN [359-1] religion. That the same name of the highest heaven-god, Dyaus, Zeus, Ju(piter), Zio (Ty), is met with among Indians, Greeks, Italiotes, Germans, and Norsemen, however great the difference of the attributes and dignity ascribed by each of them to the god thus named may be, is a fact now generally known. Where this name has been lost, as is the case with the Persians, the Slavs, and the Celts, there are other divine names which they have in common with their kindred nations. Still more important is the fact that most Aryans show a tendency to call their supreme god "father," as is proved by the very common forms Dyaus pitar, Zeus pater [Gk.], Jupiter, Diespiter, Marspiter, ______ [Alfothr]. The supreme god in the Avesta, Ahuramazda, is often called father. Moreover many divine names used by different Aryan nations, though varying in form, are derived from the same root,—which proves the original unity of their conception. Take as examples the root di (dic), "to shine," and its derivatives Dyaus, Deva, and their family, Diti, Aditi, Dione, Pandion, Dionysos, Diovis, Dianus (Janus), Diana Juno; or the root man, "to think" (perhaps equally signifying originally "to shine"), and its derivatives Manu, Minos, Minerva, (Juno) Moneta); or the roots sur (svar), sar, mar, vas. Especially startling is the use of the same general word for "god" among several Aryan nations, viz., Skr. deva, Iran. daeva, Lat. deus, Litth, dewas (deiwys), Old Norse tivar (plur.), to which belong perhaps also Greek theos [Gk.], Irish dia, Cymr. dew. Daeva and deiwys are used in a bad sense, but this cannot be original. So too the word asura (ahura), which, though it too was used by the Indians in relatively modern times in a bad sense, was the name which the East-Aryans gave to their highest gods, and the Norse asa, pl. aesir (orig. ans), are both to be derived from the root as, anh. If we add to this the remarkable conformity of the myths and customs in all Aryan religions,—if above all, by comparing them with those of other races, especially of the Semites, we find that the leading idea embodied in these Aryan myths and rites is everywhere the same, however different the peculiar character of each religion may be, namely, the close relation between God and man, the real unity between the divine and the human economy, [359-2] so that we may call them the "theanthropic" religions,—if we remember this, there can be no doubt that all of them have sprung from one primitive OLD-ARYAN religion.

However, the degree in which the Aryan religions are mutually related is not always the same. None of them came directly from the OLD-ARYAN religion. They consist of five pairs, each of which must have been first a unity:— the Indo-Persian, the Graeco-Roman, the Letto-Slavic, the Norse-Teutonic, and the Gaelo-Cymric. The fact that the members of those pairs are more closely allied with one another than with the other members of the family obliges us to assume five prehistoric Aryan religions:—the OLD EAST-ARYAN, the OLD PELASGIC, [359-3] the OLD WINDIC, the OLD GERMAN, and the OLD CELTIC religions, forming so many links between those historical religions and the common parent of all,—the primeval ARYAN worship.

Space forbids us to give the complete proof of this conclusion. We only mention that the Indian and Iranian religions have many gods in common, unknown to the Western Aryans, and therefore probably such as arose after the eastern and western branch of the family has separated, e.g., Mitra—Mithra, Aryaman—Airyaman, Bhaga—Bagha—Baga (comp. also Aramati—Armaiti, Sarasvatî—Hera-Qaiti, 7c.), and that the Soma—Haoma sacrifice, equally unknown in Europe, at last in that form, was the principal sacrifice as well in India as in Irân. The close relation of the Teutonic and Norse religions, and of the mythology and rites of the Greeks and Romans, even if we carefully except all that the latter took from the former in historical times, is sufficiently proved. It is not so evident, but still highly probable, that the religions of the north-western and south-eastern Celts, though differing from one another in historical times, are daughters of one ancient CELTIC religion. When we presuppose such a common parent, an ancient WINDIC religion, for the Letto-Slavic religions, we do so by way of an hypothesis based on the analogy with the other branches of the family. What we know about these and about the Celtic forms of worship is so defective that we cannot speak more positively. As for the Phrygian religion, it seems to belong to the Iranian stock, and to form the transition from the Persian to the Greek or Pelasgic worship.

There may have been some other intermediate stages, besides those which we have been compelled by the facts to assume, between the historical Aryan religions and the prehistoric OLD-ARYAN. Thus, e.g., the Vedic religion as well as the Zarathustric cannot be considered as having sprung directly for the EAST-ARYAN. The Rig-Veda appears to be far less primitive than has been generally thought until now. It contains ancient elements, but it is itself the product or relatively modern speculations, and belongs to a period in which a complicated and mystical sacrificial theory was upheld by priest of various functions and ranks. On the other hand it cannot be denied that the Zarathuastric dogmas are pure old Aryan myths in a new shape—this is what M. Jas Darmesteter has proved—but it was doubtless a reformer, or, if Zarathustra was no historical person, a body of reformers, who called the Zarathustric religion into existence. Therefore, between the Vedic and Zarathustric religions and their common ancestor the EAST-ARYAN, there must have exited an OLD INDIAN and an OLD-IRANIAN religion.

This may suffice to justify the genealogical table of the Aryan religion given on last page [that is, above on this webpage - 1902 Encyclopedia Ed.].

Genealogical Table of Semitic Religions image

Semitic Religions.—Though there is so much wanting in our knowledge of the Semitic religions, especially as regards those of the pre-Christian Aramaeans, of the pre-Islamic Arabs, and of the old Hebrews, all we know about them tends to prove that they too must have descended from a common source. When we find that the same divinities were worshipped by several North-Semitic nations it might be contended that they were borrowed from one of them, as trade and conquest and brought them from ancient times into close contact with one another. But no such relation existed till the very last centuries of the Assyrian empire between the Northern Semites and the various tribes of the Arabian desert. Therefore gods and religious ideas and customs prevailing alike among the northern and the southern or Arabic branch of the race may be safely regarded as the primeval property of the whole family. Such are the general name for the godhead, Ilu, Êl, Ilâh (in Allah), and the gods Serakh or Sherag (Serachos [Gk.], Assyr., Arab., Cypr.), Keivan (Kaivanu, Babyl., Assyr., Arab., ef. Amos v. 26), Al-Lât, the moon-goddess (Babyl., Assyr., Arab.), as one of three different forms, of which another, the Al-‘Uzza of the Arabs, is met with as ‘Uza or ‘Aza in Phoenician inscription, while the corresponding male god Azîz is found aming the Aramaeans, and the third, Manât, corresponds to Meni, the "minor Fortune," the planet Venus of the Hebrews, perhaps also with the Babylonian Manu. The myth of the dying and reviving Thammuz, Dumuzi, common to all Northern Semites, seems not to have been current among the ancient Arabs, though some scholars (Krehl, Lenormant) think there are traces of it left in their traditions and rites. Tree worship and stone worship have been pretty general in prehistoric times, and not a few remains of both have survived in all ancient faiths and modern superstitions; but the latter was particularly developed among both Northern and Southern Semites, which is proved by the use of Betyles Religions-clip-v20-p361 , by the black stone in the Ka’ba. The stone at Bethel, that in the temple of the great goddess of Cyprus at Paphos, at Edessa, and elsewhere, by the seven black stones representing the planet-gods at Erech (Uruk) in Chaldaea, &c. Holy mountains too are very frequent among the Semites, alike in Arabia 9Kaci, Dhu-I-shera, Horeb, Sinai—the two last-named still worshipped by the Saracens in the 6th century of our era) and in Canaan (Hermon, Tabor, comp. the Tabyrios and Zeus Atabyrios in Cyprus, Karmél, Peniél, Sion, Moniah, i.e., Gerîzim), in Syria (Lebanon, Anti-Libanus, Amanus; comp. the istirát, the heights of modern Syria), and in Mesopotamia, where the zigurrats or terrace towers represent the holy mountains as the abodes of the gods. Finally, all Semitic religions without a single exception understand the relation between God and man as one between the supreme lord and king (Êl the mighty, Ba’al, Bel, Adon, Malik, Sar) and his subject or slave (‘Abd. ‘Ohed, Bod), his client or protected one (Jär, Ger). They are eminently theocratic, and show a marked tendency to monotheism, which, both in Israel and in Arabia, is the last word of their religion development.

It is not so easy to determine the grade of relationship between the different Semitic religions as it is to show that they all descend from a common parent. Moreover the question is complicated by another problem—Whether the Babylonians and Assyrians borrowed the greater part of their religious conceptions and institutions from a foreign, non Semitic people, the primitive inhabitants of their country, and if this be the case what they been have of their own and what is due to the influence of that ancient civilization. Whatever may be the final solution of this question, we shall not go far wrong if we distinguish the Semitic religions into two principal groups—the one comprising the southern or Arabic with perhaps the most ancient Hebrew, the other all the Northern Semitic religions from the Tigris to the Mediterranean,—leaving it undecided whether the undeniable relationship between the north-eastern and the north-western Semitic religions be that of parent and children or that of sisters—in other words, whether it be due the influence of the superior culture of the former or to the fact that they all have radiated from a common centre. This only is beyond doubt, that the Assyrian religion is a daughter of the Babylonian, and that the Canaanitic and Phoenician modes of worship are closely allied.

Genealogical Table of Semitic Religions (image)

What we give on last page [that is, just above on this webpage -- 1902 Encyclopedia Ed.] is no more than a rough genealogical table of the Semitic religions.

A details and accurate genealogical classification of the religions which do not belong to either of those two principal families is out of the question. Their mutual relation can be fixed only in a general way.

African Religions.—The first problem to be solved is the classification of the Egyptian religion. It is neither Semitic and theocratic nor Aryan and theanthropic. But it has many elements that belong to the former, and also a few elements that belong to the latter category, which might lead to the supposition that it represents a stage in the development of the great Mediterranean, commonly called the Caucasian, race, anterior to the separation of the Aryan family from the Semitic. But this is no more than a supposition, as the existence of such a Mediterranean race, embracing the so-called Hamites, Semites, and Japhetites or Aryans, is itself a pure hypothesis. All we know is that the Egyptians themselves mention a people called Punt (the Phut of the Bible), with whom they had commercial relations and whose religion was akin to their own, so much so that they called the country of Punt, on the western Arabian and on the opposite African coast, the Holy Land (ta neter). The same may be said of the Cushites, the southern neighbours of Egypt, the ancient pre-Semitic Ethipiansl and a pre-Semitic population also may have lived in Canaan, allied to the Egyptians and ethnologically or genealogically combined with them, with Cush, and with Phut in the tenth chapter of Genesis. But, as we know next to nothing about their religions, a Hamitic family of religions, including these four, is still purely hypothetical.

That the primitive religion of southern Mesapotamia, commonly called Accadian or Sumerian, was related to the Egyptian, is also a mere conjecture, which does not seem to be favoured by the newly discovered facts. Finally, the scanty remains of the pre-Islamic religion of the Imoshagh or Berbers, the ancestors of the Libyans (in Egyptian Ribu), the Gaetulians, the Mauretanians, and the Numidians resemble in some degree Egyptian customs and notions; but whether they point to genealogical relationship or are due to early Egyptian influence, it is hard to say.

This, however, cannot be denied, that there are to be found in the Egyptian religion a great many magical rites and animistic customs, closely resembling those which prevail throughout the whole African continent. If then, as is generally supposed, [362-1] the dominant race sprang from Asiatic settlers and conquerors, who long before the dawn of history invaded the country, subjugated the dark-coloured inhabitants, and mixed with them, and if it is to these foreigners that the more elevated elements in the Egyptian religion are due, the basis of this religion is of a purely Nigritian character.

Ali we can say about the other original religions of the dark continent is that they resemble one another in many respects. We may distinguish four principal groups:—(1) the Cushite, inhabiting the north-eastern coast region south of Egypt; (2) the Nigritian proper, including all the Negro tribes of inner Africa and the west coast; (3) the Bantu or Kaffrarian (Kafir); and (4) the Khoi-Khoin or Hottentot, including the Bushmen, in South Africa. Before we can come to decision with regard to the first-named group, we must receive better and more certain information than we now possess. The prominent characteristic of the second group of religions, those of the Negroes proper, is their unlimited fetichism, combined that of serpents, with a strong belief in sorcery and with the most abject superstitions, which even Islâm and Christianity are not able to overcome. They have next to no mythology, at all events a very poor one, which may be one of the causes of what is called euphemistically their tendency to monotheism. A theistic tendency, as Dr Tylor calls it, cannot be denied to them. Almost all tribes believed in some supreme god, without always worshipping him, generally a heaven-and rain-god, sometimes, as among the Cameroons and in dahomey, a sun-god. But the most widely spread worship among negroes and Negroids, from west to north-east and south to Loango, is that of the moon, combined with a great veneration for the cow.

Among the Abantu or Kaffrarians (Ama-Khosa, Ama-Zulu, Be-Chuana, Ova-Herero), which form the third group, fetichism is not so exuberant. Their religion is rather a religion of spirits. The spirits they worship, not sharply distinguished from the souls of the departed ancestors (Imi-shologu, Barimi), are conjured up by a caste of sorcerer and magicians, Isintonga (Isinyanga, Nyaka), and are all subordinate to a ruling spirit, regarded as the ancestor of the race, the highest lawgiver who taught them their religious rites, but who seems to have been originally a moon-god as the lord of heaven. The four tribes give him different names—the Ghost (Mukuro), the very High (Mo-limo), the Great-great (Unkulunkulu) or grandfather; but that the Bantu religions are four branches of one and the same faith cannot be doubted. They agree in many respects with those of the Negroes, but differ from them in others, especially in the cardinal characteristic of the latter, their fetichism. Possibly the difference is for the greater part due to the influence of the Hottentots, to whom the country now inhabited by the Abantu formerly belonged, and who seem to have been at the time of the invasion more civilized than the latter.

The Khoi-Khoin or Hottentots, who are not black but brown, and who now live in and near the Cape Colony, also have a supreme deity, called Tsui- or Tsuni-Koan (the wounded knee) by the colonial Hottentots, Heitsi-eibib (wooden face) by the Namaqua. He, too, like the highest god of the Bantu, is the ancestor of the race and the chief of souls and spirits. But the primitive myth current about him shows that he was originally a moon-god, contending with the spirit of darkness. The altars intended for sacrifices to this god are now called his graves, and the Bantu, who do not use them, call them chief’s graves. The great difference between the religions of the Khoi-Khoin and the other Nigritians is the total absence of animal worship and of fetichism by which it is characterized. Even sorcery and magic are still very primitive among them. Therefore they must be considered as a distinct family among the African tribes, only allied to the so-called Bushmen (Ba-tua, Ba-roa, or Soaqua, Sonqua), who seem to be a degraded race, sunk to the lowest degree of savagery, but who likewise worship a highest god and by whom likewise fetichism is not practised.

The Chinese Religions, and their Relation to the Mongolic and Ural-Altaic.—This is perhaps the most knotty point in the genealogical classification of religions. There are ethnologists (as Oscar Peschel) who bring not only the Chinese, with their nearest relatives the Japanese and Coreans,—all Ural-Altaic or Turanian nations,—but also the whole Malay race, including the Polynesians and Micronesians, and even the aboriginal Americans, from the Eskimo to the Patagonians and Fuegians, under one and the same vast Mongoloid family. There is indeed some similarity in the religious customs of the Americans and of the so-called Turanians; and even in the Polynesian religions some points of contact with those of the former might be discovered. Still, such conformities are but few and not very important, and do not justify our going so far. [363-1] Other ethnologists, like Friedrich Müller, do not admit the Americans, including the Hyperboreans of North America and the north-west of Asia nor the Malayans and the Polynesians as members of the Mongolian race. This, according to them, only comprises the Chinese and their relative in Tibet and the Transgangetic peninsula, the Japanese and Coreans, and the Ural-Altaic or Turanian nations. Now Prof. Max Müller [363-2] tries to show that the religions of all those groups of nations—let us say, of this Mongolian race—are also bound together by a close relationship, because not only their character is fundamentally the same, but even the same name of the highest god, Tien, Tengre, Tangara, &c., is met with among most of them. Putting aside the argument taken from the common name of the supreme deity, which is all but general among the members of this ethnical family and seems to have come from the Chinese to some of the Mongolians, [363-3] we cannot deny the fact that not only in the Ural-Altaic and Japanese but also in the highly-developed Chinese religions the relation between the divine powers and man is purely patriarchal. Just as the chief of the horde—nay, even the son of heaven, the Chinese emperor—is regarded as the father of all his subjects, whom they are bound to obey and to venerate, so are the gods to their worshippers. The only difference is that the Chinese heaven-god Tien is an emperor like his earthly representative, ruling over the other spirits of heaven and earth as does the latter over the dukes of the empire and their subjects, while the Ural-Altaic heaven-god is indeed the most powerful being, invoked in the greatest difficulties, when he only is able to save, but no supreme ruler,—not anything more than a primus inter pares, every other god being absolute lord and master in his own domain. Now this difference is not one of character but of progress, and answers fully to the difference of the political institutions of which it is the reflex.

The high veneration for the spirits of the deceased fathers, which are devoutly worshipped among all the members of this religious family, is a necessary consequence of its patriarchal type. But this feature is not less predominant among nations belonging to wholly different races. Another striking characteristic of the Mongolic religions is their extensive magic and sorcery (Shamanism). One might say that ven the gods and the heroes of epic poetry are sorcerers, and that what their worshippers value above all are the magical powers they possess. Shamans are most highly honoured. One of the Chinese religions, and in fact that which contains the most ancient elements, we mean Taoism, involves the most implicit belief in sorcery, and even Buddhism, as it was adopted by the Mongols and the Chinese, has degenerated to all but pure Shamanism.

We are thus fully justified in assuming a Mongolian or patriarchal family or religions, of which the following are the principal subdivisions:—

1. Chinese Religions, being (a) the ANCIENT NATIONAL religion, now superseded partly by (b) Confucianism and (c) Taoism, partly, though only several centuries later, by Chinese Buddhism. What the ancient national religion was can only be gathered from its survivals in the still existing faiths. Confucianism claims to be a restoration of the old and pure institutions of the fathers, though it may just as well be said to be a thorough reform, and Taoism is, according to some European scholars, the original Chinese religion in its latest development—we should say, in its most miserable degradation. At all events, in some form or another, it is much older than Lao-tsze ( 6th century B.C., see LAO-TSZE), though it has availed itself of his mystical treatise Tao-te-King as a sacred book. There may be some truth in both these conflicting assertions. Without venturing to speculate on the origin of the Chinese nationality, which according to some is a mixture of autochthons with more civilized foreign invaders (the Hundred Families), nor on the possibility that this ethnic dualism may be the source of the two streams of religious development in China, we have some grouped to hold Confucius’s reform as the renewal of a much older reform (Chowkung’s or even earlier), limited to the learned and the greater part of the upper classes,—Taoism on the contrary being a revival of the ancient popular Chinese religion, to which the Tao-te-King had to give the appearance of a philosophical basis. Chinese Buddhism does not differ much from the latter, and is now equally despired.

2. Japanese Religions, where we have again the same triad, nearly paralleled to the Chinese: (a) the old national religion Kami-no-madsu (the way, i.e., the worship, of the gods), called frequently Sin-to (Chinese Shin-tao, the way or worship of the spirits), with the Mikado as its spiritual head, just as Chinese Taoism had its popes; (b) Confucianism, imported form China in the 7th century; and (c) Buddhism, imported from Corea and nearly exterminated in the 6th century, but reviving, and at last, in the beginning of the 7th century, triumphant.

3. The
Finnic branch of the Ural-Altaic religions, all recognizing the same heaven-god Num, Yummal, Yubmel, Yumala, as supreme. The primitive unity of this subdivision has been demonstrated by Castrèn, the highest authority upon it. By far the best known of this family are its North-European members, the religions of the Lapps, the Esthonians, and the Finns, but the two last named are not pure specimens of Ural-Altaic worship, as they borrowed much from the Germanic, especially from the Scandinavian, mythology.

It is highly probable that the other branches of the same ethnic family, the Mongolian and the Turkish, and the other members of the same branch, e.g., the Magyars, originally did not differ much from the Finnic in religious ideas and customs. Unfortunately we are here able to judge only by analogy, partly because we are but imperfectly informed, partly because most of these nations have long been converted to Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity. Nor do we know in how far the Tibetans, Burmese, Siamese, and other peoples nearly related to the Chinese had originally a similar worship, as all of them are now faithful Buddhists.

The question whether the religion of the primitive inhabitants of Mesopotamia (Sumêr-Akkad) has any genealogical relation to that of the Chinese and the Ural-Altaic family, as some scholars now try to prove, is not yet ripe for solution.

The Aboriginal Religions of America.—The religions of the Eskimo (Esquimantsic, Ashkimeg, as their Redskin neighbours call them) or Innuyt (i.e., "men," as they call themselves) should be clearly distinguished from those of the other American nations. Though some of their customs and notions resemble those of the latter, there are others, and it would seem the most important, which are of the same character as those prevailing among the Ural-Altaians and Mongols. Now, as they belong ethnically to the Hyperboraean or Arctic nations, who inhabit not only the extreme north of America from east to west, but also the islands between the two continents and besides a part of the east of Siberia, and as these Hyperboraeans are physically akin to the Mongolian race, we might suppose that the American elements in the Eskimo religion have been borrowed, and that it must be considered to have been originally a member of the Ural-Altaic family. Their division of the world of spirits into those of the sea, the fire, the mountains, and the winds, with Torngarsuk (chief of spirits), the heaven-god, as the highest, and their belief in the magical power of their sorcerers, the Angekoks, do not differ from those which characterize the Ural-Altaic religions. At any rate the religion of the Eskimo is the connecting link between the latter and those of the American aborigines.

That all the other religions of North and South America are most closely allied is generally admitted, and is indeed beyond doubt. Several myths, like those of the sun-hero, of the moon-goddess, of the four brothers (the winds), [364-1] are found in their characteristic American form among the most distant tribes of both continents. Some religious customs, scarcely less characteristic, such as the sweating bath, intended to cause a state of ecstasy, the ball-play, a kind of ordeal, the sorcery by means of the rattle, are all but generally practised. Fetichism and idolatry are much less developed among the Americans than among other uncivilized and semi-civilized races, but a marked tendency to gloomy rites and bloody self-torture is common to all.

The American family of religions may be divided into the following principal groups. (1) Those of the Redskins of North America, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, all of whom have in common the worship of the great spirit (Kitche Manitoo, Michabo, Walcon[da], Anduagni, Oki) who is the ghost of heaven, the highest wind-god, to whom all other spirits, even those of the sun and the moon, are subordinate; also the hero myth which has sprung from that belief, and the so-called totemism, i.e., the adoption of a special tutelary genius, usually in animal form, for every individual family. (2) Those of the Aztec race, comprising the Aztecs, Toltecs, and Nahuas, who are spread from Vancouver’s island to Nicaragua. To this branch belongs that strange mixture of more elevated religions ideas and barbarous rites which was the state worship of the Mexican empire, but which for its purer elements was indebted to the conquered race, the Mayas (see MEXICO). (3) Those of the original inhabitants of the Antilles, to whom the Mayas in Yucatan and the Natchez between the Red River and the Mississippi seem to be nearly related. They are one of the most gifted nations of the American race, with an interesting mythology and highly-developed religious ideas, but perhaps weakened by civilization and therefore unable to withstand the more warlike barbarous tribes, by whom, they were finally subjugated. (4) That of the Muycas (Chibchas) in South America. Originally they seem to have had the same worship as the Nicaraguans. At least the Nicaraguan god Fomagazdad, the creator of mankind and the consort of the moon-goddess, acts a part in the principal myth of the Muyscas, under the name of Fomagata. But after the latter had reached a higher stage of civilization they adored the god Bochika as its principal founder, and Fomagata became a dethroned tyrant, while the moon goddess, now an evil deity, tried to spoil the beneficent works of Bochika. There is some likeness between their hierarchical political institutions and those of Peru, but they were never subjected to the power of the Incas, and it is not proved that they borrowed their culture from them. (5) Those of the Quichua, Aymara, and their relatives, which culminated in the sun worship of the Incas in Peru, spread by them throughout all the countries they conquered, and even reformed by some of them to a tolerably pure and elevated theism (not monotheism, as Dr Brinton contends). This most interesting religion ranks highest among all the faiths of the two American continents, those of Central America not excepted. This remarkable progress is not to be derived from the influence of foreign settlers, come from Asia or Europe, but is here, as well as in Central America, the product of natural growth favoured by happy circumstances. (6) Those of the warlike Caribs and Arowaks, extending along the whole of the north coast of South America, who subjugated the peaceful inhabitants of the Antilles to their rule.

The Brazilian aborigines (Tupi-guaranos, Indios mansos), who form a distinct group, an the south-eastern and southern tribes (Abipones, Pampas Indians, Puelches, Patagonians or Tehuelches, Fuegians) have religious notions and customs quite in accordance with the low degree of their civilization. Only the Araucanians, though ethnically the nearest relations of the Fuegians and perhaps of the Pampas Indians, have a somewhat advanced sun worship, but seem to have been influenced by the ascendancy of Peruvian culture.

Lastly we come to the
Malayo-Polynesian family of religions. The primitive ethnic unity of this widely scattered race, which, including the Micronesians and Melanesians, inhabits the islands in the Great Pacific from Easter Island to the Pelew Archipelago, the East Indian Archipelago, and the Malay Peninsula, and to which belong the Hovas of Madagascar, has been established on sufficient evidence. As to their primitive religions unity we cannot be equally positive. The original religions of the Malay archipelago have given place first to Brahmanism and Buddhism, afterwards to Mohammedanism, lastly, though only sporadically, to Christianity. But, so far as we can judge from what has still survived of the aboriginal worship and from what is known of the religious customs of the Malagasy, especially the Hovas, the ancient Malay religions did not differ more from the Polynesian and the Melanesian than do the languages. There is one institution especially which, though in principle and to a certain degree common to all ancient religions, has nowhere acquired that importance and that peculiar development which it ahs grown to in the Polynesian and the Melanesian religions, the institution of the taboo, a kind of interdict laid on objects and persons, by which they are made sacred and inviolable. Now this taboo, which more than anything else characterizes these religions, was equally important in Madagascar before Radama’s reforms, and exists also among the Malays, who call it Pamalu, nay, even among the Australians, who call it Kuinyunda. There are some other customs common to all these nations, as the particular worship of the ghosts of the deceased, some ordeals, &c., but this is of minor importance. The general observance of such a peculiar custom as the taboo by all the peoples belonging to this ethnic family, a custom which rules their whole religion, gives us the right to speak of a Malayo-Polynesian family of religions.

One distinct branch of this family is the Polynesian, which has everywhere the same myths with only local varieties, and the same supreme god Taaroa or Tangaroa. The Micronesian branch is only a subdivision of it. The Melanesian branch differs more widely, but agrees in the main, and the supreme god Ndengei, whether original or borrowed, is evidently the same as Tangaroa. That the Malay branch had its marked subdivisions is very probable; but the settlement of this difficult question must be left to further research. According to ethnologists the Australians and the now extinct Tasmanians do not belong to the Malayo-Polynesian race. But, as their religion shows the same prominent characteristic as the Polynesian, and, moreover, agrees with it in other respects, they must be in some way related.

There are the rough outlines of a genealogical classification of religions. It embraces nearly all of them. Only a few have been purposely left out, such as those of the Dravidas, the Munda tribes, and the Sinhalese in India, partly for want of trustworthy information, partly because it is not yet certain what belongs to them originally and what is due to Hindu influence. At any rate we cannot consider their religions as allied to the Basque or Euscaldunac, of which nothing particular is known, and for obvious reasons the Etrurian. Even if the intricate problem with regard to their language could be solved, the Etrurians borrowed so much from the Greek mythology that it would be next to impossible to state what kind of religion they originally had as their own.

Morphological Classification of Religions.—In his Lectures on the Science of Religion, pp. 123-143, Prof. Max Müller, who ahs done so much to raise the comparative study of religions to the rank of a science, criticizes the most usual modes of classification applied to religions, viz., (1) that into true and false. (2) that into revealed and natural, (3) that into national and individual, (4) that into polytheistic, dualistic, and monotheistic, and dismisses each and all of them as useless and impracticable. In this we cannot but acquiesce in his opinion and hold his judgment as decisive. The only exception we should like to take refers to the classification under (3), which, as we shall presently show, contains more truth than he is disposed to admit. And when he winds up his argument with the assertion that "the only scientific and truly genetic classification of religions is the same as the classification of languages" we must dissent from him. Even the genealogical classification of religions does not always run parallel with that of languages. Prof. Max Müller says that, "particularly in the early history of the human intellect, there exists the most intimate relationship between language, religion, and nationality." This may be generally true; we do not deny it. But the farther history advances the more does religion become independent of both language and nationality. And that the stage of development a religion has attained to—the one thing to be considered for a morphological classification—has nothing to do with the language of its adherents is obvious. Now for a really scientific study of religions such a morphological classification is absolutely necessary, and therefore we are bound by our subject to give our opinion with regard to the truly scientific principle on which it ought to be based.

First let us see what has already been done to this effect by one of the best authorities. Prof. W. D. Whitney, in an interesting articles "On the so-called Science of Religion," declares for the well-known classification of religions into national and individual. To quote his own words. "There is no more marked distinction among religions than the one we are called upon to make between a race religion—which, like a language, is the collective product of the wisdom of a community, the unconscious growth of generations—and a religion proceeding from an individual founder, who, as leading representative of the better insight and feeling of his time (for otherwise he would meet with no success), makes head against formality and superstition, and recalls his fellowmen to sincere and intelligent faith in a new body of doctrines, of specially moral aspect, to which he himself gives shape and coherence. Of this origin are Zoroastrianism, Mohammedanism, Buddhism; and, from the point of view of the general historian of religions, whatever difference of character and authority he may recognize in its founder, Christianity belongs in the same class with the, as being an individual and universal religion, growing out of one that was limited to a race." We hardly think that this reasoning can be unconditionally asserted to. At any rate we must put it in another way. Before the American scholar’s essay was published, it had already been judiciously observed by Prof. Max Müller that, though neither a Brahman, nor a Greek, nor a Roman could name the name of the founder of his religion, we discover even there the influence of individual minds or schools or climates. So he thinks that this classification is useful for certain purposes, but fails as soon as we attempt to apply it in a more scientific spirit. This is partially true. What is the wisdom of a community but the wisdom of its more enlightened members, that is, of individuals? Religions of which the original and history lies in the dark may be called the unconscious growth of generations, but in a figurative sense only. If they have a mythology and in a figurative sense only. If they have a mythology and a ritual of their own, it may be the result of something like natural selection; but every myth meant to explain natural phenomena, every rite meant to still the wrath or to win the favour of the higher powers and accepted as an integral part of their faith and worship, perhaps first by some more advanced members of a tribe or nation or community only, afterwards by all of them, was originally the creation of one single human mind. On the other hand, if founders of higher religions are themselves "the leading representatives of the better insight and feeling of their time," then here too there is insight and feeling of their time" then here too there is only growth; they are at the head of their contemporaries, because the better insight and feeling of the latter culminate in them, and because they are able to lend them a shape which makes the more advanced ideas and sentiments agreeable to the minds and hearts of the many; but they meet with success only when that which they preach lies hidden and lives unspoken in the minds and hearts of their generation. It is clear then, that on both sides of the line of demarcation between the two categories of religions there are individuals at work, and that on both sides there is growth. The only remaining difference is, that on this side there is consciousness, on that side there is not. But this too cannot serve us. Much in the growth of the so-called race religions was unconscious and therefore anonymous and forgotten; much, however, was not so. We know of many changes for better or worse in national religions, either reforms or reactions, made with full consciousness, because intentionally; and we know the names of the kings or tyrants or other individuals who made them. Who knows if the same was not the case when these religions were born—if what now seems to be the collective product of the wisdom of the community was not simply the product of a tyrant’s, a mighty chieftain’s bon plaisir, or of a renowned magician’s influence? Finally, if by "founder of a religion" is meant he whom the professors of that religion revere as a heaven-born messenger of the truth or as the greatest of prophets, or adore as the son of God, the incarnation of the highest,—then what Prof. Whitney says they all did, namely," give shape and coherence to a body of doctrines of specially moral aspect," does not apply to the most of them. The new body of doctrines in its coherence was never shaped by them, but by the leaders of the community to which their preaching gave rise. We call them founders of a new religion, not because they always intended to found one, but because, perhaps involuntarily, they laid the foundations of it in the new and pregnant principles they revealed to the world by their word and life.

Still, whatever we may have to criticize in Prof Whitney’s proposition, there is indeed no more marked distinction among religions than the one he makes between what he calls race religion and religions proceeding from an individual founder, and no other than this should be the basis of a morphological classification. For between those two great categories or orders to one or other of which all known religions belongs and every religion must belong there is a difference not only of degree but of an essential kind, a difference or principle, the one great all-important difference. The principle of the one category is nature, that of the other ethics.

In the nature religions the supreme gods are the mighty powers of nature, be they demons, spirits, or man-like beings, and ever so highly exalted. There are great mutual differences between these religions, though they belong to the same order,—e.g., a great difference between the Finnic Ukko and the Norse ____ [Othin], between, the thunder-god of the Brazilian aborigines and the Vedic Indra or the Olympian Zeus, but it is only a difference of degree; fundamentally they are the same. Nobody denies that one nature religion stands on a much higher level than another. Not only are they either unconsciously and by the drift of public opinion or consciously and intentionally altered, enriched, combined with foreign modes of worship, but in some of them a constant and remarkable progress is also to be noticed. Gods are more and more anthropomorphized, rites humanized. For they are not by any means inaccessible to the influence of moral progress. From an early period moral ideas are combined with religious doctrines, and the old mythology is modified by them. Ethical attributes are ascribed to the gods, especially to the highest. Nay, ethnical as well as intellectual abstractions are personified and worshipped as divine beings. But as a rule this happens only in the most advanced stages of nature worship; and, moreover, there ethical personifications are simply incorporated in the old system, and not only distinguished from the nature gods, but even subordinated to them. If some individuals—philosophers, sages, prophets—have risen to the consciousness that the moral ought to have predominance over the natural, yet nature religion, though strongly mixed with ethical elements, does not recognize this, and those who are called to represent and defend it abhor such independent thinkers and persecute them as dangerous enemies to the faith of the fathers. Nature religions cannot do otherwise, at least if they do not choose to die at once. They can for a long time bear the introduction—let us say, infiltration—of moral, as well as aesthetic, scientific, and philosophical notions into their mythology; they suffer from it, indeed, and this is instinctively felt by the headstrong defenders of the pure old tradition; but they are unable to shut them out, and if they did so they would be left behind and lose their hold on the minds and the hearts of the leading classes among more civilized nations. So they are obliged to let them in, were it only for self-preservation. But the reform must not exceed certain limits. If the ethical elements acquire the upper hand, so that they become the predominating principle, then the old forms break in twain by the too heavy burden of new ideas, and the old rites become obsolete as being useless. If the majority has at last outgrown the traditional worship and mythology—if it comes to the conclusion, which was already the conviction of philosophers, that the old numina are only nomina, Zeus, Hera, Hestia only names for the sky, the aether, the fire, [366-1] to which moral attributed can be ascribed only in a tropical sense—then nature religion inevitably dies of inanition. No political power, no mighty priesthood, no poetry, so mysticism like that of Julian, not even an attempt to imitate the organization and the rites of an ethical religion, can save it any longer form utter decay.

When this culminating point has been reached, the way is prepared for the preaching of an ethical religious doctrine. Ethical religions do not exclude the old naturistic elements altogether, but subordinate them to the ethical principle and lend them something of an ethical tinge, that they may be more in accordance with the now prevailing system. The old nature-gods, at least the most importance among them, survive, and, though first neglected and thrown into the background by the new ideal or abstract divine beings, come again to the front, but only as serving spirits, ministers, angels (angelloi [Gk.], yazatas, &c.), or even saints, as all nature now stands under the control of one supernatural ruler in whom the supremacy of moral law is personified. Now the prominent characteristics of ethical religions are just the reverse of that which characterizes the naturalistic. Nature religions are polydaemonistic or polytheistic; under favourable circumstances they may rise at beats to monolatry. Ethical religions, on the other hand, though not all of them strictly monotheistic or pantheistic, all tend to monotheism and are at last monarchic. In nature religions, though they are not exempt from the control of individuals, and even have in part received from them their particular shape or been reformed by them, the ethical or national aspect prevails over the individual, spontaneous growth over conscious speculation, imagination over reflexion. Ethical religions on the contrary are communities brought together, not by the common belief in national traditions, but by the common belief in a doctrine of salvation, and organized with the aim of maintaining, fostering, propagating, and practicing that doctrine. So they are founded by individuals—founded, not instituted or organized, for that as a rule is done by the generation which follows that of the founder—and not always by one single person, but in some cases by a body of priest or teachers. This fundamental doctrine and the system based on it are considered by the adherents to be a divine revelation, and he who first revealed it, or is thought to have revealed it, is considered as an inspired prophet or a son of God. Nay, even if the primitive teaching had an atheistic tendency, as in the case of Buddhism, it is this real or mythical teacher whom they not only revere, but worship as their supreme deity.

We now come to the subdivisions of each of the two principal categories. And here we cannot silently pass by the classification of the least advanced religions proposed by Prf. Pfleiderer (Religionsphilosophie auf geschichtlicher Grundlage, 2d ed. 1884, vol. ii.), which superseded the complete classification of religions given by him in an earlier work (Die Religion, ihr Wesen und ihre Geschichte). The latter was based on his conception of religion as the fusion of dependence and liberty, but has now been abandoned by the author.

According to Pfleiderer the original religion must have been a kind of indistinct, chaotic naturism, being an adoration of the natural phenomena as living powers; and, as primitive man cannot have had consciousness of his superiority over the animals, nor of his personality and his spiritual nature, he could not conceive these divine powers as personal, or spiritual, or anthropomorphic, but only as living beings.

Then from this primitive naturism sprang:—(1)
anthropomorphic polytheism, which is decidedly an advance on mythopoeic naturism, as it brings the personal gods into relation with the moral life of man, but at the same time has its drawback since it attributes all human passions, faults, and sins to the gods; (2) spiritism (animism), combined with a primitive idolatry, fetichism, each of them not an advance but rather a depravation of religion, caused by the decadence of civilization, which inevitably followed the dispersion and isolation of tribes previously united; (3) henotheism, not the henotheism of Max Müller, or of Hartmann, or of Asmus, but a practical henotheism, i.e., the adoration of one God above others as the specific tribal god or as the lord over a particular people, a national or relative monotheism, like that of the ancient Israelites, the worship of an absolute sovereign who exacts passive obedience. This practical monotheism is totally different from the theoretical monotheism, to which the Aryans, with their monistic speculative idea of the godhead, are much nearer.

Passing by the primitive naturism, which is only a matter of speculation, we are bound to admit the real existence of the other three classes specified by Pfleiderer. Only the order in which they are arranged must be changed. For, if spiritism or animism sprang from a primitive not yet animistic naturism, at the same time with, though under different circumstances from, anthropomorphic polytheism and henotheism, how then shall we explain so many traces and remains of a previous animistic belief in each of the latter religious developments? They too must have gone through an animistic stage. And, on the other hand, some traces even of anthropomorphic mythology are not totally wanting in the animistic religions of uncivilized tribes and barbarous nations,—though, of course, in this mythology manlike beings still stand on the same level as, if not much lower than, those having the shape of animals.

The different stages of religious development have been characterized by C. P. Tiele (Outlines of the History of Religion, § 3) as follows:—(a) period in which animism generally prevailed, still represented by the so-called nature religions (in the narrower sense), or rather by the polydaemonistic magical tribal religions; (b) polytheistic national religions resting on a traditional doctrine; (c) nomistic (or, as Prof. Carlo Puini proposes to call them, nomotheric) religions, or religious communities founded on a law or sacred writing and subduing polytheism more or less completely by pantheism or monotheism; (d) universal or world-religions, which start from principles and maxims. Though in general maintaining this division, at least for practical use, if we wish to draw up a morphological classification of religions, we shall have to modify and to complete it, and to arrange the difference stages under the two principal categories of nature religions and ethical religions.

Nature Religions.—1. To the philosophy of religion we leave the solution of the difficult problem,—What may have been the state of religion before the oldest religion known to us sprang into being, and even before that animistic stage of development which we know only by its survivals in the higher and its ruins in the still existing lower religions? Certain it is that the oldest religions must have contained the germs of all the later growth, and, though perhaps more thoroughly naturistic than the most naturistic now known, must have shown some faint traces at least of awakening moral feeling. Man, we think, in that primitive stages, must have regarded the natural phenomena on which his life and welfare depend as living being, endowed with superhuman magical power; and his imagination, as yet uncontrolled by observation and reasoning, must frequently have given them the shape of frightful animals, monsters, portentous mythical beings, some of which still survive in the later mythologies. Perhaps the best name for this first stage of religious development might bet the "polyzoic" stage.

2. The following naturistic stages are to be classified under three distinct heads:—(a) polydaemonistic magical religions under the influence of animism; (b) purified magical religions, in which animistic ideas still play a prominent part, but which have grown up to a therianthropic polytheism; (c) religions in which the powers of nature are worshipped as manlike though superhuman and semi-ethical beings, or anthropomorphic polytheism.

3. Animism, which exercise a prominent influence on the religions of the first stage (a) mentioned above, is a system by which man, having become conscious of the superiority of the spirit over the body and of its relative independence, tries to account for the phenomena of nature, which he, not having or of mind, is unable to explain otherwise. It is not itself a religion, but a sort of primitive philosophy, which not only controls religion, but rules the whole life of man in the childhood of the world. All things living and moving, or startling him by something strange and extraordinary, and of which he does not know the natural causes, he ascribed to the working of mighty spirits, moving freely through earth and air, and now of their own accord now under compulsion, taking up their abode either temporarily or permanently in some living or some lifeless object. Only the powerful among these spirits, "those on which man feels himself dependent, and before which he stands in awe, acquire the rank of divine beings," and either as invisible or a s embodied spirits become objects of worship (spiritism and fetichism). As the principal characteristic of those religions we have to consider—(1) a confused and indeterminate polydaemonistic mythology, though some spirits, especially those directing heavenly phenomena, are held to be more powerful than the others, and the supreme spirit of heaven in generally the mightiest of all; (2) an implicit belief in the power of magic, which accounts for the high veneration in which sorcerers and fetich-priests are held; (3) the predomination of fear over all other feelings, and the performance of religious acts mostly for selfish ends. For a somewhat more copious exposition of the character and the development of religions under the control of animism we must refer to Outlines of the History of Religion, §§ 7-17, and the works there cited.

4. Purified magical religions (b) are the connecting link between the polydaemonistic magic religions (a) and the anthropomorphic polytheistic (c), and ought to be distinguished from each. The gods, though sometimes represented in a human form, more frequently in that of an animal, are really spiritual beings, embodying themselves in all kinds of things, but principally in animals. Most images of the gods are either human bodies with heads of animals or the bodies of animals with human heads. It is therefore we call these religions therianthropic. The worship of animals is one of the principal characteristics of most of them. In a subsequent stage though surviving sporadically, it is much more restricted. The same may be said of the widespread worship paid to the souls of the departed, which is one of the most important constituent elements of the religions in this stage of development, though it survives in the next stage as well. It is frequently combined, as, e.g., in Egypt, with an elaborate eschatology. Magic and sorcery, though forbidden and even entailing prosecution if exercised by private sorcerer, are still held in high esteem when in the hands of the lawful priests. They are now organized as a traditional ritual and gradually developed into a boundless mysticism. Some of the ancient nature myths have already become legends and supposed primeval history. As might be expected, some of the religions belonging to the therianthropic stage stand nearer to the primitive animisn, whilst others draw very nigh to the anthropomorphic stage; and so it would seem that we ought to make a distinction between such therianthropic religions as belong to federations and such as belong to united empires—let us say, the unorganized and the organized. In the latter there is a strong tendency to monotheism and a kind of theocracy, the king being regarded as the living representative of the supreme deity, both of which characteristics are not so prominent in the former.

5. In the anthropomorphic polytheism of the highest nature religions (c) there are, as in all subsequent stages, many survivals of what was common in the preceding, but so far as this could be done they have been adapted to the new system and disguised under new names or by means of new explanations. We call this polytheism anthropomorphic because the gods are now all of them superhuman but manlike beings, lords over the powers of nature and reigning over its departments, workers of good and of evil. As man like beings they show more ethical tendencies and attributes than those of the previous periods. But, being indeed the old nature gods themselves, only remodeled and humanized, and their myths being originally fantastic and even animistic descriptions of natural phenomena, represented as wars and wooings, quarrels and revelries, robberies and tricks of the giant powers of nature, their mythology is full of disgusting narratives, and they are frequently represented as indulging the lowest passions and performing the most degrading acts. Pious poets and grave philosophers felt shocked by such myths, and either tried to mend them or boldly denied them; but they constituted nevertheless the faith of the majority till the fall of nature religion. Only, though essentially nature myths and still felt to be so, they are now no longer considered as an explanation of ever returning phenomena, but in accordance with the manlike character of the gods, as a kind of divine history, nay, are worked out into what may be called an imposing epics, beginning with the origin of life and ending only with the fall of the present cosmic economy. The gods themselves are no longer represented as animals of trees of stones; these have now become their symbols and attributes, and are only looked upon as being sacred to them. Of the power they possessed, in their old quality of spirits, to assume all shapes at will the myths of their metamorphoses still bear witness, myths now told by elegant poets for the amusement of their readers, but despised by serious philosophers. The real therianthropic beings of the old mythology, monsters like centaurs, harpiers, fauns, satyrs, and others which could not be banished from ancient lore, now represent a lower order and are suffered to act only as followers or ministers or even as enemies of the gods. Not one of the religions in then polytheistic stage was able to elevate itself to the purely ethical standpoint; but, as moral consciousness went on increasing, deeper and more ethical religions ideas gathered round the persons of the most human gods, the beloved son or daughter of the supreme deity, and gave rise to purer modes of worship which seemed to be foreboding of a time to come.

Ethical Religions.—1. With regard to the ethical religions the question has been mooted—and a rather puzzling question it is—What right have we to divide them into nomistic or nomothetic communities, founded on a law or Holy Scripture, and universal or world religions, which start from principles and maxims, the latter being only three—Buddhism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism? The division has been adopted, among others by Prof. Kuenen, in his Hibbert Lectures, though with the important restriction that Islâm, as being essentially particulistic, ought to be excluded form the class of universalistic religions. In an interesting paper (in the Leyden Theol. Tijdshrift, 1885, No. 1) Prof. Rauwenhoff injects the whole class and particularly disapproved of the term "world religions," for which he substitutes that of "world churches." The question deserves to be discussed thoroughly, but for that this is not the place. Here we can only state the results to which a conscientious review of our own opinion and an impartial consideration of our opponents’ arguments have led us.

2. We now think that the term "world religions" must be sacrified, though indeed "world churches" would so no better, perhaps even worse. Without serving longer to determine the character of certain religions, the term "world religions" might still be retained for practical use, to distinguish the three religions which have found their way to different races and peoples and all of which profess the intention to conquer the world, form such communities as are generally limited to a single race or nation, and, when they have extended farther, have done so only in the train of, and in connexion with, a superior civilization. Strictly speaking, there can be no more than one universal or world religion, and if one of the existing religions is a potentially it has not yet reached its goal. This is a matter of belief which lies beyond the limits of scientific classification.

3. Still there is a real difference between two at least of the three above named, which are still contending with one another for supremacy over the nations of the globe, and the other religious communities which no longer try to make proselytes—between Buddhism and Christianity on the one hand, and Confucianism, Brahmanism, Janinism, Mazdaism, and Judaism on the other. And this difference, which ought to be maintained, is indeed one of principle, not of fact only. If the latter, after having been adopted by a nation, have remained stationary for centuries and even are continuously fading away, while the former now embrace many millions of adherents belonging to various nations and races, and ever go on increasing more or less rapidly, this cannot be due to some fortuitous or external circumstances only, but must have its principal cause in the very nature of each sort of religions.

4. When we call the one particularistic the others universalistic (not universal), the one national the other human, when we describe the one as bound to special doctrines and rotes, the others, though equally embodying themselves in doctrines and rites whenever they were organized into churches or state religions, as nevertheless really free form them and starting from principles and maxims, we possibly use words apt to be misunderstood and perhaps wanting some qualification, but the meaning of them on the whole is sufficiently clear. In calling nomistic religions, like Judaism and Mazdaism, particularistic or national, we do not mean to say that they are exclusive in character and that they have not tried to spread beyond the boundaries of the race and the nation to which they belonged originally. They have done so indeed; they hoped to extend their dominion, but they succeeded only where they could impose the nationality or the civilization with which they had grown together, like the Chinese in Corea and Japan, or the Brahmans in several parts of India; and it is known that the proselytes of Judaism always ranked below the born sons of Abraham.

Now Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity were neither national nor particularistic. All of them were the representatives of ideas surpassing so to say the national horizon; all of them had in view, not the special religious wants of the nation, but more general aspirations of the human heart and mind. Two of them, therefore, were rejected, after a shorter or longer struggle, by the peoples to which their founder belonged by birth; and it is a well-known fact that Mohammedanism, though founded by an Arab, took its fundamental ideas from Judaism and Christianity, and that not the Arabs, but foreign nations, especially the Persians, raised it to the high position which it would not have occupied in the world without them. The national form of Buddhistic idea was Jainism, that of the Christian idea Ebionitism, and perhaps the Wahhabites may be considered as the national reformers of Mohammedanism; and it is only natural that none of these sects found adherents except among the peoples in the midst of which they arose. Nor were Buddhism, Islâm, and Christianity particularistic. Buddhism ‘looks for the man; the miseries of existence beset all alike, and its law is a law of grace for all."—So too in its way does Islâm; in the beginning it spreads by conquest, but the faithful of every nationality, whether converted by the force of arms or by the preaching of missionaries, acquire the same rights and dignity as the Arabs. The universalism of Christianity needs no proof. Here, however, the difference begins. We class these three religions under one head, because they resemble one another in so many respects, and because they differ from the other religious communities founded by individuals precisely in that in which they are mutually alike. But we are far from placing them on the same level. Islâm, e.g., is not original, not a ripe fruit, but rather a wild offshoot of Judaism an Christianity. Buddhism, though the most widely spread has never been victorious except where it had to contend with religions standing on no very high degree of development. For a short time it had a footing in Persian countries, but there its influence was neither deep nor durable, and in China it was not even able to overcome Confucianism and Taoism; it seems to have been driven from India by Brahmanism, without being actually persecuted. Both Islam and Buddhism, if not national, are only relatively universalistic, and show the one-sidedness, the one of the Semitic, the other of the Aryan race. The former represents an important religious idea—the absolute sovereignty of the one God, towards whom man, being nothing himself, has only one duty, that of tacit obedience; it exalts the divine, not combining it with, but opposing it to, the human, which it despises, and therefore neglects the development of ethics. Buddhism on the contrary neglects the divine preaches the final salvation of man from the miseries of existence through the power of his own self-renunciation; and therefore, as it is atheistic in its origin, it very soon becomes infected by the most fantastic mythology and the most childish superstitions. If religion really is the synthesis of dependence and liberty, we might say that Islâm represents the former, Buddhism the latter element only, while Christianity does full justice to both of them. Christianity, the pure and unalloyed at least, has fused dependence and liberty, the divine and the human, religion and ethics into an indivisible unity.

5. There are still some other points of difference. Thus, to mention one point only, Mohammedanism in its external features is little better than an extended Judaism. Spread over many countries, adopted by various nations differing in culture, speech, and race, nevertheless it has its holy language, its unvarying rites, its central sanctuary round which the pilgrims from every part of the Mohammedan world assemble every war. Not so with Buddhism and Christianity. If Christian crusaders tried to reconquer their Holy Land from the infidels, and in fact possessed it for a time, if mediaeval Buddhist pilgrims desired to see, and some Christian pilgrims even now visit, the places where the cradle of their faiths once stood, all this makes no longer an integral part of their worship, which is not necessarily bound to place or time. The divisions of Buddhism and Christianity are mutually much more independent than those of Mohammedanism. Still, though in this respect Buddhism comes nearer to Christianity; this alone preaches a worship in spirit and in truth; and in that which Rothe called its greatest excellence, in its variety, its changeableness, its power of adapting itself to the religious wants of various generations, peoples, and individuals, in a word, in its elasticity, which is the natural result of its purely spiritual character, Christianity ranks incommensurably high above both its rivals.[369-1] But we cannot pursue this matter any further.

We now give the following sketch of a morphological classification of religions:—


(a) Polydaemonistic Magical Religions under the control of Animism.
To this class belong the religions of the so-called savages or uncivilized peoples, but they are only degraded remnants of what they once must have been.

(b) Purified or organized Magical Religions.
Therianthropic Polytheism

1. Unorganized.
Japanese Kami-ni-madsu.
The non-Aryan (Dravidian) religions of India, principally in the Deccan.
Religion of the Finns and Ehsts.
The old Arabic religions.
Old Pelasgic religion.
Old Italiote religions.
Etruscan religion before its admixture with Greek elements (?)
The old Slavonic religions.

2. Organized.
The semi-civilized religions of America: Maya, Natchez, Toltecs-Aztecs, Muyscas, Incas in Peru.
The ancient religion of the Chinese empire.
Ancient Babylonian (Chaldaean) religion.
Religion of Egypt.

(c) Worship of manlike but superhuman and semi-ethical beings.
Anthropomorphic Polytheism

The ancient Vaidic religion (India).
The pre-Zarathustrian Iranic religion (Bactria, Media, Persia).
The younger Babylonian and Assyrian religion.
The religions of the other civilized Semites (Phoenicia, Canaan, Aramaea, Sabaeans in South Arabia).
The Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, and Graeco-Roman religions.


(a) National Nomistic (Nomothetic) religious communities
Taoism and Confucianism in China.
Brahmanism, with its various ancient and modern sects.
Jainism and primitive Buddhism.
Mazdaism (Zarathustrianism), with its sects.

(b) Universalistic religious communities.
Islâm, Buddhism, Christianity.

We conclude with a few remarks on the history and spread of religions. Between the history of religions and that of religion in general there is no real difference. A history of religions must be something other and more than a collection of the histories of the principal religions, arranged after a chronological or an ethnological scheme. The connecting links and historical relations between them must be kept in view. It ought to be shown how every religion coming to the front on the stage of history is rooted in the past, has been fostered so to speak by one or more of its predecessors, and cannot be maintained without taking up and assimilating the still living elements of the old faith. Special attention must be paid to the spread and intermixture of religions and systems, myths and rites, the cause of so many changes, of thorough reforms as well as of corruption and decay. Thus, even undesignedly the history of religions exhibits the progress of the religious idea in the history of mankind.

The oldest historical documents contemporaneous with facts they record, are undoubtedly those of ancient Egypt and Babylonia; perhaps the latter may in the end prove the more ancient of the two. Be this as it may, documentary history begins in western Asia and north-eastern Africa. And it is remarkable that even in that remote past we find the religions both of ancient Babylonia and of Egypt in anything but a primitive state-remarkable, but only natural, as civilization must have reached a rather elevated standpoint to produce such written documents and works of art. Many centuries, at all events a long period, of religious evolution must have preceded the dawn of religious history. Even then and there, just as elsewhere, that which lies behind can only be conjectured, but conjecture may be raised to a high degree of probability by comparing the myths and rites surviving in the historical religions, though they really belong to a former state of development, with those still prevailing among uncivilized tribes. For several centuries these two religions, whatever may have been their genealogical relation, where developed independently, and the task of the historian is, by studying the most ancient records, to give a notion of their earliest state and to point out the faint traces of their internal changes which are still extant. There are some vague allusions to an early Babylonian conquest of western Asia, which might account for the agreement of some ancient modes of worship in the Western centuries with those of Babylonia; but before the XVIIIth Dynasty of Egypt (15th and 16th century B.C.) the empires on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris and that on the banks of the Nile seem not yet to have come into contact. From that time, at least during the rule of the XIXth Dynasty, not a few Semitic deities were admitted into the Egyptian pantheon. In a well-known hymn the victorious Egyptian king is compared to the Semitic Ba’al as well as to the national god Mentu. On the other hand, but much later, some Egyptian religious emblems find their way into Assyria, and several Egyptian gods with Egyptian modes of worship into Phoenicia. Assyrian religion, being an early offshoot of the Babylonian, and with the lapse of time more and more imbued with younger Babylonian elements, spreads westward with the extension of the Assyrian empire, penetrates into Asia Minor and Syria, and finds followers even among the kings of Judah. But there the prophets, true to their national god Jahveh, and reforming his worship on purely ethical principles, wrestle with unbending perseverance against those foreign idolatrous customs and lay the foundations of that monotheistic community which survives the Babylonian exile, and, having been organized as Judaism, becomes the cradle of Christianity.

Did space permit we would fain pursue the rapid historical sketch, which tends to show how even in ancient times there was a continuous interchange of ideas and rites between the leading religions, those even which are commonly considered as being purely national—that is, so entirely fused with the social and political life of a nation that they seem unfit for adoption by peoples widely different. But a general survey of the history of religions cannot be given here. All that can be done is to indicate in a few words its further courses, not without hinting that the same interchange as we have observed in western Asia and Egypt is to be found everywhere.

In eastern Asia the dominating religions are those of China and of India. They too have been developed independently, each radiating from its centre, China proper and Hindustan, so far as either the vast Chinese empire or the Aryan dominion over the Indian peninsula extended. The Chinese civilization seems to be much older than the Indian. But the sources from which a knowledge of the ancient Chinese religion might be drawn have come down to us thoroughly revised and expurgated either by Confucius himself or by some of his followers. The ancient religious literature of India is very extensive, and in it three or four stages of religious thought may without difficulty be found; but the real ancient history of Indian religion is not to be gathered from it. Neither Chinese nor Indian religions have exercised any influence on the progress of religion in the west of Asia or in Europe. They form a world apart. The Chinese religion was adopted by some Mongolian tribes and was introduced into Corea and Japan; Indian settlers, Vaishnaves, Caias, or Bauddhas, Japan; India settlers, Vaishnavas, Çaivas, or Bauddhas, carried Indian thought and India and of the Indian archipelago, but this happened in relatively recent times. For ages and ages they lived quite isolated and self-sufficient—the Chinese either with Lao-tsze seeking the veritable Tao in the highest ideal of absolute isolation, or with Confucius amiably moralizing on the duties of "the perfect man"; the Indian dreaming his monotonous and fantastic dreams and longing for absorption that without them, among what they would have called Western barbarians if they had known of their existence, the world’s history was going on as a mighty stream of which they did not even hear the distant roar. It was not until Darius the son of hystaspes, but chiefly Alexander the Great, had opened the gates of India to Western civilization that an Indian sovereign, converted to Buddhism, could think of benefiting foreign nations by the message of salvation from the miseries of existence, and that Buddhist missionaries went out to nearly very part of Asia.

Meanwhile Medo-Persian supremacy had supplanted the Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian, and with it the Zarathustrian religion (Mazdaism) had come in contact with those of western Asia. This too had its distinct place in the general history of religion. For though it seems not to have spread much further than the Iranian languages, and the attempts of Mazdayaçan missionaries to convert certain Tartar or Mongolish tribes were not crowned with extraordinary success, its tenets deeply influence the post-exilian angelology and demonology of the Jews, and through it the belief on these subjects current among mediaeval Christians. Moreover, not indeed the whole system, but still some of its semi-spurious offshoots, remnants of the OLD EAST ARYAN mythology, neglected by the Zarathustrian reformers, but afterwards revived and mixed up with Semitic elements, the worship of Mithra and Anâhita, wandered from Asia Minor through Greece and Italy to Germany and found adherents everywhere.

The final and, if we except that of Mosaism, the most interesting chapter of the ancient history of religions is that which narrates the growth, the transformations and vicissitudes, the decline and corruption of the worship belonging to Greece and Rome. Its importance to general history needs no exposition. But its real purport is in the main not realized, or at least misunderstood. It is indeed the history of the spread of that rich and composite mythological system which is called Hellenic religion over the whole civilized world of Europe and part of Asia and Africa, and of the total transformation of the ancient Roman religion by its influence. But, studied in the true historical, that is, genetic and comparative, spirit—not with the jealous narrow-mindedness of the old classical school, whole idol, the self-sufficient and self-educated Greek, has already been broken to pieces, not with the one-sidedness of some comparative mythologists, who have substituted the self-sufficient Aryan for that imaginary Greek—Hellenic religion appears to be rooted, not only in the old national worship, but also, and even deeper, in the religions of some Eastern peoples, as is the case with Hellenic art and all the other branches of that splendid civilization. It would never have risen so high above the level of old Pelasgic faith and worship, never have spread over so wide an area, never have reigned with ever increasing authority in Etruria and in Rome, had not the deeper religious ideas of Semitic and other Eastern nations, which prevailed in the Phoenician colonies on the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean, and above all in that focus of all kinds of worship, Asia Minor, become assimilated with it, and—for this too must be acknowledged—had it not after all impressed those ideas with the stamp or Aryan fancy and Hellenic taste, the stamp of its own genius. The great stream or religious development which had its sources in Egypt, in Babylon, and in Irân, and many less important affluents, finishes its course in the Graeco-Roman religion. With this the old world dies away. But then the preaching of the gospel had already laid the foundations of a new and higher world of religious life, which no more belongs to ancient history.

Modern history of religions is chiefly the history of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islâm, and of their wrestling with the ancient faiths and primitive modes of worship, which slowly fade away before their encroachments, and which, where they still survive in some parts of the world and do not reform themselves after the modes of the dominant religion, draw nearer and nearer to extinction.

But the subject is too vast to be treated of in detail here. It has been our object only to show, even for the ancient history of religions, the continuity and coherence which nobody will deny with regard to the modern. In both ancient and modern times, religions spread (1) by the influence of superior civilization, (2) by conquest, (3) by colonization or commerce, (4) by missions. Examples are too numerous and too well known to require mention here.

Literature.—The numerous monographs on special religions, as well as treatises on the philosophy of religion, on mythology, on comparative mythology even, must be excluded from this notice. Only the most important collections of historical monographs, and those philosophical works which are not purely or principally speculative4, but are based on the comparative study of the religions themselves, will be mentioned.

For the so-called science of religion in general see Benjamin Constant, De la Religion considérée dans sa source, ses formes, et ses développements, 5 vols., Paris, 1824-31; E. Spiess, De religionum indagationis comparativae vi ac dignitate theologica, Jena, 1871; F. Max Müller, Chips from a German Workshop, vol. i., London; 1867; Id., Introduction to the Science of Religion, London, 1873; Emile Burnouf, La Science des Religions, 4th ed., Paris, 1885; Daniel G. Brinton, The Religious Sentiment, its Source and Aim, New York, 1876; A. Réville, Prolégomènes des l’Histoire des Religions, Paris, 1881; W. D. Whitney, "On the so-called Science of Religion,"in the Princeton Review; Id., Oriental and Linguistic Studies, 1st and 2d series, New York, 1873-74; L. Vézes, De la Religion et des Religions, Montauban, s.a.

A more or less complete history of religions (narrative and descriptive) was attempted by Meiners, Allg. Kritische Geschichte der Religionen, 2 vols., Hanover, 1806-7; A. v. Collin, Lehrbuch der vorchristl. Religionsgeschichte, Lemgo, 1855; J. H. Scholten, Gesthierdenis der godsdientst en wijsbegeerter, 3d ed., Leyden. 1863; J. Gardner, The Religions of the World, London, 1872; C. P. Tiele, Outlines of the History of Religion to the spread of the Universal Religions, transl. by J. E. Carpenter, London, 1877 (a totally re-written Dutch edition is in preparation). The history of the principal religions of the world is described in the series of monographs published at Haarlem entitled De Voornaamste Godsdiensten (Islamism, by Dozy, 1863; Pârsism, by Tiele, 1864; Buddhism, by Kern, 1883-84; Greek Religion, by Van Oordt, 1864; Norse Religion by Meyboom, 1868; Israel, 2 vols., by Kuenen, 1869-70; Roman Catholicism, by Pierson, 4 vols. 1868-74; Protestantism, by Bauwenhoff, 2 vols., 1865-71). See. too, C. P. Tiele, Hist. comparée des religions de l’Égypte et des peoples Sémitiques, trans. by. G. Collins, Paris, 1882; A. Réville, Les religions des peuples non-civilisés, Paris, 1883; Id., Les religions du Mexique, de l’Amér. centrale, et du Pérou, Paris 1885 (compare the Hibbert Lectures for 1884). Of another series, under the title Oriental Religions and their relation to Universal Religion, by Samuel Johnson, three volumes only are published (India, 2d ed., London, 1873; China, Boston, 1877; Persia, 1885). P. D. Chantepie de la Saussaye published four popular sketches of the religions of Confucius, Lao-tsze, Zarathustra, and Buddha, but with copious notes and references, Utrecht, 1883. Equally popular is G. Rawlinson’s Religions of the Ancient World, London, s.a.

To the comparative study of religious and to the philosophy of the history of religions belong O. Pfleiderer, Die Religion, ihr Wesen und ihre Geschichte, Berlin, 1869; Id., Religionsphilosophie auf geschichtlicher Grundlage, 1878 (2d ed. Revised and enlarged, in 2 vols., 1883-84); E. Renan, Études d’histoire religieuse, 2d ed., Paris, 1857; Jas. Freeman Clarke, Ten Great Religions, an Essay in Comparative Theology, Boston, 1871 (called by Prof. Whitney an industrious collector and an impartial reporter); E. F. Langhans, Das Christianthum und seine Mission im Lichte der Weltgeschichte, Zurich, 1875; A. M. Fairbairn, Studies in the Philosophy of Religion and History, 1876; Chas. Newton Scott, The Foregleams of Christianity, London, 1877; J. Stuart Blackie, The Natural History of Atheism, London 1877; C. Puini, Saggi di storia della Religione, Florence, 1882; E. von Hartmann, Das relig. Bewusstsein der Menschheit im Stufengange seiner Entwickelung, Berlin, 1882; Jul. Happel, Das Christenthum und die heutige vergleichende Religionsgeschichte, Leipsic, 1882. See, too, the Hibbert Lectures of F. Max Müller, 1878, and of A. Kuenen, National Religions and Universal Religions, 1882. The connexion between religion on the one side and state and society on the other is discussed by J.C. Blüntschili, Altasiatische Gottes-und Weltideen, Nördlingen, 1866; C. Twesten, Die religiös., polit., und socialen Ideen der asiat. Culturvölker und der Aegypter, 2 vols., Berlin, 1872 (ed. By M. Lazaus); Gilliot, Études histor. et crit. sur les religions et institutions comparées, Paris, 1883. E. Wippermann’s Altorient. Religionsstaaten, Marburg, 1851, is now antiquated.

The views of the present writer on various subjects relating to the religion have been expounded in several volumes of the Theol. Tijdschrift and De Gids. Only a few of these papers have been translated into German or French. See. e.g., Revue politique et littéraire, 12th August 1876 and 12th January 1878. In the Theol. Tijdschrift are to be found some articles on cognate subjects by Profs. Kuenen and Rauwenhoff and by Dr A. Bruining. Valuable contributions to the history of religions ar given by the Revue de l’Histoire des Religions, edited by Vernes, 1880-84, and by Jean Réville, 1885. Prof. Max Müller is rendering an important service to the comparative study of religions by his collection of translations entitled Sacred Books of the East, of which some twenty-four volumes have appeared, and which is still in course of publication. (C. P. T.)


359-1 This special type indicates prehistoric religions.

359-2 This is why they call the Godhead "father," or even "brother, friend, companion." Compare the names Mitra—Mithra, "friend," Aryaman—Airyaman, "companion," &c.

359-3 The name is not exact. It is only chosen as the most convenient.

362-1 Even Rob. Hartmann, Die Nigritier, Berlin, 1876, pp. 192 sq., who denies the existence of a Hamitic race, and considers the Egyptians as Nubian Cushites, separated from the others in early times, ascribes their higher civilization to their intercourse with Semitic settlers.

363-1 They are enumerated by Waltz, Anthropologie der Naturvölker, iii., 56 sq.

363-2 Lectures on the Science of Religion, 190 sq.

363-3 The resemblance of the Mongolian Tengre, Tangara, to the Sumerian or Accadian Dingira appears to be equally fortuitous as that of the Polynesian Tangaroa (Taaroa) to the Melanesian Ndengei.

364-1 The myth of the four brothers is met with, e.g., among the Algonkins, the Mayas in Yucatan, the Tzendal branch of the Maya race, the Tarascos in Michoacan near Mexico, the Aztecs, by whom it is combined with that of Quetzalcoatl, all through North America, and even in Peru. See Brinton, Hero Myths, pp. 44. 162, 216, 208, 73, 179.

366-1 This conclusion as such is utterly false. The gods are no mere nomina. They are not the natural phenomena themselves, but spirits, lords, ruling them. The fact is that their worshippers at last become conscious of the naturalistic basis of their religion and then reject it.

369-1 To prevent misconstruction, it is perhaps not superfluous to state that we are giving here neither a confession of faith nor an apology, but that we have here to treat Christianity simply as a subject of comparative study, from a scientific, not from a religious point of view.

The above article was written by: C. P. Tiele [Cornelis Petrus Tiele], Theol.D., Litt.D., Hon. M.R.A.S.; Professor of the Science of Religion in the University of Leyden from 1877; author of Outlines of History of Religion, History of the Religion of Ancient Times, and Comparative History of Egyptian and Mesopotamian Divine Worship.

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