1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Religion
RELIGION. The origin of the Latin word rěligio or relligio has been the subject of discussion since the time of Cicero. Two alternative derivations have been given, viz. from rělěgere, to gather together, and rěligare, to bind back, fasten. Relegere meant to gather together, collect, hence to go over a subject again in thought, from re and legere, to collect together, hence to read, collect at a glance. This view is that given by Cicero (Nat. Deor. ii. 28, 72). He says: “Qui omnia quae ad cultum deorum pertinerent diligent er retractarent et tanquam relegerent, sunt dicti religiosi ex relegendo,” “men were called ‘religious’ from relegere, because they reconsidered carefully and, as it were, went over again in thought all that appertained to the worship of the gods.” He compares elegantes from eligere, diligentes from diligere, and continues, “his enim in verbis omnibus inest vis legendi eadem quae in religioso.” This view is supported by the form of the word in the verse quoted by Gellius (iv. 9), “religentem esse oportet, religiosum nefas,” and by the use of the Greek άλέγειν, to pay heed to, frequently with a negative, in the sense of the Latin negligere (nec-legere), cf. Θεῶν ὄπιν οὐκ ἀλέγοντες (Homer, Il. xvi. 388), heeding not the visitation of the gods, or οὐ γὰρ Κύκλωπες Διὸς . . . ἀλέγουσιν (Od. ix. 275). The alternative derivation, from religare, to fasten, bind, is that adopted by Lactantius (Inst. iv. 28), “Vinculo pietatis obstricti, Deo religati sumus unde ipsa religio nomen cepit.” He quotes in support the line from Lucretius (i. 931), “religionum nodis animos exsolvere.” Servius (on Virgil, Aen. viii. 349) and St Augustine (Retract. i. 13) also take religare as the source of the word. It is one that has certainly coloured the meaning of the word, particularly in that use which restricts it to the monastic life with its binding rules. It also has appealed to Christian thought. Liddon (Some Elements of Religion, Lecture I. 19) says: “Lactantius may be wrong in his etymology, but he has certainly seized the broad popular sense of the word when he connects it with the idea of an obligation by which man is bound to an invisible God.” Archbishop Trench (Study of Words) supposed that when “religion” became equivalent to the monastic life, and “religious” to a monk, the words lost their original meaning, but the Ancien Riwle, ante 1225, and the Cursor Mundi use the words both in the general and the more particular sense (see quotations in the New English Dictionary), and both meanings can be found in the Imitatio Christi and in Erasmus's Colloquia. (X.)
The study of the forms of belief and worship belonging to different tribes, nations or religious communities has only recently acquired a scientific foundation. The Greek historians early directed their attention to the ideas and customs of the peoples with whom they were brought into contact; and Herodotus has been called the “first anthropologist of religion.” Theopompus described the Persian dualism in the 4th century B.C., and when Megasthenes was ambassador to the court of Chandragupta, 302 B.C., he noted the religious usages of the middle Ganges valley. The early Christian Fathers recorded many a valuable observation of the Gentile faiths around them from varying points of view, sympathetic or hostile; and Eusebius and Epiphanius, in the 4th century A.D., attributed to the librarian of Ptolemy Philadelphus the design of collecting the sacred books of the Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Elamites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, Phoenicians, Syrians and Greeks. The Mahommedan Bīrūnī (b. A.D. 973) compared the doctrines of the Greeks, Christians, Jews, Manichaeans and Sufis with the philosophies and religions of India. Akbar (1542-1605) gathered Brahmans and Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians and Mahommedans at his court, and endeavoured to get translations of their scriptures. In the next century the Persian author of the Dabistan exhibited the doctrines of no less than twelve religions and their various sects. Meanwhile the scholars of the West had begun to work. Thomas Hyde (1636-1703) studied the religion of the ancient Persians; John Spencer (1630-1693) analysed the laws of the Hebrews; and Lord Herbert of Cherbury (De Religione Gentilium, 1645) endeavoured to trace all religions back to five “truly Catholic truths” of primitive faith, the first being the existence of God. The doctrine of a primeval revelation survived in various forms for two centuries, and appeared as late as the Juventus Mundi of W. E. Gladstone (1868, p. 207 ff.). David Hume, on the other hand, based his essay on The Natural History of Religion (1757) on the conception of the development of human society from rude beginnings, and all modern study is frankly founded on the general idea of Evolution.
The materials at Hume's command, however, were destined to vast and speedy expansion. The Jesuit missionaries had already been at work in India and China, and a brilliant band of English students, led by Sir William Jones and H. T. Colebrooke, began to make known the treasures of Sanskrit literature, which the great scholars of Germany and France proceeded to develop. In Egypt the discovery of the Rosetta stone placed the key to the hieroglyphics within Western reach; and the decipherment of the cuneiform character enabled the patient scholars of Europe to recover the clues to the contents of the ancient libraries of Babylonia and Assyria. With the aid of inscriptions the cults of Greece and Rome have been largely reconstructed. Travellers and missionaries reported the beliefs and usages of uncivilized tribes in every part of the world, with the result that “ethnography knows no race devoid of religion, but only differences in the degree to which religious ideas have developed” (Ratzel, History of Mankind, i. 40). Meanwhile philosophy was at work on the problem of the religious consciousness. The great series of German thinkers, Lessing, Herder, Kant, Hegel, Fichte, Schleiermacher and their successors, sought to explain religion by means of the phenomena of mind, and to track it to its roots in the processes of thought and feeling. While ethnography was gathering up the facts from every part of the globe, psychology began to analyse the forms of belief, of action and emotion, to discover if possible the key to the multitudinous variety which history revealed. From the historical and linguistic side attention was first fixed upon the myth, and the publication of the ancient hymns of the Rig Veda led Max Müller to seek in the common elements of Aryan thought for the secrets of primitive religion (essay on Comparative Mythology, 1856). The phenomena of day and night, of sunshine and storm, and other aspects of nature, were invoked by different interpreters to explain the conceptions of the gods, their origins and their relations. Fresh materials were gathered at the same time out of European folk-lore; the work begun by the brothers Grimm was continued by J. W. E. Mannhardt, and a lower stratum of beliefs and rites began to emerge into view beneath the poetic forms of the more developed mythologies. By such preliminary labours the way was prepared for the new science of anthropology.
Since the appearance of Dr E. B. Tylor's classical treatise on Primitive Culture (1871), the study of the origins of religion has been pursued with the utmost zeal. Comte had already described the primitive form of the religious consciousness as that in which man conceives of all external bodies as animated by a life analogous to his own (Philos. Positive, tome v., 1841, p. 30). This has been since designated as polyzoism or pantheism or panvitalism, and represents the obscure undifferentiated groundwork out of which Tylor's Animism arises. Many are the clues by which it has been sought to explain the secret of primitive religion. Hegel, before the anthropological stage, found it in magic. Max Müller, building on philosophy and mythology, affirmed that “Religion consists in the perception of the infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man” (Natural Religion, 1899, p. 188). Herbert Spencer derived all religion from the worship of the dead (Principles of Sociology, i.), like Grant Allen, and Lippert in Germany. Mr Andrew Lang, on the other hand, supposes that belief in a supreme being came first in order of evolution, but was afterwards thrust into the background by belief in ghosts and lesser divinities (Magic and Religion, 1901, p. 224). Dr Jevons finds the primitive form in totemism (Introd. to the History of Religion, 1896, chap. ix.). Mr J. G. Frazer regards religion (see his definition quoted below) as superposed on an antecedent stage of magic. In The Tree of Life (1905), Mr E. Crawley interprets it by the vital instinct, and connects its first manifestations with the processes of the organic life. The veteran Wilhelm Wundt (Mythus und Religion, ii. 1906, p. 177) recurs to the primitive conceptions of the soul as the source of all subsequent development. The origin of religion, however, can never be determined archaeologically or historically; it must be sought conjecturally through psychology. (J. E. C.)
A. Primitive Religion
There is a point at which the History of Religion becomes in its predominant aspect a History of Religions. The conditions that we describe by the comprehensive term “civilization” occasion a specification and corresponding differentiation of the life of societies; whence there result competing types of culture, each instinct with the spirit of propagandism and, one might almost say, of empire. It is an age of conscious selection as between ideal systems. Instead of necessitating a wasteful and precarious elimination of inadequate customs by the actual destruction of those who practise them—this being the method of natural selection, which, like some Spanish Inquisition, abolishes the heresy by wiping out the heretics one and all—progress now becomes possible along the more direct and less painful path of conversion. The heretic, having developed powers of rational choice, perceives his heresy, to wit, his want of adaptation to the moral environment, and turning round embraces the new faith that is the passport to survival.
Far otherwise is it with man at the stage of savagery—the stage of petty groups pursuing a self-centred life of inveterate custom, in an isolation almost as complete as if they were marooned on separate atolls of the ocean. Progress, or at all events change, does indeed take place, though very slowly, since the most primitive savage we know of has his portion of human intelligence, looks after and before, nay, in regard to the pressing needs of every day shows a quite remarkable shrewdness and resource. Speaking generally, however, we must pronounce him unprogressive, since, on the whole, unreflective in regard to his ends. It is the price that must be paid for social discreteness and incoherency. And the consequence of this atomism is not what a careless thinker might be led to assume, extreme diversity, but, on the contrary, extreme homogeneity of culture. It has been found unworkable, for instance, to classify the religions of really primitive peoples under a plurality of heads, as becomes necessary the moment that the presence of a distinctive basis of linked ideas testifies to the individuality of this or that type of higher creed. Primitive religions are like so many similar beads on a string; and the concern of the student of comparative religion is at this stage mainly with the nature of the string, to wit, the common conditions of soul and society that make, say, totemism, or taboo, very much the same thing all the savage world over, when we seek to penetrate to its essence.
This fundamental homogeneity of primitive culture, however, must not be made the excuse for a treatment at the hands of psychology and sociology that dispenses with the study of details and trusts to an a priori method. By all means let universal characterization be attempted—we are about to attempt one here, though well aware of the difficulty in the present state of our knowledge—but they must at least model themselves on the composite photograph rather than the impressionist sketch. An enormous mass of material, mostly quite in the raw, awaits reduction to order on the part of anthropological theorists, as yet a small and ill-supported body of enthusiasts. Under these circumstances it would be premature to expect agreement as to results. In regard to method, however, there is little difference of opinion. Thus, whereas the popular writer abounds in wide generalizations on the subject of primitive humanity, the expert has hitherto for the most part deliberately restricted himself to departmental investigations. Religion, for example, seems altogether too vast a theme for him to embark on, and he usually prefers to deal with some single element or aspect. Again, origins attract the littérateur; he revels in describing the transition from the pre-religious to the religious era. But the expert, confining his attention to the known savage, finds him already religious, nay, encumbered with religious survivals of all kinds; for him, then, it suffices to describe things as they now are, or as they were in the comparatively recent fore-time. Lastly, there are many who, being competent in some other branch of science, but having small acquaintance with the scientific study of human culture, are inclined to explain primitive ideas and institutions from without, namely by reference to various external conditions of the mental life of peoples, such as race, climate, food-supply and so on. The anthropological expert, on the other hand, insists on making the primitive point of view itself the be-all and end-all of his investigations. The inwardness of savage religion—the meaning it has for those who practise it—constitutes its essence and meaning likewise for him, who after all is a man and a brother, not one who stands really outside.
In what follows, then, we shall, indeed, venture to present a wholesale appreciation of the religious idea as it is for primitive man in general; but our account will respect the modern anthropological method that bids the student keep closely to the actualities of the religious experience of savages, as it can with reasonable accuracy be gathered from what they do and say. We have sought to render only the spirit of primitive religion, keeping clear both of technicalities and of departmental investigations. These are left to the separate articles bearing on the subject. There the reader will find the most solid results of recent anthropological research. Here is he merely offered a flimsy thread that, we hope, may guide him through the maze of facts, but alas! is only too likely to break off short in his hand.
Definition of Primitive Religion.—In dealing with a development of culture that has no immutable essence, but is intrinsically fluid and changing, definition must consist either in a definition of type, which indicates prevalence of relevant resemblance as between specimens more or less divergent, or in exterior definition, which delimits the field of inquiry by laying down within what extreme limits this divergence holds. Amongst the numberless definitions of religion that have been suggested, those that have been most frequently adopted for working purposes by anthropologists are Tylor's and Frazer's. Dr E. B. Tylor in Primitive Culture (1), i. 424, proposes as a “minimum definition” of religion “the belief in spiritual beings.” Objections to this definition on the score of incompleteness are, firstly, that, besides belief, practice must be reckoned with (since, as Dr W. Robertson Smith has made clear in his Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, 18 sqq., ritual is in fact primary for primitive religion, whilst dogma and myth are secondary); secondly, that the outlook of such belief and practice is not exclusively towards the spiritual, unless this term be widened until it mean next to nothing, but is likewise towards the quasi-material, as will be shown presently. The merit of this definition, on the other hand, lies in its bilateral form, which calls attention to the need of characterizing both the religious attitude and the religious object to which the former has reference. The same form appears in Dr J. G. Frazer's definition in The Golden Bough (2nd ed.), i. 63. He understands by religion “a propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and of human life.” He goes on to explain that by “powers” he means “conscious or personal agents.” It is also to be noted that he is here definitely opposing religion to magic, which he holds to be based on the (implicit) assumption “that the course of nature is determined, not by the passions or caprice of personal beings, but by the operation of immutable laws acting mechanically.” His definition improves on Tylor's in so far as it makes worship integral to the religious attitude. By regarding the object of religion as necessarily personal, however, he is led to exclude much that the primitive man undoubtedly treats with awe and respect as exerting a mystic effect on his life. Further, in maintaining that the powers recognized by religion are always superior to man, he leaves unclasped a host of practices that display a bargaining, or even a hectoring, spirit on the part of those addressing them (see Prayer). Threatening or beating a fetish cannot be brought under the head of magic, even if we adopt Frazer's principle (op. cit. i. 64) that to constrain or coerce a personal being is to treat him as an inanimate agent; for such a principle is quite inapplicable to cases of mere terrorism, whilst it may be doubted if it even renders the sense of the savage magician's typical notion of his modus operandi, viz. as the bringing to bear of a greater mana or psychic influence (see below) on what has less, and must therefore do as it is bidden. Such definitions, then, are to be accepted, if at all, as definitions of type, selective designations of leading but not strictly universal features. An encyclopedic account, however, should rest rather on an exterior definition which can serve as it were to pigeon-hole the whole mass of significant facts. Such an exterior definition is suggested by Mr E. Crawley in The Tree of Life, 209, where he points out that “neither the Greek nor the Latin language has any comprehensive term for religion, except in the one ἱερά, and in the other sacra, words which are equivalent to ‘sacred.’ No other term covers the whole of religious phenomena, and a survey of the complex details of various worships results in showing that no other conception will comprise the whole body of religious facts.” It may be added that we have here no generalization imported from a higher level of culture, but an idea or blend of ideas familiar to primitive thought. An important consequence of thus giving the study of primitive religion the wide scope of a comparative hierology is that magic is no longer divorced from religion, since the sacred will now be found to be coextensive with the magico-religious, that largely undifferentiated plasm out of which religion and magic slowly take separate shape as society comes more and more to contrast legitimate with illicit modes of dealing with the sacred. We may define, then, the religious object as the sacred, and the corresponding religious attitude as consisting in such manifestation of feeling, thought and action in regard to the sacred as is held to conduce to the welfare of the community or to that of individuals considered as members of the community.
Aspects of the Nature of the Sacred.—To exhibit the general character of the sacred as it exists for primitive religion it is simplest to take stock of various aspects recognized by primitive thought as expressed in language. If some, and not the least essential, of these aspects are quasi-negative, it must be remembered that negations—witness the Unseen, the Unknown, the Infinite of a more advanced theology—are well adapted to supply that mystery on which the religious consciousness feeds with the slight basis of conceptual support it needs. (1) The sacred as the forbidden. The primitive notion that perhaps comes nearest to our “sacred,” whilst it immediately underlies the meanings of the Latin sacer and sanctus, is that of a taboo, a Polynesian term for which equivalents can be quoted from most savage vocabularies. The root idea seems to be that something is marked off as to be shunned, with the added hint of a mystic sanction or penalty enforcing the avoidance. Two derivative senses of a more positive import call for special notice. On the one hand, since that which is tabooed is held to punish the taboo-breaker by a sort of mystic infection, taboo comes to stand for uncleanness and sin. On the other hand, since the isolation of the sacred, even when originally conceived in the interest of the profane, may be interpreted as self-protection on the part of the sacred as against defiling contact, taboo takes on the connotation of ascetic virtue, purity, devotion, dignity and blessedness. Primary and secondary senses of the term between them cover so much ground that it is not surprising to find taboo used in Polynesia as a name for the whole system of religion, founded as it largely is on prohibitions and abstinences. (2) The sacred as the mysterious. Another quasi-negative notion of more restricted distribution is that of the mysterious or strange, as we have it expressed, for example, in the Siouan wakan, though possibly this is a derivative meaning. Meanwhile, it is certain that what is strange, new or portentous is regularly treated by all savages as sacred. (3) The sacred as the secret. The literal sense of the term churinga, applied by the Central Australians to their sacred objects, and likewise used more abstractly to denote mystic power, as when a man is said to be “full of churinga,” is “secret,” and is symptomatic of the esotericism that is a striking mark of Australian, and indeed of all primitive, religion, with its insistence on initiation, its exclusion of women, and its strictly enforced reticence concerning traditional lore and proceedings. (4) The sacred as the potent. Passing on to positive conceptions of the sacred, perhaps the most fundamental is that which identifies the efficacy of sacredness with such mystic or magical power as is signified by the mana of the Pacific or orenda of the Hurons, terms for which analogies are forthcoming on all sides. Of mana Dr R. H. Codrington in The Melanesians, 119 n., writes: “It essentially belongs to personal beings to originate it, though it may act through the medium of water, or a stone, or a bone. All Melanesian religion consists . . . in getting this mana for oneself, or getting it used for one's benefit.” E. Tregear's Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary shows how the word and its derivatives are used to express thought, memory, emotion, desire, will—in short, psychic energy of all kinds. It also stands for the vehicle of the magician's energy—the spell; which would seem likewise to be a meaning, perhaps the root-meaning, of orenda (cf. J. N. B. Hewitt, American Anthropologist, N.S., iv. 40). Whereas everything, perhaps, has some share of indwelling potency, whatever is sacred manifests this potency in an extraordinary degree, as typically the wonder-working leader of society, whose mana consists in his cunning and luck together. Altogether, in mana we have what is par excellence the primitive religious idea in its positive aspect, taboo representing its negative side, since whatever has mana is taboo, and whatever, is taboo has mana. (5) The sacred as the animate. The term “animism,” which embodies Tylor's classical theory of primitive religion, is unfortunately somewhat ambiguous. If we take it strictly to mean the belief in ghosts or spirits having the “vaporous materiality” proper to the objects of dream or hallucination, it is certain that the agency of such phantasms is not the sole cause to which all mystic happenings are referred (though ghosts and spirits are everywhere believed in, and appear to be endowed with greater predominance as religious synthesis advances amongst primitive peoples). Thus there is good evidence to show that many of the early gods, notably those that are held to be especially well disposed to man, are conceived rather in the shape of magnified non-natural men dwelling somewhere apart, such as the Munganngaur of the Kurnai of S.E. Australia (cf. A. Lang, The Making of Religion², x. sqq.). Such anthropomorphism is with difficulty reduced to the Tylorian animism. The term, however, will have to be used still more vaguely, if it is to cover all attribution of personality, will or vitality. This can be more simply brought under the notion of mana. Meanwhile, since quasi-mechanical means are freely resorted to in dealing with the sacred, as when a Maori chief snuffs up the sanctity his fingers have acquired by touching his own sacred head that he may restore the virtue to the part whence it was taken (R. Taylor, Te Ika a Maui, 165), or when uncleanness is removed as if it were a physical secretion by washing, wiping and so forth, it is hard to say whether what we should now call a “material” nature is not ascribed to the sacred, more especially when its transmissibility after the manner of a contagion is the trait that holds the attention. It is possible, however, that the savage always distinguishes in a dim way between the material medium and the indwelling principle of vital energy, examples of a pure fetishism, in the sense of the cult of the purely material, recognized as such, being hard to find. (6) The sacred as the ancient. The prominence of the notion of the Alcheringa “dream time,” or sacred past, in Central Australian religion illustrates the essential connexion perceived by the savage to lie between the sacred and the traditional. Ritualistic conservatism may be instanced as a practical outcome of this feeling. Another development is ancestor-worship, the organized cult of ancestors marking, however, a certain stage of advance beyond the very primitive, though the dead are always sacred and have mana which the living may exploit for their own advantage.
The Activity of the Sacred.—The foregoing views of the sacred, though starting from distinct conceptions, converge in a single complex notion, as may be seen from the many-sided sense borne by such a term as wakan, which may stand not only for “mystery,” but also for “power, sacred, ancient, grandeur, animate, immortal” (W. J. McGee, 15th Report of U. S. Bureau of Ethnology, 182). The reason for this convergence is that, whereas there is found great difficulty in characterizing the elusive nature of the sacred, its mode of manifesting itself is recognized to be much the same in all its phases. Uniform characteristics are the fecundity, ambiguity, relativity and transmissibility of its activity. (1) Fecundity. The mystic potency of the sacred is no fixed quantity, but is big with possibilities of all sorts. The same sacred person, object, act, will suffice for a variety of purposes. Even where a piece of sympathetic magic appears to promise definite results, or when a departmental god is recognized, there would seem to be room left for a more or less indefinite expectancy. It must be remembered that the meaning of a rite is for the most part obscure to the participants, being overlaid by its traditional character, which but guarantees a general efficacy. “Blessings come, evils go,” may be said to be the magico-religious formula implicit in all socially approved dealings with the sacred, however specialized in semblance. (2) Ambiguity. Mystic potency, however, because of the very indefiniteness of its action, is a two-edged sword. The sacred is not to be approached lightly. It will heal or blast, according as it is handled with or without due circumspection. That which is taboo, for instance, the person of the king, or woman's blood, is poison or medicine according as it is manipulated, being inherently just a potentiality for wonder-working in any direction. Not but what primitive thought shows a tendency to mark off a certain kind of mystic power as wholly bad by a special name, e.g. the arungquiltha of Central Australia; and here, we may note, we come nearest to a conception of magic as something other than religion, the trafficker in arungquiltha being socially suspect, nay, liable to persecution, and even death (as amongst the Arunta tribe, see Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of C. Australia, 536), at the hands of his fellows. On the other hand, wholly beneficent powers seem hardly to be recognized, unless we find them in beings such as Mungan-ngaur (“father-our”), who derive an ethical character from their association with the initiation ceremonies and the moral instruction given thereat (cf. Lang, l.c.). (3) Relativity. So far we have tended to represent the activity of the sacred as that of a universal force, somewhat in the style of our “electricity” or “mind.” It remains to add that this activity manifests itself at numberless independent centres. These differ amongst themselves in the degree of their energy. One spell is stronger than another, one taboo more inviolable than another. Dr W. H. R. Rivers (The Todas, 448) gives an interesting analysis of the grades of sanctity apparent in Toda religion. The gods of the hill-tops come first. The sacred buffaloes, their milk, their bells, the dairies and their vessels are on a lower plane; whilst we may note that there are several grades amongst the dairies, increase of sanctity going with elaboration of dairy ritual (cf. ibid. 232). Still lower is the dairyman, who is in no way divine, yet has sanctity as one who maintains a condition of ceremonial purity. (4) Transmissibility. If, however, this activity originates at certain centres, it tends to spread therefrom in all directions. Dr F. B. Jevons (in An Introduction to the History of Religion, vii.) distinguishes between “things taboo,” which have the mystic contagion inherent in them, and “things tabooed,” to which the taboo-infection has been transmitted. In the former class he places supernatural beings (including men with mana as well as ghosts and spirits), blood, new-born children with their mothers, and corpses; which list might be considerably extended, for instance, by the inclusion of natural portents, and animals and plants such as are strikingly odd, dangerous or useful. Any one of these can pass on its sacred quality to other persons and objects (as a corpse defiles the mourner and his clothes), nay to actions, places and times as well (as a corpse will likewise cause work to be tabooed, ground to be set apart, a holy season to be observed). Such transmissibility is commonly explained by the association of ideas, that becoming sacred which as it were reminds one of the sacred; though it is important to add, firstly, that such association takes place under the influence of a selective interest generated by strong religious feeling, and, secondly, that this interest is primarily a collective product, being governed by a social tradition which causes certain possibilities of ideal combination alone to be realized, whilst it is the chief guarantee of the objectivity of what they suggest.
The Exploitation of the Sacred. A. Methods.—It is hard to find terms general enough to cover dealings with the sacred that range from the manipulation of an almost inanimate type of power to intercourse modelled on that between man and man. Primitive religion, however, resorts to either way of approach so indifferently as to prove that there is little or no awareness of an inconsistency of attitude. The radical contrast between mechanical and spiritual religion, though fundamental for modern theology, is alien to the primitive point of view, and is therefore inappropriate to the purposes of anthropological description. (1) Acquisition. Mystic power may be regarded as innate so far as skill, luck or queerness are signs and conditions of its presence. On the whole, however, savage society tends to regard it as something acquired, the product of acts and abstinences having a traditional character for imparting magico-religious virtue. An external symbol in the shape of a ceremony or cult-object is of great assistance to the dim eye of primitive faith. Again, the savage universe is no preserve of man, but is an open field wherein human and non-human activities of all sorts compete on more or less equal terms, yet so that a certain measure of predominance may be secured by a judicious combination of forces. (2) Concentration. Hence the magico-religious society or individual practitioner piles ceremony on ceremony, name of power on name of power, relic on relic, to consolidate the forces within reach and assume direction thereof. The transmissibility of the sacred ensures the fusion of powers drawn from all sources, however disparate. (3) Induction. It is necessary, however, as it were to bring this force to a head. This would appear to be the essential significance of sacrifice, where a number of sacred operations and instruments are made to discharge their efficacy into the victim as into a vat, so that a blessing-yielding, evil-neutralizing force of highest attainable potency is obtained (see H. Hubert and M. Mauss, “Essai sur la nature et la fonction du sacrifice” in L'Année sociologique, ii.). (4) Renovation. An important motif in magico-religious ritual, which may not have been without effect on the development of sacrifice, is, as Dr Frazer's main thesis in The Golden Bough asserts, the imparting of reproductive energy to animals, plants and man himself, its cessation being suggested by such phenomena as old age and the fall of the year. To concentrate, induce and renovate are, however, but aspects of one process of acquisition by the transfusion of a transmissible energy. (5) Demission. Hubert and Mauss show in their penetrating analysis of sacrifice that after the rite has been brought to its culminating point there follows as a pendant a ceremony of re-entry into ordinary life, the idea of which is preserved in the Christian formula Ite, missa est. (6) Insulation. Such deposition of sacredness is but an aspect of the wider method that causes a ring-fence to be erected round the sacred to ward off casual trespassers at once in their own interest and to prevent contamination. We see here a natural outcome of religious awe supported by the spirit of esotericism, and by a sense of the need for an expert handling of that which is so potent for good or ill. (7) Direction. This last consideration brings to notice the fact that throughout magico-religious practice of all kinds the human operator retains a certain control over the issue. In the numberless transitions that, whilst connecting, separate the spell and the prayer we observe as the accompaniment of every mood from extreme imperiousness to extreme humility an abiding will and desire to help the action out. Even “Thy will be done” preserves the echo of a direction, and, needless to say, this is hardly a form of primitive address. At the bottom is the vague feeling that it is man's own self-directed mysterious energy that is at work, however much it needs to be reinforced from without. Meanwhile, tradition strictly prescribes the ways and means of such reinforcement, so that religion becomes largely a matter of sacred lore; and the expert director of rites, who is likewise usually at this stage the leader of society, comes more and more to be needed as an intermediary between the lay portion of the community and the sacred powers.
B. Results.—Hitherto our account of primitive religion has had to move on somewhat abstract lines. His religion is, however, anything but an abstraction to the savage, and stands rather for the whole of his concrete life so far as it is penetrated by a spirit of earnest endeavour. The end and result of primitive religion is, in a word, the consecration of life, the stimulation of the will to live and to do. This bracing of the vital feeling takes place by means of imaginative appeal to the great forces man perceives stirring within him and about him, such appeal proving effective doubtless by reason of the psychological law that to conceive strongly is to imitate. Meanwhile, that there shall be no clashing of conceptions to inhibit the tendency of the idea of an acquired “grace” to realize itself in action, is secured by the complete unanimity of public opinion, dominated as it is by an inveterate custom. To appreciate the consecrating effect of religion on primitive life we have only to look to the churinga-worship of the Central Australians (as described by Spencer and Gillen in The Native Tribes of Central Australia and The Northern Tribes of Central Australia). Contact with these repositories of mystic influence “makes them glad” (Nat. Tr. 165); it likewise makes them “good,” so that they are no longer greedy or selfish (North. Tr. 266); it endows them with second sight (ibid.); it gives them confidence and success in war (Nat. Tr. 135), in fact, there is no end to its “strengthening” effects (ibid. n.). Or, again, we may note the earnestness and solemnity that characterize all their sacred ceremonies. The inwardness of primitive religion is, however, non-existent for those who observe it as uninitiated strangers; whilst, again, it evaporates as soon as native custom breaks down under pressure of civilization, when only fragments of meaningless superstition survive: wherefore do travesties of primitive religion abound.
It remains to consider shortly the consecration of life in relation to particular categories and departments. (1) Education. Almost every tribe has its initiation ceremonies, and in many tribes adult life may almost be described as a continuous initiation. The object of these rites is primarily to impart mystic virtue to the novice, such virtue, in the eyes of the primitive man, being always something more than social usefulness, amounting as it does to a share in the tribal luck by means of association with all it holds sacred. Incidentally the candidate is trained to perform his duties as a tribesman, but religion presides over the course, demanding earnest endeavour of an impressionable age. (2) Government. Where society is most primitive it is most democratic, as in Australia, and magico-religious powers are possessed by the whole body of fully initiated males, age, however, conferring increase of sacred lore and consequently of authority; whilst even at this stage the experts tend to form an inner circle of rulers. The man with mana is bound to come to the top, both because his gifts give him a start and because his success is taken as a sign that he has the gift. A decisive “moment” in the evolution of chiefship is the recognition of hereditary mana, bound up as this is with the handing on of ceremonies and cult-objects. Invested, as society grows more complex, with a sanctity increasingly superior to that of the layman, the priest-king becomes the representative of the community as repository of its luck, whilst, as controller of all sacred forces that bear thereon, he is, as Dr Frazer puts it, “dynamical centre of the universe” (The Golden Bough (2nd ed.), i. 233). Only when the holy man's duty to preserve his holiness binds him hand and foot in a network of taboos does his temporal power tend to devolve on a deputy. (3) Food-supply. In accordance with the principle of Renovation (see above), the root-idea of the application of religion to economics is not the extorting of boons from an unwilling nature, but rather the stimulation of the sources of life, so that all beings alike may increase and multiply. (4) Food-taking. Meanwhile, the primitive meal is always more or less of a sacrament, and there are many food-taboos, the significance of which is, however, not so much that certain foods are unclean and poisonous as that they are of special virtue and must be partaken of solemnly and with circumspection. (5) Kinship. It is hard to say whether the unit of primitive society is the tribe or the group of kinsmen. Both are forms of union that are consolidated by means of religious usages. Thus in Australia the initiation ceremonies, concerned as they partly are with marriage, always an affair between the kin-groups, are tribal, whilst the totemic rites are the prime concern of the members of the totem clans. The significance of a common name and a common blood is immensely enhanced by its association with mystic rights and duties, and the pulse of brotherhood beats faster. (6) The Family. Side by side with the kin there is always found the domestic group, but the latter institution develops fully only as the former weakens, so that the one comes largely to inherit the functions of the other, whilst the tribe too in its turn hands over certain interests. Thus in process of time birth-rites, marriage-rites, funeral rites, not to mention subordinate ceremonies such as those of name-giving and food-taking, become domestic sacraments. (7) Sex. Woman, for certain physiological reasons, is always for primitive peoples hedged round with sanctity, whilst man does all he can to inspire awe of his powers in woman by keeping religion largely in his own hands. The result, so far as woman is concerned, is that, in company with those males who are endowed with sacredness in a more than ordinary degree, she tends as a sex to lose in freedom as much as she gains in respect. (8) Personality. Every one has his modicum of innate mana, or at least may develop it in himself by communicating with powers that can be brought into answering relation by the proper means. Nagualism, or the acquisition of a mystic guardian, is a widely distributed custom, the essence of which probably consists in the procuring of a personal name having potency. The exceptional man is recognized as having mana in a special degree, and a belief thus held at once by others and by himself is bound to stimulate his individuality. The primitive community is not so custom-bound that personality has no chance to make itself felt, and the leader of men possessed of an inner fund of inspiration is the wonder-worker who encourages all forms of social advance.
Psychology of the Primitive Attitude towards the Sacred.—We are on firmer ground when simply describing the phenomena of primitive religion than when seeking to account for these in terms of natural law—in whatever sense the conception of natural law be applicable to the facts of the mental life of man. One thing is certain, namely, that savages stand on virtually one footing with the civilized as regards the type of explanation appropriate to their beliefs and practices. We have no right to refer to “instincts” in the case of primitive man, any more at any rate than we have in our own case. A child of civilized parents brought up from the first amongst savages is a savage, neither more nor less. Though race may count for something in the matter of mental endowment—and at least it would seem to involve differences in weight of brain—it clearly counts for much less than does milieu, to wit, that social environment of ideas and institutions which depends so largely for its effectiveness on mechanical means of tradition, such as the art of writing. The outstanding feature of the mental life of savages known to psychologists as “primitive credulity” is doubtless chiefly due to sheer want of diversity of suggestiveness in their intellectual surroundings. Their notions stick fast because there are no competing notions to dislodge them. Society suffers a sort of perpetual obsession, and remains self-hypnotized as it were within a magic circle of traditional views. A rigid orthodoxy is sustained by means of purblind imitation assisted by no little persecution. Such changes as occur come about, not in consequence of a new direction taken by conscious policy, but rather in the way that fashions in dress alter amongst ourselves, by subconscious, hardly purposive drifting. The crowd rather than the individual is the thinking unit. A proof is the mysterious rapid extinction of savages the moment that their group-life is broken up; they are individually so many lost sheep, without self-reliance or initiative. And the thinking power of a crowd—that is, a mob, not a deliberative assembly—is of a very low order, emotion of a “panicky” type driving it hither and thither like a rudderless ship. However, as the students of mob-psychology have shown, every crowd tends to have its meneur, its mob-leader, the man who sets the cheering or starts the running-away. So too, then, with the primitive society. Grossly ignorant of all that fails outside “the daily round, the common task,” they are full of panicky fears in regard to this unknown, and the primary attitude of society towards it is sheer avoidance, taboo. But the mysterious has another face. To the mob the mob—leader is mysterious in his power of bringing luck and salvation; to himself also he is a wonder, since he wills, and lo! things happen accordingly. He has mana, power, and by means of this mana, felt inwardly by himself, acknowledged by his fellows, he stems the social impulse to run away from a mystery. Not without nervous dread witness the special taboo to which the leader of society is subject—he draws near and strives to constrain, conciliate or cajole the awful forces with which the life of the group is set about. He enters the Holy of Holies; the rest remain without, and are more than half afraid of their mediator. In short, from the standpoint of lay society, the manipulator of the sacred is himself sacred, and shares in all the associations of sacredness. An anthropomorphism which is specifically a “magomorphism” renders the sacred powers increasingly one with the governing element in society, and religion assumes an ethico-political character, whilst correspondingly authority and law are invested with a deeper meaning.
The Abuse of the Sacred.—Lest our picture of primitive religion appear too brightly coloured, a word must be said on the perversions to which the exploitation of the sacred is liable. Envy, malice and uncharitableness are found in primitive society, as elsewhere, and in their behoof the mystic forces are not infrequently unloosed by those who know how to do so. To use the sacred to the detriment of the community, as does, for instance, the expert who casts a spell, or utters a prayer, to his neighbour's hurt, is what primitive society understands by magic (cf. arungquiltha, above), and anthropology has no business to attach any other meaning to the word if it undertakes to interpret the primitive point of view. On the other hand, if those in authority perpetrate in the name of what their society holds sacred, and therefore with its full approval, acts that to the modern mind are cruel, silly or revolting, it is bad science and bad ethics to speak of vice and degradation, unless it can be shown that the community in which these things occur is thereby brought nearer to elimination in the struggle for existence. As a matter of fact, the earlier and more democratic types of primitive society, uncontaminated by our civilization, do not present many features to which the modern conscience can take exception, but display rather the edifying spectacle of religious brotherhoods encouraging themselves by mystical communion to common effort. With the evolution of rank, however, and the concentration of magico-religious power in the hands of certain orders, there is less solidarity and more individualism, or at all events more opportunity for sectional interests to be pursued at other than critical times; whereupon fraud and violence are apt to infect religion. Indeed, as the history of the higher religions shows, religion tends in the end to break away from secular government with its aristocratic traditions, and to revert to the more democratic spirit of the primitive age, having by now obtained a clearer consciousness of its purpose, yet nevertheless clinging to the inveterate forms of human ritual as still adequate to symbolize the consecration of life—the quickening of the will to face life earnestly.
Bibliography.—The number of works dealing with primitive religion is endless. The English reader who is more or less new to the subject is recommended to begin with E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture (4th ed., Lond. 1903), and then to proceed to J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough (2nd ed., Lond. 1900). The latter author's Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship (Lond. 1905) may also be consulted. Only second in importance to the above are W. Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (2nd ed., Lond. 1904); A. Lang, Myth, Ritual and Religion (2nd ed., Lond. 1899), and Magic and Religion (Lond. 1902); E. S. Hartland, The Legend of Perseus (Lond. 1894-1896); F. B. Jevons, An Introduction to the History of Religion (2nd ed., 1902); E. Crawley, The Mystic Rose (Lond. 1902), and The Tree of Life (Lond. 1905). The two last mentioned works perhaps most nearly represent the views taken in the text, which are also developed by the present writer in “Pre-Animistic Religion,” Folk-Lore xi. (1900), “From Spell to Prayer,” Folk-Lore, xv. (1904), and “Is Taboo a Negative Magic?” Anthropological Essays presented to E. B. Tylor (1907); L. R. Farnell, The Evolution of Religion (1905), follows similar lines. The present writer owes something to Goblet d'Alviella, Hibbert Lectures (Lond. 1891), and more to H. Hubert and M. Mauss, “Essai sur la nature et la fonction du sacrifice,” L'Année sociologique, ii.; and “Esquisse d'une théorie générale de la magie,” ibid. vii. If the reader wish to keep pace with the output of literature on this vast subject, he will find L'Année sociologique (1896 onwards) a wonderfully complete bibliographical guide.
Side by side with works of general theory, first-hand authorities should be freely used. To make a selection from these is not easy, but the following at least are very important: R. H. Codrington, The Melanesians (Oxford, 1891); W. B. Spencer and F. J. Gillen, The Native Tribes of Central Australia (Lond. 1899); The Northern Tribes of Central Australia (Lond. 1904); A. W. Howitt, The Native Tribes of South-Eastern Australia (Lond. 1904); A. C. Haddon, Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits (Cambridge, 1904, vol. v.); A. B. Ellis, The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast (Lond. 1897); The Efwe-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast (Lond. 1890); The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast (Lond. 1894); Miss M. H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa (Lond. 1898), and West African Studies (Lond. 1899); A. C. Hollis, The Masai (1905); W. Crooke, The North-West Provinces of India (Lond. 1897); W. H. R. Rivers, The Todas (1906). An immense amount of valuable evidence is to be obtained in the Reports of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington. See Nos. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, and specially J. O. Dorsey, A Study of Siouan Cults, in No. 11; A. C. Fletcher, The Hako, in No. 22; and M. C. Stevenson, The Zuñi Indians, in No. 23. Though dealing primarily with a more advanced culture, J. J. M. de Groot, The Religious System of China (1892-1901), will be found to throw much light on primitive ideas. Finally let it be repeated that there is offered here no more than an introductory course of standard authorities suitable for the English reader. (R. R. M.)
B. The Higher Religions
Various phenomena associated with the religions of the lower culture will be found discussed in the articles on Animism; Fetishism; Magic; Mythology; Prayer; Ritual; Sacrifice; and Totemism. In this article religions are treated from the point of view of morphology, and no attempt can be made in the allotted limits to connect them with the phases of ritual, sociological or ethical development. See the separate articles on each religious system, and the separate headings for different forms of ritual.
1. Developments of Animism.—Animism is not, indeed, itself a religion; it is rather a primitive kind of philosophy which provides the intellectual form for the interpretation alike of Man and of Nature. It implies that the first great step has been taken for distinguishing between the material objects—whether the conscious body, or the rocks, trees and animals—and the powers that act in or through them. The Zuñis of New Mexico, U.S.A., supposed “the sun, moon and stars, the sky, earth and sea, in all their phenomena and elements, and all inanimate objects as well as plants, animals and men, to belong to one great system of all-conscious and interrelated life, in which the degrees of relationship seem to be determined largely, if not wholly, by the degrees of resemblance.” If the earliest conception is that of an obscure undifferentiated animation (panvitalism), the analysis of the human person into body and spirit with the corresponding doctrine of “object-souls” (e.g. the tornait, or “invisible rulers” of every object among the Eskimo) constitutes an important development. Matter is no longer animated or self-acting; it is subject to the will of an agent which can enter or quit it, perhaps at its own pleasure, perhaps at the compulsion of another. The transition has usually been effected ages before the higher religions come into view; but it has left innumerable traces in language and custom. Thus the Vedic hymns, which exhibit the deposits of so many stages of thought, are founded ultimately on the conception of the animation of nature. The objects of the visible world are themselves mighty to hurt or help. The springs and rivers, the wind, the sun, fire, the Earth-Mother, the Sky-Father, are all active powers. The animals, domesticated or wild, like the horse or cow, the guardian dog, the bird of omen, naturally share the same life, and are approached with the same invocation. The sacred energy is also discerned in the ritual implements, in the stones for squeezing the soma-juice, and the sacrificial post to which animals were bound; nay, it was even recognized in fabricated products like the plough (the “tearer” or “divider”), the war-car, the drum, quiver, bow and axe. The Earth-Mother and Sky-Father are to be found again and again in religions, at various stages of development, as co-ordinating conceptions which comprehend the universe. Sometimes one is more prominent, sometimes the other. In many cases the Sky has been already resolved into the visible firmament and its lord and owner, like the Yoruban Olorun or the Finnic Ukko. The consort of Ukko is Maan-emō, “mother of the earth,” or maan emäntä, “mistress of the earth.” But the rare expression maan-emä, “Mother-earth,” still used in the ancient lays, points to the older type of belief in the animation of the productive soil. So the Peruvians designated the Earth as Pachamama, “mother of (all) things.” In Egypt the relation was curiously reversed; the earth-god Keb was the husband of Nut, the sky, represented sometimes as a woman, overarching the earth and supported on hands and feet, sometimes as a gigantic cow, upheld on the outstretched hands of Shu, the atmosphere. When earth and sky were still unseparated, Shu thrust himself between them and raised Nut to the heights. So in the New Zealand myth, Rangi and Papa, Sky and Earth, who once clave together in the darkness, were rent asunder by the forest-god Tane-mahuta, who forced up the sky far above him. The most elaborate presentment of this mode of thought is to be seen in the organized animism of the ancient state religion of China, where the supreme power is lodged in the living sky (Tien). Tien was originally the actual firmament. In the Shi-King it is addressed in prayer as “great and wide,” as “vast and distant”; it is even “blue” (Pt. II. v. 6, 5). So it is the ancestor of all things; and Heaven and Earth are the father and mother of the world. From the imperial point of view the sky bore the name of Ti, “ruler,” or Shang Ti, “supreme ruler” (emperor); and later commentators readily took advantage of this to discriminate between the visible expanse and the indwelling spirit, producing a kind of Theism. But the older conception still holds its own. “Why” (says Edkins, Religion in China, 95), “they have been often asked, should you speak of those things which are dead matter, fashioned from nothing by the hand of God, as living beings? And why not? they have replied. The Sky pours down rain and sunshine; the Earth produces corn and grass. We see them in perpetual movement, and we therefore say that they are living.” Tien Ti, Fu Mu, “Heaven and Earth, Father and Mother,” are conjoined in common speech, and are the supreme objects of imperial worship. The great altar to Heaven, round in shape like the circuit of the sky, and white as the symbol of the light principle (Yang), stands in the southern suburb of Peking in the direction of light and heat. The altar to the Earth is dark and square, on the north side of the city, the region of yin, the principle of cold and gloom. Associated with the Sky are tablets to the sun and moon, the seven stars of the Great Bear, the five planets, the twenty-eight constellations, and all the stars of heaven; tablets to clouds, rain, wind and thunder being placed next to that of the moon. With the Earth are grouped the tablets to the five lofty Mountains, the three Hills of perpetual peace and the four Seas, the five celebrated Mountains and the four great Rivers. The ancient ritual (Chow Li) carefully graded the right of sacrifice from the viceroys of provinces down to the humblest district-superintendent who offered to the spirits of his district, the hills, lakes and grains. With these spirits ranged in feudal order in two vast groups beneath Heaven and Earth is associated a third class, those of human beings. They are designated by the same name, shin; and they are inextricably mingled with the operations of nature. So in the Vedic hymns the departed “Fathers” inhabit the three zones of earth, air and sky; they are invoked with the streams and mountains of this lower earth, as well as with the dawns and the sky itself; even cosmic functions are ascribed to them; and they adorn the heaven with stars. The Chinese conception of the Shin under the name of Shin-to (Chinese tao) or “spirits'-way” profoundly infiuenced Japanese thought from the 6th century A.D. onwards; and the great Shinto revival of the 18th century brought the doctrine again into prominence. The Japanese Kami are the “higher” powers, the superi, conceived as acting through nature on the one hand and government on the other. Just as the emperor is kami, and provincial officers of rank, so also mountains, rivers, the sea, thunder, winds, and even animals like the tiger, wolf or fox, are all kami. The spirits of the dead also become kami, of varying character and position; some reside in the temples built in their honour; some hover near their tombs; but they are constantly active, mingling in the vast multitude of agencies which makes every event in the universe, in the language of Motowori (1730-1801), the act of the Kami. They direct the changing seasons, the wind and the rain; and the good and bad fortunes of individuals, families and states are due to them. Everywhere from birth to death the entire life of man is encompassed and guided by the Kami, which are sometimes reckoned at 8,000,000 in number.
2. Transition to Polytheism.—In such ways does the Polydaemonism of early faith survive in the modern practice of religion. The process of enrolling the spirits of the dead in the ranks of what may be more or less definitely called “gods” may be seen in the popular usages of India at the present day, or traced in the pages of the Peking Gazette under the direction of the Board of Rites, one of the most ancient branches of Chinese administration. Whether the higher polytheisms were produced in this fashion out of the cultus of the dead, may, however, be doubted. Many influences have doubtless contributed, and different races have followed different lines of development. No definite succession like the series of ages marked by the use of stone, bronze and iron can be clearly marked. But there must always have been some correspondence between the stages of social advance (or, in certain cases, of degeneration) and the religious interpretation of the world. The formation of clans and tribes, the transitions from the hunting to the pastoral life, and from the pastoral to the agricultural—the struggle with forest and swamp, the clearings for settlement, the protection of the dwelling-place, the safety of flocks and herds, the production of corn,—the migration of peoples, the founding of colonies, the processes of conquest, fusion, and political union—have all reacted on the elaboration of the higher polytheisms, before bards and poets, priesthoods and theological speculators, began to systematize and regulate the relations of the gods. Certain phases of thought may be more or less clearly indicated; certain elements of race, of local condition, of foreign contact, may be distinguished with more or less historic probability; but no single key can explain all the wide diversity of phenomena. Broadly speaking it may be said that a distinction may be drawn between “spirits” and “gods,” but it is a distinction of degree rather than of kind, obvious enough at the upper end, yet shading off into manifold varieties of resemblance in the lower forms. Some writers only recognize friendly agencies as gods; but destructive powers like the volcano, or the lords of the underworld, cannot be regarded as the protectors of the life of man, yet they seem in many mythologies to attain the full personalised stature of gods with definite names. Early Greek religion recognized a class of gods of Aversion and Riddance, ἀποτρόπαιοι and ἀποπομπαῖοι. Neither the spirit nor the god is conceived as immaterial. They can take food, though the crudest form of this belief soon passes into the more refined notion that they consume the impalpable essence of the meals provided for them. The ancient Indian ritual for the sacrifice to the Fathers required the officiating priest to turn away with bated breath that he might not see the spirits engaged upon the rice-balls laid out for them. The elastic impalpable stuff of the spirit-body is apparently capable of compression or expansion, just as Athena can transform herself into a bird. The spirits can pass swiftly through the air or the water; they can enter the stone or the tree, the animal or the man. The spirit-land of the Ibo on the Lower Niger had its rivers, forests or hills, its towns and roads, as upon earth: the spirits of the Mordvinian mythology, created by Chkaï, not only resembled men, they even possessed the faculty of reproduction by multiplication. The Finns ascribed a haltia or genius to each object, which could, however, guard other individuals of the same species. This is the beginning of the species-god, and implies a step of thought comparable to the production in language of general terms. These protecting spirits were free beings, having form and shape, but not individualized; while above them rose the higher deities like the forest-god Tapio and his maiden Hillervo, protectress of herds, or Ahto the water-god who gradually took the place of Vesi, the actual element originally conceived as itself divine, and ruled over the spirits of lakes and rivers, wells and springs. The Finns came to apply to the upper gods the term Yumala which originally denoted the living sky; the Samoyedes made the same use of Num, and the Mongols of Tengri. Above the innumerable wongs of the Gold Coast rose Nyongmo, the Sky-god, giver of the sunshine and the rain. The Yoruba-speaking peoples generalized the spirits of mountain and hill into Oke, god of heights; and the multitude of local sea-gods on the western half of the slave coast was fused into one god of the Ocean, Olokun. The Babylonian theology recognized a Zi or “spirit” in both men and gods, somewhat resembling the Egyptian “double” or ka; spirits are classed as spirits of heaven and spirits of earth; but the original identity of gods and spirits may be inferred from the fact that the same sign stands before the names of both. Out of the vast mass of undifferentiated powers certain functional deities appear; and the Kami of Japan to-day who preside over the gilds and crafts of industry and agriculture, over the trees and grasses of the field, the operations of the household, and even the kitchen-range, the saucepan, the rice-pot, the well, the garden, the scarecrow and the privy, have their counterparts in the lists of ancient Rome, the indigitamenta over whose contents Tertullian and Augustine made merry. The child was reared under the superintendence of Educa and Potina. Abcona and Adeona taught him to go out and in. Cuba guarded him when he was old enough to exchange a cradle for a bed. Ossipaga strengthened his bones; Levāna helped him to get up, and Statina to stand. There were powers protecting the threshold, the door and the hinge: and the duties of the house, the farm, the mill, had each its appointed guardian. But such powers were hardly persons. The settler who went into the woods might know neither the name nor the sex of the indwelling numen; “si deus si dea,” “sive mas sive femina,” ran the old formulae. So the Baals of the Semitic peoples constituted a group of powers fertilizing the land with water-springs, the givers of corn and wine and oil, out of which under conditions of superior political development a high-god like the Tyrian Baal, the majestic City-King, might be evolved. The Celts who saw the world peopled with the spirits of trees and animals, rocks, mountains, springs and rivers, grouped them in classes like the Dervonnae (oak-spirits), the Niskai (water-spirits), the Proximae, the Matronae (earth-goddesses) and the like. Below the small band of Teutonic divinities were the elves of forest and field, the water-elves or nixes and spirits of house and home. The Vedic deities of the nobler sort, the shining devas, the asuras (the “breathers” or living, perhaps to be identified with the Scandinavian æsir) rose above a vast; multitude of demonic powers, many of them doubtless derived from the local customs and beliefs of the native races whom the immigrant Aryans subdued. In the earliest literary record of Greek religion Homer distinguishes between the θεός and the δαίμων, the personalized god and the numen or divine power. In Homer the element of time is definitely recognized. The gods are the “Immortals.” They are born, and their parentage is known, but they do not die. Zeus is not self-existent in the sense in which the Indian Brahmā is svayambhū, but certain questions have been by implication asked and answered, which the demonology of the savage has not yet raised. But behind Homer stretches the dim scene of pre-Hellenic religion, and the conflict of elements “Pelasgic,” oriental and Hellenic, out of which the Homeric religion emerged; and beneath the Homeric religion how many features of the religion of ghosts and nature-spirits survived in popular usage and the lower cults! When Herodotus (ii. 53) tried to trace the origin of the beliefs around him, he found his way back to an age before Hesiod or Homer, when the gods were nameless. To that age the traditions preserved at Dodona bore witness; and the designations of special groups like the θεοὶ μέγιστοι, θεοὶ μειλίχιοι, θεοὶ πραξιδίκαι, or, possibly, the Venerable Goddesses (θεαί σεμναί) of Athens, point to a mode of thought when the divine Powers were not definitely individualized. They are just at the point of transition from the ranks of spirits to the higher classes of the gods. As they had no names, they had no relations. Nor had any images yet been made of them. They were associated with hallowed trees, with sacred stones and pillars, out of which came the square rough-hewn Hermae which were anointed with oil like the sacred stone attributed by legend to Jacob at Bethel. By what processes the Hellenic immigration introduced new deities and the Greek pantheon was slowly formed, can only be conjecturally traced with the help of archaeology. But Herodotus and Aeschylus were well aware that the religion of Greece had not been uniformly the same; and the gods whom they knew had been developed out of intercourse with other peoples and the succession of races in the obscure and distant past.
3. Polytheism.—The lower and unprogressive religions practically remain in the polydaemonistic stage, though not without occasionally feeling the stimulus of contact with higher faiths, like some of the West African peoples in the presence of the Mahommedan advance. Among the more progressive races, on the other hand, continual processes of elevation and decline may be observed, and the activities of the greater gods are constantly being enriched with new functions. Personal or social experiences of the satisfaction of some desire or escape from some danger are referred to some particular deity. Elements of race-consciousness help to shape the outlook on nature or life: and slight differences of linguistic use in the coining of descriptive terms sometimes lead to the multiplication of divine forms. Exacter observation of nature; closer attention to its contrasts of life and death, or light and darkness, or male and female; the distinction between its permanent objects, and its occasional or recurring operations; the recognition that behind sudden manifestations of power, like the thunder-storm, there are steady forces and continuous cosmic agencies at work—lead to the gradual rise of the higher deities. And from the social side the development of law, the influence of city life, the formation of priesthoods, the connexion of particular deities with the fortunes of dynasties or the vicissitudes of nations, the processes of migration, of conquest and political fusion, the deportations of vanquished peoples, even the sale of slaves to distant lands and the growth of trade and travel, all contribute to the processes which expand and modify different pantheons, and determine the importance of particular deities. In the midst of the bewildering variety, where all types co-exist together and act and react on each other, it is impossible to do more than point out some obvious groups receiving their special forms chiefly from the side (1) of nature, (2) of human life, and (3) from moral or theological speculation. Divine persons, objects or powers, connected with ritual, are not here considered, such as the Brahman priests who claimed to be manushyadevāh (human-gods), or the sacred soma-juice which grew by strange analogies into a mysterious element, linking together heaven and earth.
I. On the side of Nature the lowest rank (1) seems to belong to what Usener has designated “momentary” or “occasional” gods. They embody for the time being a vague consciousness of the divine, which is concentrated for some single act into an outward object, like a warrior's spear or the thunderbolt, or the last sheaf of corn into which the Corn-Mother has been driven. (2) Above these, to use again Usener's nomenclature, are the “special” or “functional” gods, “departmental gods,” as Mr Lang has called them. Such were some of the deities of the Indigitamenta already compared with the Japanese Kami. Among them, for example, were twelve deities of ploughing and harvest operations, who were invoked with Tellus and Ceres. (3) Another class may be seen in the species-deities previously named; the Samoan gods which could become incarnate as a heron or an owl, did not die with particular birds. A dead owl was not a dead god; he yet lived in all other owls. (4) The worship of trees, plants and animals is a particular phase of the wider series of nature-cults, only named here because of its frequency and its obvious survivals in some of the higher polytheism's, where, as in Egypt, the Apis bulls were worshipped; or where, as in Mesopotamia, the great gods are partly symbolized by animal forms; or where, as in Israel, Yahweh might be represented as a bull; or where, as in Greece, such epithets as Dendrites and Endendros preserved traces of the association of Dionysus and Zeus with vegetation; while sacred animals like the serpents of Aesculapius were preserved in the temples. (5) The higher elemental gods sometimes, like the sun, as the Indian Sūrya, the Egyptian Rê, the Babylonian Shamash (Samas), the Greek Helios, retain their distinct connexion with the visible object. It was naturally more easy for a relatively spiritual worship to gather round a god whose name did not immediately suggest a familiar body. No one ever thought of confessing sin, for instance, to a river. But the daily survey of the sun (occasionally also the function of the moon as measurer of time), together with his importance for life, secured him a high moral rank; and Rê, united with the Theban Ammon, became (under the New Empire) the leading god of Egypt for a thousand years, “He who hath made all, the sole One with many hands.” Other deities, like Zeus, rise to the head of a monarchical polytheism, in which their physical base is almost, if not quite, forgotten in cosmic and moral grandeur. The gods are often arranged in groups, three, seven and twelve being frequent numbers. Egyptian summaries recognized gods in the sky, on earth and in the water; gods of the north and south, the east and west, gods of the field and the cities. Indian theologians classified them in three zones, earth, air and sky. Babylonian speculation embraced the world in a triad of divine powers, Anu the god of heaven, Bel of earth and Ea of the deep; and these became the symbols of the order of nature, the divine embodiments of physical law. Sometimes the number three is reached by the distribution of the universe into sky, earth and underworld, and the gods, of death claim their place as the, rulers of the world to come. Among these deities all kinds of relationships are displayed; consorts must be provided for the unwedded, and the family conception, as distinct from the regal, presents a divine father, mother and child. The Ibani in Southern Nigeria recognized Adurn the father-god, Okoba the mother-god and Eberebo the son-god. In Egypt, Osiris, Isis and Horus proved an influential type. Perhaps at a relatively earlier stage maternity alone is emphatically asserted, as in the figure of the Cretan Mother, productive without distinctly sexual character. Or, again, maternity disappears, while parenthood survives, and causation is embodied in a universal “Father of all that are and are to be,” like the Indian Brahmā in the days of Gotama the Buddha.”
II. On the human side polytheism receives fresh groups in connexion with the development of social institutions and national feeling. (1) In the family the hearth-fire is the scene of the protecting care of deity; the gods of the household watch over its welfare. Each Roman householder had his Genius, the women their Junones. These stood at a higher level than the “occasional gods,” having permanent functions of supervision. (2) From the household a series of steps embodied the divine power in higher forms for social and political ends. Hestia presided over cities; there was even a common Hestia for all Greece. The fravashi or ideal type, the genius of both men and gods in the Zend Avesta (possibly connected originally with the cultus of the dead), rises in successive ranks from the worshippers own person through the household, the village, the district and the province, up to the throne of Ahura himself. The Chinese Shin were similarly organized; so (less elaborately) were the Japanese Kami; and the Roman lares, the old local land-gods, found their highest co-ordinating term in the Lares Augusti, just as the Genius was extended to the legion and the colony, and finally to Rome itself. (3) In the case of national deities the tie between god and people is peculiarly close, as when Yahweh of Israel is pitted against Chemosh of Ammon (Judges xi. 24). The great gods of Greece, in their functions as “saviours” and city-guardians, acquire new moral characters, and become really different gods, though they retain the old names. Ashur rises into majestic sovereignty as the “Ruler of all the gods,” the supreme religious form of Assyrian sway: when the empire falls beneath the revived power of Babylon, he fades away and disappears. (4) The earthly counterpart of the heavenly monarch is the divine king, who may be traced back in Egypt, for example, to the remotest antiquity, and who survives to-day among the civilized powers in the emperor of Japan (anciently Arahito-gami, “incarnate Kami”). “To the end of time,” said Motowori (18th century), “the Mikado is the child of the Sun-goddess.” (5) The dead hero (historical or mythic) signalizes his power by gracious saving acts; and Heracles, Asclepius, Amphiaraus, and others pass into the ranks of the gods, which are thus continually recruited from below.
III. A third great group rises out of the sentiments and affections of man, or the moral energies which he sees working in human life. (1) The Vedic Craddhā, “faith,” the Greek Metameleia, “repentance,” the Latin Spes, and a band of other figures, represent the dispositions of the heart; Nemesis and Nikê and Concordia and their kin belong to a somewhat different sphere, the divine powers avenging, conquering, harmonizing the counterparts of the “departmental” gods in the field of moral agencies. (2) Over these theological speculation erects a few lofty and impressive forms; sometimes below the highest, like Vohu Mano, “the Good Mind” of Ahura Mazda; or the Bodhisattva Avalokiteçvara, who vowed not to enter into final peace till every creature had received the saving truth; sometimes supreme, like Brahmā or Prajāpati (“lord of creatures”) in the early Brahmanic theology; or Ādi Buddha, or the Zervan Akarana, “boundless time,” of a kind of Persian gnosticism; or the Θεὸς ὕψιστος whose worship appears among other syncretistic cults of the Roman empire.
4. The Order of Nature.—Polytheism is here on the way to monotheism, and this tendency receives significant support from the recognition of an order in nature which is the ground and framework of social ethics. Not only does a sky-god like Varuna, or a sun-god like the Babylonian Shamash, survey all human things, and take cognizance of the evil-doer, but the daily course of the world is itself the expression of an intellectual and moral power. In the Chinese combination of Heaven and Earth as the parents and nourishes of all things, the energy and action lie with Tien, Earth being docile and receptive. Tien is intelligent and all-observing, and its “sincerity” or steadfastness, displayed in the courses of the sun and moon and the succession of the seasons, becomes the basis of right human conduct, personal and social. The “way” of Heaven, the “course” of Heaven, the “lessons” of Heaven, the law or “decree” (ming) of Heaven, are constantly cited as the pattern for the emperor and his subjects. This conception is even reflected in human nature: “Heaven in giving birth to the multitude of the people, to every faculty and relationship affixed its laws” (Shi King, III. iii. 6; cf. IV. iii. 2, tr. Legge), and the “Grand Unity” forms the source of all moral order (Li Ki, in Sacred Books of the East, xxvii. p. 387). Indian thought presented this Order in a semi-personal form. The great elemental gods imposed their laws (dhāman, dharman, vrata) on the visible objects of nature, the flow of rivers, the march of the heavenly bodies across the sky. But the idea of Law was generalized in the figure of Rita (what is “fitted” or “fixed ”; or the “course” or “path” which is traversed), whose Zend equivalent asha shows that the conception had been reached before the separation of the Eastern Aryans produced the migrations into India and Iran. In the Rig Veda the gods (even those of storm) are again and again described as “born from the Rita,” or born in it, according to it, or of it. Even Heaven and Earth rejoice in the womb or lap of the Rita. In virtue of the mystic identity between the cosmic phenomena and sacrifice, Rita may be also viewed as the principle of the cultus; and from that sphere it passes into conduct and acquires the meaning of morality and is equated with what is “true.” The fundamental idea remains the same in the Zend Asha, its philological counterpart, but it is applied with a difference. Its form is more personal, for Asha is one of the six Holy Immortals round the throne of Ahura Mazda (Auramazda). In the primeval conflict between the powers of good and evil, the Bounteous Spirit chose Asha, the Righteous Order which knit the world together and maintained the stars. The immediacy of the relation between Ahura and Asha is implied in the statements that Ahura created Asha and that he dwells in the paths which proceed from Asha; and when he created the inspired word of Reason, Asha consented with him in his deed. In its ritual form Asha becomes the principle of sacrifice, and hence of holiness, first ritual and then moral. Like Rita, it rises into an object of worship, and in its most exalted aspect (Asha vahista, the “best” Asha, most excellent righteousness) it is identified with Ahura himself, being fourth among his sacred names (Ormazd Yasht, § 7; S.B.E. xxiii. p. 25). Egyptian speculation, in like manner, impersonated the conceptions of physical and moral order as two sides of a fundamental, unity in the goddess Maāt. Derived from the verb mā, “to stretch out,” her name denoted the ideas of right and rule, and covered the notions of order, law, justice and truth, which remained steadfast and unalterable. Mythologically she was the daughter (or the eye) of the sun-god Rê; but she became Lady of Heaven and Queen of Earth, and even Lady of the land of the West, the mysterious habitation of the dead. Each of the great gods was said to be lord or master of Maāt; but from another point of view she “knew no lord or master,” and the particular quality of deity was expressed in the phrase anχ em maāt, “living by Maāt,” which was applied to the gods of the physical world, the sun and moon, the days and hours, as well as to the divine king. She was solemnly offered by the sovereign to his god; and the deity replied by laying her within the heart of his worshipper “to manifest her everlastingly before the gods.” So in the famous scene of the weighing of the soul, which first appears pictorially under the New Empire, she introduces the deceased before the forty-two assessors of the heavenly judge, Osiris, and presides over the scale in which his actions and life are weighed. From the zenith to the realm of the departed she is the “queen of all gods and goddesses.” The Hellenic polytheism of Homer and Hesiod is already at work upon similar ideas, and a whole group of mythic personifications slowly rises into view representing different phases of the same fundamental conception. Themis (root θε = Sanskr. dha, as in dhāman) appears in Horner as the embodiment of what is fit or right; she convenes or dismisses assemblies, she even keeps order at the banquet of the gods. Next, Hesiod supplies a significant biography. She is the daughter of Ouranos and Gaia; and after Metis she becomes the bride of Zeus. Pindar describes her as born in a golden car from the primeval Oceanus, source of all things, to the sacred height of Olympus to be the consort of Zeus the saviour; and she bears the same august epithet, as the symbol of social justice and the refuge for the oppressed. Law was thus the spouse of the sovereign of the sky, but Aeschylus identified her with the Earth (worshipped at Athens as Gē-Themis), not only the kindly Mother, but the goddess who bound herself by fixed rules or laws of nature and life. For the cultus of the earth as the source of fertility was associated with the maintenance of the family, with the operations of agriculture and the social order of marriage. So Themis became the mother of the seasons; the regular sequence of blossom and fruit was her work; and Good Order, Justice and Peace were her offspring. By such conceptions the Hellenic polytheism was moralized; the physical character of the greater gods fell into the background, and the sculptor's art came to the aid of the poet by completely enduing them with personality.
5. Transition to Monotheism.—From the higher Polytheism an easy step leads to some form of Monotheism. The transition may be effected in various ways. Max Müller observed the Vedic poets addressing themselves to the several objects of their devotion, as if each occupied the field alone. Varuna or Indra was for the time being the only god within the worshipper's view; and to this mode of thought he gave the name Henotheism. It obviously reappears elsewhere, as it is the natural attitude of prayer, and may be seen in the pious homage of the pilgrims to the Virgin of Loretto or Einsiedeln. Pfleiderer employed the word to denote a relative monotheism like that of the early religion of Israel, whose teachers demanded that the nation should worship but one god, Yahweh, but did not deny the existence of other gods for other peoples. Yet once again the term has been applied to characterize a whole group of religions, like the Indo-Germanic, which are ultimately founded on the unity of the divine nature in a plurality of divine persons. A designation of such doubtful meaning it seems better (with Chantepie de la Saussaye) to abandon. But the unifying process may advance along different lines. The deities of different local centres may be identified; many such combinations took place in Egypt, and Isis in late days served to her votaries as the unitary principle which appeared in one figure after another of whole pantheons. Again, the gods may be viewed as a collective totality, like the “All-gods” of the Vedic poets, or as at Olympia where there was a “common altar for all the gods” (cf. the frequent Roman dedication in later days, “Jovi optimo maximo caeterisque dis immortalibus”). Or the relation between the inferior deities and the most exalted may be conceived politically and explained by Tertullian's formula, “Imperium penes unum, officia penes multos.” One particular god may be eminent enough, like Zeus, to rise above all others, and supply cultivated thought with a name for the supreme power; and this may be strengthened by the national motive as in the case of Israel. Or philosophic theology may penetrate to an abstract conception of deity, like the Babylonian ’iluth, or the Vedic devatva and asuratva; and some seer may have the courage and insight to formulate the principle that “the great asuratva of the devas is one” (R.V. iii. 55. 1). “The One with many names” was recognized alike in India and in Greece; “πολλῶν ὀνομάτων μορφὴ μία,” says Aeschylus, almost in the words of the Vedic poet. Historians have usually recognized only three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islām. The Christian apologists of the 2nd century, however, found plenty of testimony to their doctrine of the unity of God in the writings of Greek poets and philosophers; it was a commonplace in the revival under the Empire; and among the group of religions embraced under the name Buddhism more than one form must be ranked as monotheistic. The idealist philosophy of the Prajña Pāramitā in the system of the “Great Vehicle” declared that “every phenomenon is the manifestation of mind” (Beal, Catena, p. 303). In the “Lotus of the Good Law” (S.B.E. xxi.) the Buddha is the “Father of the World,” “Self-born” or Uncreate (like the eternal Brahma of the Hindu theology), the protector of all creatures, the Healer (Saviour) of the sickness of their sins. These types have reappeared in Japan. Nichiren taught a philosophical monism in the 13th century which is the basis of a vigorous sect at the present day; and the “True Sect of the Pure Land,” founded by his older contemporary Shin-ran, and now the most numerous, wealthy and powerful of the Buddhist denominations, has dropped the original Gotama altogether out of sight, and permits worship to Amida alone, the sublime figure of “Boundless Light,” whose saving power is appropriated by faith. Here is a monotheism of a definite and clear-cut type, arising apparently by spontaneous development apart from any external impulse. On the other hand, the monotheism of Judaism was subject to serious qualifications. An exuberant demonology admitted all kinds of interfering causes in the field of human life. Above man on earth rose rank after rank of angels in the seven heavens; These were of course created, but they were in their turn the agents of the phenomena of nature, “the angels of the spirit of fire and the angels of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirits of the clouds and of darkness and of snow and of hail and of hoarfrost, and the angels of the voices and of the thunder and of the lightning, and the angels of the spirits of cold and of heat, and of winter and of spring and of autumn and of summer” (Jubilees, tr. R. H. Charles, ii. 2). These powers are of a well-marked animistic type, and correspond to the Chinese Shin, save that they were not incorporated in the cultus. Higher in rank came various mediating forms, like Wisdom, Memra (the Word) or Shekinah (the Presence), more or less definitely personalized. Mahommedanism still recognizes innumerable jinn peopling the solitudes of the desert, and over the grave of the deceased saint a little mosque is built, and prayers are offered and miracles performed. Christianity has, in like manner, in the course of its long and eventful history, admitted numerous agencies within the sphere of superhuman causation. The Virgin, the angelic hierarchy, the saints, have received the believer's homage, and answered his petitions. Theology might draw subtle distinctions between different forms of devotion; but, tried by the comparisons of the anthropologist, the monotheism even of historical Christianity cannot be strictly maintained.
6. Classification.—In the panorama of religious development thus briefly sketched, the different stages constantly appear to shade off into one another, and any one of the higher seems to contain elements of all the rest. This is the great difficulty of classification. All religions, even the most conservative and traditional, are in constant flux, they either advance or decay. In these processes, which do not take place at equal rates in different cases, all kinds of survivals remain lodged, and embarrass every attempt to fix the place of specific religions in any general course of development. The theologian, the philosopher, the historian, have all tried their hands at distribution. (i.) The 18th-century divine who divided religions into True and False grimly remarked that the second chapter was much the longer of the two. The corresponding distinction into Natural and Revealed breaks down in view of the fact that revelation by dream and oracle, by inspired seer or divine teacher and law-giver, is a practically universal phenomenon in more or less distinctly defined forms. (ii.) Philosophy, in the person of Hegel, classified religion in a threefold form: (a) the religion of Nature, (b) the religion of Spiritual Individuality, (c) the Absolute Religion (Christianity). The subdivisions of this scheme have been long since abandoned, as the progress of knowledge rendered them untenable. K. F. A. Wuttke, however, adopted its fundamental idea and distinguished three periods or phases: (1) the objective, producing the religions of nature; (2) the subjective, God as comprehended in the individual mind; (3) God as Absolute Spirit. In the same way Dr Edward Caird recognizes three similar stages: (1) objective consciousness, the divine in nature; (2) self-consciousness, the divine in man (e.g. Judaism, Stoicism, and modern philosophy of the type of Kant); (3) God-consciousness, where God is above the contrast of subject and object, yet is revealed in both (Christianity). (iii.) On the historical side numerous bases have been suggested. (1) Max Müller proposed to group religions ethnologically by tests of language. This had the obvious advantage of lifting two great families into prominence, the Semitic and the Indo-Germanic. The Semitic peoples were closely bound together by common types of thought and civilization, and produced three of the leading religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islām. But a glance at the table of Indo-Germanic religions drawn up by Tiele (Ency. Brit., 9th ed., vol. xx. p. 360) will show what diversified products are blended together. Why should philosophical Brahmanism, or the Buddhism which reacted against it, be associated with so undeveloped a form as the religion of the ancient Latin settlers in mid-Italy? And why, on the other hand, should the religions of the lower culture, which are practically of a common type, be separated genealogically into numerous independent families? (2) Whitney found the most important distinction to lie between religions which were the collective product of the wisdom of the community, race-religions as they might be called, and those which proceeded from individual founders. But, as Tiele pointed out, the “individual” element cannot be eliminated from the “race-religion,” where each myth has been first uttered, each rite first performed, by some single person. And the founder who enters history with an impressive personality can only do his work through the response made to him by the insight and feeling of his time. (3) Kuenen disengaged another characteristic, the scope and aim of any given religion; was it limited to a particular people, or could it be thrown open to the world? On this foundation the higher religions were classed as national or universal, the latter group being formerly supposed to include Buddhism, Christianity and Mahommedanism. Here, once more, the student is confronted with many qualifications. A missionary religion like Mithraism, which established itself all the way from Western Asia to the borders of Scotland, was certainly not “national.” Judaism and Brahmanism both passed beyond the confines of race. The Confucian morality could be adopted without difficulty in Japan. In other words, there was either a definite tendency to expansion, or there was no impediment in the religion itself when circumstances promoted its transplantation. Further, there are elements of Islām, like the usages of the hajj (or pilgrimage to the sacred places at Mecca), the dryness of its official doctrine and the limitations of its real character as indicated in the Wahhābi revival, which so impair its apparent universalism that Kuenen found himself obliged to withdraw it from the highest rank of religions. (4) Professor M. Jastrow, jun., starting from the relation of religion to life, distinguishes four groups, the religions of savages, the religions of primitive culture, the religions of advanced culture and the religions which emphasize as an ideal the coextensiveness of religion with life. It may, however, be doubted whether the fundamental assumption of such a scheme, viz. that in the life of the savage religion plays a comparatively small part, can be satisfactorily established. The evidence rather implies that, so far as the sanctions of religion affect the savage at all, they affect him with unusual force. In the absence of other competing interests his religious beliefs and duties occupy a much larger share of his attention than the votaries of many higher faiths bestow on theirs; and though his ethical range may be very limited, yet the total influence of his religion in determining for him what he may do and what he may not, brings the greater part of conduct under its control. The savage who finds himself encompassed by taboos which he dare not break, lives up to his religion with a faithfuhiess which many professing Christians fail to reach. (5) There remains a broad distinction between religions that are in the main founded on the relation of man to the powers of Nature, and those based on ethical ideas, which partly corresponds to the philosophical division already cited. This enabled Professor Tiele to arrange the chief religions in certain groups, starting from the primitive conception of the common life of the objects of the surrounding scene:—
|1.||Polyzoic Naturalism (hypothetical).|
|2.||Polydemonistic-magical religions under the control of Animism (religions of savages).|
|3.||Purified or organized magical religions. Therianthropic Polytheism.|
|(a)||Unorganized (religions of the Japanese, Dravidians, Finns, Esths, the ancient Arabs, the ancient Pelasgi, the Old-Italian peoples, the Etruscans (?), the Old-Slavs).|
|(b)||Organized (religions of the half-civilized peoples of America, ancient Chinese state-religion, religion of the Egyptians).|
|4.||Worship of beings in human form, but of superhuman power and half-ethical nature. Anthropomorphic polytheism (religions of the Vedic lndians, the ancient Persians, the later Babylonians and Assyrians, the advanced Semites, the Kelts, Germans, Hellenes, Greeks and Romans).|
|II.||Ethical Religions (spiritualistic ethical religions of Revelation)—|
|1.||National Nomistic (nomothetic) Religious Communions (Taoism and Confucianism, Brahmanism, jainism, Mazdeism, Mosaism and Judaism, the two last already passing into 2).|
|2.||Universalistic Religious Communions (Buddhism, Christianity: Islām with its particularistic and nomistic elements only partially belongs to this group).|
7. Revelation.—The second group in this division practically corresponds to the second stage recognized by Caird; but it rests upon a somewhat different basis, the conception of revelation addressed to the conscience in the form of religious law. Neither Taoism nor Confucianism, indeed, makes this claim. The Tao-teh-king, or book of aphorisms on “the Tao and virtue” ascribed to Lao Tsze, is wholly unlike such a composition as Deuteronomy; and the disciples of Confucius carefully refrained from attributing to him any kind of supernatural inspiration in his conversations about social and personal morality. The sacred literature's of India and Israel, however, present many analogies, and emerge out of a wide range of phenomena which have their roots in the practices of the lower culture. The belief that the Powers controlling man's life are willing upon occasion to disclose something of their purpose, has led to widespread rites of divination, which Plato described as the “art of fellowship between gods and men,” and the Stoics defended on grounds of a priori religious expectation as well as of universal experience. Through the dream the living was put into communication with the dead, which sometimes embodied itself in peculiar and pathetic literary forms, such as the Icelandic dream-verses imparted by the spirits of those who had been lost at sea or overwhelmed by the snow; and a whole series of steps leads up from necromancy to prophecy and oracle, as the higher gods become the teachers of men. The gods of revelation are naturally not the highest, since they appear as the interpreters of one superior to themselves. The revealing agency may be only a voice like Aius Locutius, to which the Romans raised a temple; or, like Hermes, he may be the messenger of the gods; or, like Marduk, pre-eminently the god of oracles in Babylonia, he may be the son of Ea, the mighty deep encompassing the earth, source of all Wisdom and culture. To Marduk the prophet-god Nabu in his turn became son, and his consort Tashmit (“causing to hear”) was the personification of Revelation. Egyptian thought ascribed this function to Thoth, who played somewhat different parts in different systems, but emerges as the representative of the immanent intelligence of the world, brother of Maāt and the giver of laws and culture to man. Thoth “the thrice-great” passed into Hermes Trismegistus whom Christian fathers could recognize, when the supremely beautiful figure of Greek theology, Apollo, had lost his dignity and ceased to be desired. Thoth was a voluminous author, and the collection of forty-two books which bore his name was a kind of primitive cyclopaedia of theology, astronomy, geography and physiology. Apollo proclaims at his birth that he will declare the counsel of Father Zeus to men. But his utterances have been only casually preserved. A special literature of oracles did indeed arise; the divine words were collected and the circumstances which produced them were recorded; and had Delphi become in fact the centre of Greece, as Plato conceived it, here might have been the nucleus of a scripture. Theories of inspiration lurk behind the rich vocabulary of Greek prophecy; the seer is ἔνθεος, θεόληπτος, θεόπνευστος, θεοφόρητος, and Bakis and Musaeus give their names to sacred verses. The story of the Sibylline books in Rome, on the other hand, shows the growth of the idea of authority. They are deposited in a temple, in charge of a small sacred college; new deities and rites are introduced under their sanction; when they are accidentally destroyed, envoys are sent to the East and fresh collections are made; these are in their turn purged, the false are discarded and the true reverently preserved. By what method the books were consulted is not known; but they exhibit the idea of a sacred canon in process of formation. The theologians of India guarded their ancient hymns with the utmost care. A vast literary apparatus was devised for their protection. The famous Purusha-hymn (R.V. x. 90) already claimed a divine origin for the three Vedas, the Rik, the Sāman and the Yajush. The “triple knowledge” was sometimes derived from the “Lord of Creatures” Prajāpati—one of the unifying forms of Brahmanical theology—through Vāc or “speech.” The Veda, that is to say, had existed in the divine mind ere it was made known to men, and as such it belonged to the realm of the deathless and the infinite. The tribal poets were supposed to have “seen” the heavenly originals; elaborate arguments were devised to explain how the names of particular objects like rivers and mountains could have existed in the Eternal; while the grounds of belief in the infallibility of the sacred verses were enforced with the double weight of philosophy and tradition. Buddhism repudiated the authority of the Veda, but found it needful to supply its place; and the word of the omniscient Teacher, faithfully reported by his disciples and guaranteed by concurrent traditions, became the rule of belief for the new Order. Nor were the authors of the scriptures whose fragments are preserved in the Zend Avesta less conscious of their divine value. The ancient Gāthās, which were supposed to be the composition of Zarathustra himself, received the homage of later worshippers. Daena, the ideal personification of law and religion, is the object of praise and sacrifice. She dwells on high in the Heavenly Home, the radiant “Abode of song,” but Zarathustra summons her thence, begs for her fellowship, and prays her for righteousness of thought, speech and deed. She is produced by Vohu Mano, the “Good Thought” of Ahura, one of the six Holy Immortals; she thus belongs to the ideal creation before the earth and its inhabitants; but how the heavenly Daena was wrought by Zarathustra into written form is nowhere stated. This conception of pre-existent spiritual counterparts was not without influence on the later theology of Israel. The sacred law (Torah) was the earthly reproduction of a heavenly Torah which had no origin in time, and constituted the sum of ideal wisdom into which God looked when he would create the world. Even Mahommedanism felt the spell of the same modes of thought. The idea of revelation was expressed by “sending down” (from nazala, to descend); that which passed from heaven to earth was a pre-existent word, eternal as God Himself. Allusions in particular passages of the Koran to the “mother of the scripture,” the invisible originals of the prophet's speech, led to the doctrine of its uncreated being. The whole history of religion presents perhaps no more singular spectacle than the mosques of Bagdad in the middle of the 9th century filled with vast crowds of twenty and thirty thousand of the faithful, assembled to discuss the dogmas of the created and the uncreated Koran.
8. Ethics and Eschalology.—The second distinguishing mark in Tiele's higher group is implied in the term “Ethical.” By this it is not intended to assert that moral ideas are wanting in the so-called “naturist” religions. Anthropologists have, it is true, taken widely different views of the relation of ethics and religion, and the stage at which an effective alliance between them might be recognized. Like all problems of origins, the question is necessarily extremely obscure, and cannot be definitely settled by historical evidence. Broadly speaking, however, it may be said that the attempt to show that certain savages are destitute of moral feeling cannot be sustained; and evidence has been already cited above (in the section on Primitive Religion) proving the varied and immediate effects of religion on the life of the lowest tribes. Continuous interaction marks the slow courses of advance. At a very early period in social development the rules of conduct are referred to some higher source. Thus among the tribes of south-eastern Australia described by Mr Howitt, the native rites and laws handed down from generation to generation were supposed to have been first imparted by some higher being such as Nurrundere, who made all things on the earth; or Nurelli, who created the whole country, with the rivers, trees and animals; or Daramulun, who (like Nurrundere) bestowed weapons on the men, and instituted the rites and ceremonies connected with life and death. As religion advances with improved social organization, a series of figures, partly human, partly divine, embodies the idea that the command of nature implied in the progress of the arts is due to some kind of instruction from above, and that the obligations of law are of more than human origin. The Algonquin Manibozho and Quetzalcoatl of Mexico stand for a whole group of typical personalities in North and Central America. The mysterious fish-man Oannes, who taught the primitive inhabitants of Babylonia, according to Alexander Polyhistor, has been identified with Ea, god of the deep, the source of wisdom, culture and social order. Zeus gave laws to Minos; Apollo revealed the Spartan constitution to Lycurgus; Zaleucus received the laws for the Locrians from Athena in a dream; Vishnu and Manu condescended to draw up law-books in India. The worship of ancestors has again and again gathered around it powerful and ethical influences, emphasizing the parental and filial relations, and strengthening the mutual obligations of communal life. Hirata answered by anticipation the modern reproach against Shinto, founded on the absence of any definite morality connected with it, by laying down the simple rule, “Act so that you need not be ashamed before the Kami of the unseen.” The mythological embodiments of the connexion of law in nature with the social and moral order have already been briefly noted: a few words may be said in conclusion on another product of the union of religion and ethics, viz. the doctrine of judgment after death. That this doctrine is not essential to a highly moralized religion is clear from the fact that it formed no part of the earlier Hebrew prophecy. Judgment, indeed, was an inevitable outcome of the sovereignty of Yahweh, but it would be passed upon the nation in the immediate scene of its misdoings; and even when the scope of the divine doom was extended to include the nations of the world, it was still upon the living that it would alight. The seers of Israel were content to dismiss their dead to a land of silence and darkness, the vast hollow gloom of the subterranean Sheol. A far ruder outlook on life, however, which has again and again appealed to some form of the divine cognizance by means of the ordeal and the oath, frequently supplements the moral issues of this world by the judicial award of the next. Assuming the proper fulfilment of the ritual of death, ethics gradually extends its control over the future. At first the social distinctions of this life are simply continued hereafter: the chief remains a chief, the slave a slave; and the conditions of the future only prolong those of the present. In so far as tribal eminence depends on superior skill or courage or wisdom, the germs of ethical differentiation may be discovered even here. The process is carried further (1) in individual cases of retribution, when (as among the Kaupuis) crime within the tribe was punished, and a murderer becomes in the next life his victim's slave; or (2) when service to the community received special reward, and warriors who had fallen in battle, women who had died in childbirth and merchants who had perished on a journey were sent in Mexico to the house of the sun. As the social order acquires more definiteness and stability, the control of life by the gods tends to become more clearly moralized. This brings with it new standards independent of clan-customs or tribe-usage. Only the worst offences, however, at first draw down post-mortem punishment. The Homeric Erinyes chastise outrages on the poor, injuries to guests, failure to show the respect due to parents or to recognize the rights of age, in this life; only on perjury does the divine doom extend to the next. On the other hand, the Egyptian version of “the whole duty of man” in the famous 125th chapter of the Book of the Dead embraces a singular complex of ritual, social and personal sins, in which the inward states of lying, anger and ill-will are condemned along with murder, theft and adultery, beside violation of the times of offerings to the gods, or interference with the food of the blessed dead. The great judgment of Osiris formulates with the utmost precision the alliance between morals and religion. The doctrine established itself in Greek theology under the influence of Orphism, and supplied Plato with mythic forms for his “criticism of life.” In India the union of morality and religion was effected in another manner. True, Yama, first of men to enter the world beyond, became the “King of Righteousness” before whose tribunal the dead must appear. But a new agency began to engage the speculations of thinkers, the moral values of action embodied in the Deed. “The deed does not perish,” ran an early formula. “A man is born into the world that he has made, ” said another: and what was laid down first as a ritual principle survived as an ethical. Buddhism conceived men as constantly making their own world for good and ill; it took over from Brahmanism a whole series of heavens and hells to provide an exact adjustment in the future for the virtue or vice of the present; and its eschatology confidence was one of the potent instruments of its success in countries which, like China and Japan, had developed no theories of retribution or reward beyond the grave. Along, a different line of thought the Iranian teachers, beholding the world divided between hostile powers, demanded, as the fundamental postulate of religion, the victory of the good. The conflict must end with the triumph of light, truth and right. The details of this remarkable scheme must be studied elsewhere (see Zoroaster). The award of the angel-judges at the Bridge of Assembly, soon after death, dispatched the individual to his appropriate lot in the homes of Good or Evil Thought, Word and Deed. But at length the long struggle would draw to an end. The great “divine event,” the frasho-kereti, the renovation, would set in. A new heaven and a new earth would be created: a general resurrection should take place; the powers of evil should be overthrown and extinguished; and hell should be brought back for the enlargement of the world. Eschatology has again and again expressed the alliance between ethics and religion. It remains for the future to show how long that alliance will require its support.
Bibliography.—(For primitive religion see preceding section.) Only a selection of the copious and ever-increasing literature can here be named. Monographs on the separate religions are named in their respective articles.
1. After Hume's Natural Hist. of Religions (1757) earlier surveys will be found in Meiners, Allgem. Krit. Gesch. der Religionen (2 vols., 1806-7); Constant, De la religion (5 vols., 1824-31); Baur, Symbolik und Mythologie (3 vols., 1825); Creuzer, Symbolik und Mythol. der alten Völker³ (1837); F. D. Maurice, The Religions of the World (1846); Hardwick, Christ and other Masters (4 vols., 1855-59); Döllinger, The Gentile and the Jew (2 vols., 1863). On Mythology and Religion English study was chiefly influenced by F. Max Müller, Essay on Comparative Mythology (1856); Chips from a German Workshop (1867 onwards); Lectures on the Science of Language (2 vols., 1861-64); Contributions to the Science of Mythology (2 vols., 1897); cf. A. Lang, Modern Mythology (1897). Earlier Anthropology, Bastian, Der Mensch in der Gesch. (3 vols., Leipzig, 1860); Waitz-Gerland, Anthropologie² (6 vols., Leipzig, 1877).
2. Translations from the Scriptures of various religions.—Sacred Books of the East (49 vols., 1879 and onwards); Annales du Musée Guimet (1880 and onwards).
3. Manuals, treatises and series in single or collective authorship.—C. P. Tiele, Outlines of the History of Religion, tr. Carpenter (London, 1877); Gesch. der Religion im Alterthum, tr. Gehrich (2 vols., Gotha, 1895-98); Kompendium der Religionsgesch., tr. Weber (Breslau, 1903); G. Rawlinson, Religions of the Ancient World (London, 1882); Religious Systems of the World, by various authors (London, 1890); Menzies, Hist. of Religion (1895); Orelli, Allgemeine Religionsgesch. (Bonn, 1899); Great Religions of the World, by various authors (1901); Bousset, Das Wesen der Religion (Halle, 1903); Eng. trans., What is Religion? (London, 1907); Chantepie de la Saussaye, Religionsgesch.³ (2 vols., 1905); Achelis, Abriss der Vergleichenden Religionswissenschaft (Sammlung Göschen); “Die Orientalischen Religionen” (in Die Kultur der Gegenwart), by various authors (1906); Pfleiderer, Religion und Religionen (Berlin, 1906); Eng. trans., Religion and Historic Faiths (London, 1907); Haarlem Series, Die Voornaamste Godsdiensten, beginning with Islam, by Dozy (1863 onwards); Soc. for Promotion of Christian Knowledge, Non-Christian Religions; Hibbert Lectures on The Origin and Growth of Religion (15 vols., beginning with F. Max Müller, 1878); Aschendorff's series, Darstellungen aus dem Gebiete der Nichtchristl. Religionsgesch. (14 vols., Münster i.w., beginning 1890); Handbooks on the History of Religions, ed. Jastrow, beginning with Hopkins on India (1895); American Lectures on the History of Religions, beginning with Rhys Davids on Buddhism (1896); Constable's series, Religions, Ancient and Modern (London, beginning 1905), brief and popular; J. Freeman Clarke, Ten Great Religions (Boston, 1871); S. Johnson, Oriental Religions, &c. (3 vols.); India² (London, 1873); China (Boston, 1877); Persia (1885); Lippert, Die Religionen der Europäischen Cultur-Völker (Berlin, 1881); A. Réville, Prolégom. de l'hist. des rel. (Paris, 1881; Engl. trans., 1884); Les Rel. des peuples non-civilisés (2 vols., Paris, 1883); Rel. du Mexique (1885); Rel. chinoise (1889); Letourneau, L'Evolution religieuse² (Paris, 1898); Publications of the École des hautes études, section des sciences religieuses; and Annales du Musée Guimet, “Bibliothèque de Vulgarisation.”
4. Works bearing on history.—Fustel de Coulanges, La Cité antique (Paris, 1864); Lubbock, Origin of Civilization (1870); Whitney, Oriental and Linguistic Studies (New York, 1872 and 1874); Brinton, The Religious Sentiment (1876); Myths of the New World² (New York, 1876); Essays of an Americanist (1890); Religions of Primitive Peoples (1897); Keary, Outlines of Primitive Belief (London, 1882); Leblois, Les Bibles et les initiateurs de l'humanité (4 vols. in 7 parts, Paris, 1883); Goblet d'Alviella, Introd. à l'hist. générale des religions (Brussels, 1887); La Migration des symboles (Paris, 1891); Hartland, The Legend of Perseus (3 vols., London, 1894); Ratzel, The History of Mankind, tr. Butler (3 vols., London, 1896); Usener, Götternamen (Bonn, 1896): Grant Allen, The Evolution of the Idea of God (London, 1897); Forlong, Short Studies in the Science of Comp. Religions (London, 1897); Lang, The Making of Religion (1898); Lyall, Asiatic Studies² (2 vols., London, 1809); Baissac, Les Origines de la religion² (Paris, 1899); Marillier, “Religion,” Grande Encyclop. xxviii. (Paris, 1900); Maculloch, Comparative Theol. (1902); Dieterich, Mutter Erde (Leipzig, 1905); S. Reinach, Cultes, mythes et religions (2 vols., Paris, 1905-6); Frazer, Adonis, Attis and Osiris (1906); Ed. Meyer, Gesch. des Alterthums², I. i. “Einleitung: Elemente der Anthropologie” (1907).
5. Psychology, Philosophy and History.—Hege, Philosophy of Religion (Eng. trans., 3 vols., 1895); Pfleiderer, Die Religion (2 vols., Berlin, 1869); Philos. of Religion, vol. iii. (Engl. trans., London, 1888); Religionsphilosophie³ (Berlin, 1896); F. Max Müller, Introd. to the Science of Religion (1873); Hibbert Lectures (1878); Gifford Lectures (4 vols., 1889-93); Spencer, Principles of Sociology, i. (1876); Fairbairn, Studies in the Philosophy of Religion and History (1876); E. von Hartmann, Das Relig. Bewusstsein der Menschheit (Berlin, 1882); Rauwenhoff, Weisbegeerte van den Godsdienst (Leiden, 1887); E. Caird, The Evolution of Religion (2 vols., 1893); Siebeck, Lehrbuch der Religionsphilosophie (Freiburg i. B., 1893); Tiele, Elements of the Science of Religion (2 vols., 1897); Raoul de la Grasserie, Des religions comparés au point de vue sociologique, and De la psycholgie des religions (Paris, 1899); Starbuck, Psychology of Religion (London, 1900); Jastrow, The Study of Religion (London, 1901); W. James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1903); Dorner, Grundriss der Religionsphilosophie (Leipzig, 1903); Girgensohn, Die Religion, ihre Psychischen Formen und ihre Zentralidee (Leipzig, 1903); Wundt, Völkerpsychologie, Bd. ii. Mythus und Religion (1905-6); Ladd, The Philosophy of Religion (2 vols., London, 1906); Höffding, The Philosophy of Religion (Engl. trans., 1906); Westermaarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, i. (London, 1906); Hobhouse, Morals in Evolution (2 vols., London, 1906).
6. Periodicals, &c.—Revue de l'hist. des religions (Paris, 1880 onwards); Folk-Lore (London, 1890 onwards); Archiv. für Religionswissenschaft (Freiburg i. B., 1898 onwards); L'Année sociologique (Paris, 1898 onwards); Actes du premier congrès international d'histoire des religions (Paris, 1900); Verhandlungen des II. Internationalen Kongresses für Allgemeine Religionsgeschichte in Basel (1904).
Much information on the growth and present condition of the study has been collected by Jordan, Comparative Religion, its Genesis and Growth (Edinburg, 1905).
- (J. E. C.)
- This does not, of course, preclude the possibility of degeneration in particular instances.
- Comte's own term “fetishism” was most unfortunately misleading (see Fetishism). Marett proposed the term “Animatism,” Folk Lore (1900), xi. p. 171.
- See his treatise on The Making of Religion (1898), and Hartland's article on “The ‘High Gods’ of Australia,” Folk Lore (1898), ix. p. 290.
- F. H. Cushing, on “Zuñi Fetiches” in Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Washington, 1883, p. 9.
- Dr. Franz Boas, in the Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1888, p. 591.
- The Japanese name is Ame-tsuchi, “heaven and earth,” a translation of the Chinese ten-chi, Aston, Shinto (1905), p. 35.
- Castrén, Finnische Mythologie, p. 86.
- Erman, Handbook of Egyptian Religion (1907), pp. 8, 12.
- Sir George Grey, Polynesian Mythology (1855), pp. 1-4.
- The English “Heaven” has acquired a quasi-personal meaning, and is usually employed as its equivalent, but, like the Jewish use (e.g. Luke xv. 18), tends to carry too definite religious associations with it.
- Blodget, on “The Chinese Worship of Heaven and Earth,” Journ. of the American Oriental Society, xx. p. 58 ff.
- So the epithet ’êl might be applied in Hebrew to men of might, to lofty cedars, or mountains of unusual height, as well as to the Supreme Being.
- See E. M. Satow, “Revival of Pure Shinto,” Trans. As. Soc. of Japan, vol. iii. pt. 1 (1875), Appendix, p. 26.
- Leonard, The Lower Niger and its Tribes (1906), p. 186.
- Mainof, “Les Restes de la mythologie mordvine,” Journal de la Soc. Finno-Ougrienne, v. (1889), p. 102.
- Castrén, Finn. Mythol. pp. 92 ff., 72.
- Ibid. pp. 7, 14, 17, 24.
- A. B. Ellis, The Yoruba-speaking Peoples (1894), p. 289.
- Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (1898), p. 181. The Zuñis applied the term ā-hâi “All-Life” or “the Beings” to all supernatural beings, men, animals, plants, and many objects in nature regarded as personal existences, as well as to the higher anthropomorphic powers known as “Finishers or Makers of the Paths of Life,” Report of Bureau of Ethnol. (1883), p. 11. On the distinction between “gods” and “spirits,” cf. Ed. Meyer, Gesch. des Alterthums, 2nd ed. Band i. erste Haelfte (1907), p. 97 ff.
- Tert. De Anima, 39 Aug. De Civ. Dei, iv. 11, &c.
- On the Dei Certi and the Dei Incerti, see von Domaszewski in the Archiv für Religionswiss., x. (1907), pp. 1-17.
- Cf. the groups of “Mothers” in modern India, of various origins, Crooke, Popular Religion and Folklore (2), i. 111.
- Cf. Andrew Lang, Myth, Ritual and Religion; and Miss Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion.
- Cf. A. J. Evans, on The Mycenean Tree and Pillar Cult (1901), and Sir W. M. Ramsay, “Religion of Greece and Asia Minor,” in Hastings' Dict. of the Bible, extra vol.
- Götternamen, Bonn, 1896, p. 279 ff. But cp. Dr Farnell's essay “On the Place of the Sonder-Götter in Greek Polytheism,” in Anthropological Essays presented to Edward Burnett Tylor (1907), p. 81.
- Ibid. pp. 285, 286.
- Frazer, The Golden Bough (2), ii. 170-1.
- Götternamen, p. 75.
- Turner, Samoa, 1884, p. 21.
- Cf. de Visser, Die nicht Menschen-Gestaltigen Götter der Griechen (Leiden, 1903).
- Jastrow, Rel. of Babylonia, p. 432.
- Leonard, The Lower Niger and its Tribes, p. 354.
- Cf. Farnell, Cults of Greece, iii. 295.
- Dīgha Nikāya, i. 18.
- This is denied by Tiele, Religion im Altertum, tr. Gehrich, ii. (1898), p. 259.
- Cf. Yasna, lxxi. 18; S.B.E. xxxi. p. 331; and Söderblom's essay in the Rev. de l'hist. des religions, xxxix. (1899), pp. 229, 373.
- Hirata's morning prayer in the last century included 800 myriads of celestial kami, 800 myriads of ancestral kami, the 1500 myriads to whom are consecrated the great and small temples in all provinces, all islands, and all places of the great land of eight islands, &c.
- Moret, Du caractère religieux de la. royauté pharaonique (1902). For instances in the lower culture see Frazer, Golden Bough (2), i. 140 ff.
- Worshipped at Argos. Usener, Götternamen, p. 366.
- Cf. Max Müller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion (Hibbert Lect., 1878), v., and the Vedic treatises of Ludwig, Bergaigne and Wallis.
- Yasna, xxx. 5; Sacred Books of the East, xxxi. p. 30; cf. pp. 44, 51, 248.
- Cf. Renouf, Hibbert Lectures, p. 119; Brugsch, Rel. und Mythol., p. 477; Wiedemann, Arm. du Musée Guimet, x. p. 561; Budge, Gods of Egypt, i. p. 416.
- Cf. Διὸς Θέμιστες, Od. xvi. 403; cf. Apollo, Hom. Hymn. 394.
- Theog. 135, 901.
- Fr. 6, 7; Ol. viii. 29.
- Farnell, however, supposes that Gē acquired the cult-appellative through her prophetic character (Cults of the Greek States, iii. p. 12). The union of Zeus and Themis is, then, a later equivalent of the marriage of Zeus and Earth (ibid. p. 14).
- Paus. v. 17; Hes. Theog. 901; Pindar, Ol. xiii. 6; ix. 26.
- Or Kathenotheism, a term which did not succeed in gaining permanent support, Hibbert Lect., p. 271.
- R.V. i. 164. 46, “Men call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni. . . . Poets name variously what is but one.”
- Cf. Carpenter, “Japanese Buddhism,” in Hibbert Journal, April 1906, p. 522.
- Cf. Goldziher, Rev. de l'Hist. des Rel. ii. 257; Weir, The Shaikhs of Morocco (1904).
- Broughton, Dict. of all Religions (1745), preface.
- Philosophy of Religion (Eng. trans.), i. p. 266.
- Geschichte des Heidenthums (1852), i. p. 95.
- Evolution of Religion (1893), lect. vii.
- Princeton Review, May 1881, quoted by Tiele, Elements of the Science of Religion (1897), i. p. 42.
- National Religions and Universal Religions (Hibbert Lectures, 1882.
- Ency. Brit., 9th ed., art. “Religions”; Elements of the Science of Religion, vol. i. (1897), with some corrections communicated by letter to Professor Chantepie de la Saussaye, Religionsgesch. (3rd ed., 1905), vol. i. p. 11.
- For a long series of suggested bases of classification see Raoul de la Grasserie, Des Religions Comparées au Point de Vue Sociologique (1899), chap. xii.; cf. further E. von Hartmann, Religionsphilosophie (1888); Siebeck, Lehrbuch der Religionsphilosophie (1893); Dorner, Grundriss der Religionsphilasophie (1903). Siebeck proposed to distribute religions in three grades: (1) Nature-Religions, i.e. those of the lower culture; (2) Morality-Religions in various grades and stages, e.g. Mexicans and Peruvians, Arcadians, Chinese, Egyptians, Hindus, Persians, Germans, Romans, with the Greek religion in the highest rank; (3) Religions of Redemption (Judaism forming the transition from the second group), Buddhism in the sense of world-negation, and, positively, Christianity. Bousset, What is Religion? (1907) reckons Platonism along with Buddhism. For criticism of Siebeck's scheme see Tiele, Elements of the Science of Religion, vol. i. (1897), pp. 62, 65. Pfleiderer, Religion and Historic Faiths (1907), p. 88, recognizes more clearly the difficulty of carrying almost any division through the whole field, without frequent breach of historical connexions.
- Cf. Maspero, Dawn of Civilization, p. 204; Wiedemann, Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, p. 227; Budge, Gods of Egypt, i. p. 415.
- Aug. De Civ. Dei, xviii. 39, attributes the origin of philosophy to his era.
- Hom. Hymn. i.
- Yasna, lv.; S.B.E. xxxi. p. 294.
- S.B.E. xxiii. p. 264.
- Bundahis, i. 25; S.B.E. v. p. 9.
- Midrash Bereshith Rabba, tr. Wunsche, I. i. ver. i.
- Von Kremer, Die Herrschenden Ideen des Islams, p. 233 ff.
- See Westermarck, Origin and Development of Moral Ideas, vol.i. (1906), p. 125, on Lord Avebury's conclusions.
- Native Tribes of S.E. Australia (1904), pp. 488, 489, 495, 543.
- Satow, “Revival of Pure Shinto,” Trans. As. Soc. Japan, vol. iii. Appendix, p. 87.
- Cf. Ezek. xxxii. 17-32; Ps. lxxxviii 3-4, 10, 11; Job x. 21-22, and many other passages.
- Watt, Journ. Anthrop. Institute, xvi p. 356. Cf. Codrington, The Melanesians (1891), p. 274.
- Bancroft, Native Races of the Pacifc States of N. America, iii. p. 532.
- Il. iii. 278-79; xix. 258-60.
- S.B.E. ii. p. 271; xiv. pp. 116, 310.
- Ibid. xli. p. 181.