questions from lecture
1. What are the main features of F. Max Muller’s theory of the origin of religion, and how
does it compare to other theories of origin in his time?
- Religion and mythology began with the human perception of overpowering natural
- Myths he believed that myths that are inspired by the sun. He believed that principle gods
and heroes of the Indo-European people had solar roots, or metaphors.
- Transformation, (the sun’s power to perception of this power) is illustrated a “disease of
language” which is the original natural objects of awe and respect is hidden behind
words, and isn’t able to give direct perception through its natural metaphor.
- Gods were only names for natural phenomena, and after awhile they were falsely
interpreted, personified, and defied.
- E.B. Tylor origin = psychological factors, such as dreams, ecstasies
- Lang idea of God is historically among earliest conceptions of humanity so no
discussion of an antecedent “cause” of religion was necessary.
- Muller differs from Tylor’s theory because Tylor is looking at psychological factors, as
for Muller is looking solely at human’s will to overpower natural phenomena. However
there are similar because both are looking at human perception: one concerning
psychology, and the other at the human will.
- Muller differs from Lang because God existed throughout time, and wasn’t a self-created
concept. This differs from Muller Muller insists that religion is formed by humans and
they’re will to overpower, and thus making them complete opposites.
2. Mircea Eliade called historians of religion “learned generalists.” What two tasks were
central to his methodology and what did he envision the end purposes of the study of
religion to be?
3. Describe and explain the key elements of Rudolf Otto’s Idea of the Holy. (98)
- Ideograms as modes of expression that lie somewhere between experience and concept.
- Possible to discern that will color more systematic thought concerning the meaning of the
creation of the world.