Urmonotheismus


Urmonotheismus

Urmonotheismus (German for "primeval monotheism") or primitive monotheism is the hypothesis of a monotheistic Urreligion, from which non-monotheistic religions degenerated. This is diametrically opposed to the evolutionary view of religion, which holds that religion progressed from simple forms to complex: first preanimism, then animism, totemism, polytheism and finally monotheism (see Anthropology of religion).[1]

History

Scottish anthropologist Andrew Lang concluded in 1898 that the idea of a high god or 'All Father' existed among some of the simplest of contemporary tribes, prior to Western contact.[1]

It was first defended by Wilhelm Schmidt (1868–1954), in his Der Ursprung der Gottesidee appearing from 1912, opposing the "Revolutionary Monotheism" approach that traces the emergence of monotheistic thought as a gradual process spanning the Bronze and Iron Age Religions of the Ancient Near East and Classical Antiquity.[2]

Alleged traces of primitive monotheism were located in the deities Assyrian Ashur and Marduk, and Hebrew YHWH. Monotheism in Schmidt's view is the "natural" form of theism, which was later overlaid and "degraded" by polytheism.[2]

Schmidt's hypothesis was controversially discussed during much of the first half of the 20th century. In the 1930s, Schmidt adduced evidence from Native American mythology, Australian aborigines and other primitive civilizations in support of his views.[3][4] He also responded to his critics. For instance, he rejected Rafael Pettazoni's claim that the sky gods were merely a dim personification or embodiment of the physical sky, saying in "The Origin and Growth of Religion," "The outlines of the Supreme Being become dim only among later peoples."[5] He adds that "a being who lives in the sky, who stands behind the celestial phenomena, who must 'centralize' in himself the various various manifestations [of thunder, rain, etc.] is not a personification of the sky at all."[6] According to Ernest Brandewie in "Wilhelm Schmidt and the Origin of the Idea of God," Schmidt also claims that Pettazoni fails to study Schmidt's work seriously and often relies on incorrect translations of Schmidt's German.[7] Brandewie also says Pettazoni's definition of primitive ethical monotheism is an "arbitrary" straw man argument, but he says Schmidt went too far when he claimed that such ethical monotheism was the earliest religious idea.[8]

By the 1950s, the hypothesis of primitive ethical monotheism was rejected by the academic establishment, so its proponents of Schmidt's "Vienna school" rephrased it to the effect that while ancient cultures may not have known "true monotheism", they at least show evidence for "original theism" (Ur-Theismus, as opposed to non-theistic animism), with a concept of Hochgott ("High God", as opposed to Eingott "Single God"). Christian apologetics in the light of this have moved away from postulating a "memory of revelation" in pre-Christian religions, replacing it with an "inkling of redemption" or virtuous paganism unconsciously anticipating monotheism.[2] That said, Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard noted in "Theories of Primitive Religion," first published in 1962, that most anthropologists have abandoned all evolutionary schemes like Schmidt and Pettazoni's for the historical development of religion, adding that they have also found monotheistic beliefs existing side-by-side with other religious beliefs.[9]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Dhavamony, Mariasusai (1973). Phenomenology of religión. Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana. pp. 60–64. ISBN 8876524746. 
  2. ^ a b c Pettazzoni, Raffaele (April 1958). "Das Ende des Urmonotheismus" (in German). Numen 5 (2). 
  3. ^ High Gods in North America, 1933
  4. ^ "The Origin and Growth of Religion: Facts and Theories," 1931
  5. ^ Schmidt, "The Origin and Growth of Religion: Facts and Theories," New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1972, page 211
  6. ^ Schmidt, "The Origin and Growth of Religion: Facts and Theories," New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1972, page 211
  7. ^ Brandewie, "Wilhelm Schmidt and the Origin of the Idea of God," Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983, page 251
  8. ^ Brandewie, pages 44 and 119
  9. ^ Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard, "Theories of Primitive Religion," New York: Oxford University Press, 1987, pages 104-105

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Urmonotheismus — Urmonothe|ismus,   Religionswissenschaft: die Auffassung, dass die Urform der Religion der Glaube an einen Gott sei und alle späteren davon abweichenden Glaubensformen, v. a. die polytheistischen Religionen, Entstellungen dieses ursprünglich… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Fitra — (arabisch ‏ فطرة‎, DMG fiṭra ‚Natur, Veranlagung; Schöpfung‘), von ‏فطر‎, DMG faṭara, ‚schaffen, erschaffen (von Gott); angeboren sein‘, bezeichnet ein islamisches Konzept von der Natur des Menschen, die so angelegt ist, dass jeder… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Monotheism — Monotheist redirects here. For the Celtic Frost album, see Monotheist (album). Part of a series on God …   Wikipedia

  • Mircea Eliade — Eliade redirects here. For other persons of the same name, see Eliade (surname). Mircea Eliade Born March 13, 1907(1907 03 13) Bucharest, Romania Died April 22, 1986( …   Wikipedia

  • Animismus — Als Animismus (von griech. ἄνεμος „Wind, Hauch“ wie lat. animus, [1] als anima später in religiösen Zusammenhängen auch Seele[2] oder Geist) bezeichnet man allgemein schriftlose, in Reinform ausschließlich bei Jäger Sammler Kulturen verbreitete… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Animist — Als Animismus (von griech. ἄνεμος „Wind, Hauch“ wie lat. animus,[1] als anima später in religiösen Zusammenhängen auch Seele[2] oder Geist) bezeichnet man allgemein schriftlose, in Reinform ausschließlich bei Jäger Sammler Kulturen verbreitete… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Animistisch — Als Animismus (von griech. ἄνεμος „Wind, Hauch“ wie lat. animus,[1] als anima später in religiösen Zusammenhängen auch Seele[2] oder Geist) bezeichnet man allgemein schriftlose, in Reinform ausschließlich bei Jäger Sammler Kulturen verbreitete… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Geisterglaube — Als Animismus (von griech. ἄνεμος „Wind, Hauch“ wie lat. animus,[1] als anima später in religiösen Zusammenhängen auch Seele[2] oder Geist) bezeichnet man allgemein schriftlose, in Reinform ausschließlich bei Jäger Sammler Kulturen verbreitete… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • religion, study of — Introduction       attempt to understand the various aspects of religion, especially through the use of other intellectual disciplines.       The history of mankind has shown the pervasive influences of religion, and thus the study of religion,… …   Universalium

  • Outline of theology — The following outline is presented as an overview of and topical guide to theology: Theology – systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.