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David Miller

1. Describe in some detail the significant approach to the Study of Religion that the following HISTORIANS OF RELIGION took?: A. F. MAX MULLER B. MIRCEA ELIADE C. WILFRED C. SMITH A. F. MAX MULLER (1823-1900) While studying at the University of Leipzig, Berlin and Paris, F. Max Muller (1823- 1900), used comparative linguistics in the study of religion. Comparative linguistics is a method to compare the similarities and differences of the languages of the world, by looking at their historical roots through time. Finding similarities in languages, Muller was able to translate these similarities into similarities in religions. He came to the view that the development of languages should be tied to that of belief-systems. To illustrate an example of this, we see that from 1849, Muller started to translate the Rig Vedas furthering his study of Sanskrit in Indian history. He saw the gods of the Rig-Veda as active forces of nature, only partly personified as imagined supernatural persons. From this claim Muller derived his theory that mythology is a disease of language. By this he meant that myth transforms concepts into beings and stories. As it can be seen, his approach of language and religion was useful to deduce his theory and further develop the study of religion. B. MIRCEA ELIADE (1907-1986) Took and developed a comparative phenomenological approach o Entailed cosmogonies and stories of creation In Romania (1932-1940) he attempted to create a new interpretation of myths and symbols of archaic and oriental religions. At his stay at the University of Chicago while researching the History of religions, he brought together the linguistical analysis of texts o Studied patterns in comparative Religion The Sacred and the Profane Founded the journal: History of Religion So prominent that he edited the Encyclopedia of Religion C. WILFRED C. SMITH (1916-2000) Took the comparative scriptural approach o Dynamic nature of text In his meaning and end of religion (1963) he stressed the end of isms Cumulative tradition o People had their personal interpretation of spiritual texts which would lead to traditions Strongly believed that religious studies are about the people o There should be a dynamic interpretation of texts and tradition o Religious symbols change in meaning over time To achieve this type of study, one should study another religions tradition in its own cultural setting 2. What are the principal characteristics of ELOHIM, the GOD in GENESIS (Chapter 1, verse 1) Who created the Heavens and the Earth, and what are the two principle CREATION THEORIES found in GENESIS 1? Elohim is a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of divinity in Genesis chapter 1, verse 1. In Genesis 1 god who created the heavens and the Earth otherwise known as the cosmos is referred to as Elohim. Moreover, many important characteristics of Elohim are revealed in the beginning of genesis chapter 1. It is known that Elohim is pluralized and transcends gender meaning that the word represents both the male and female. Furthermore, Elohim can only do good as all that he created was good such as light, the heaven and Earth. Elohim leaves the choice of evil to the individual as supported by the story of Adam and Eve where they both choose to eat from the tree and were not forced to. In addition, Elohim is a divine being who creates with his word out of nothing as evidenced when God said let there be light, and there was light. Elohim is the first cause because if there was a cause of god, God would not be God, thus God is the first uncaused cause and also the efficient cause. In addition, Elohim is not the material cause as Elohim remains apart from his creation in both theories of creation. The two principle creation theories that are found in genesis one are different because of the way how God creates. The first creation theory is where god created something out of nothing, and god said let there be light and there was light and he saw that light was good-he created out of his word, out of nothing. In the second creation theory god created from preexistent matter. The Hebrew word Tehom refers to the waters as deep is related to the word Tiamat which is the wicked female dragon that encompoasses the waters. The God of wind, Marduk, slays Tiamat and makes the heavens and the earth from her body. However, I Genesis this myth is demythologized and thus the waters become the pre existant matter out of which Elohim creates the cosmos like how a potter takes chaotic lump of clay and creates a nice pot, in the same way, God takes waters and shapes it into the cosmos. God said let there be a firament in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters. He separated the waters which were under the firament from the waters which were above the firament and called the firament heaven and then he said let the waters under the heaven gather together and let dry land appear- he called it earth. 3. What is the significance for the Historian of Religion of the relationship of the HEBREW WORD TEHOM in Genesis 1 Verses 2, 6 and following to the BABYLONIAN WORD TIAMAT in the Babylonian Myth of Creation?
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