The Making of Religion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 426 pages of information about The Making of Religion.

[Footnote 17:  Science and Hebrew Tradition, p. 299.]

[Footnote 18:  II. 127.]

[Footnote 19:  Science and Hebrew Tradition, p. 331.]

[Footnote 20:  Mariner, ii. 205.]

[Footnote 21:  Op. cit. p. 335.]

[Footnote 22:  Of course, it in understood that Israel (in the dark backward and abysm of time) may also have been totemistic, like the Australians, as texts pointed out by Mr. Robertson Smith seem to hint.  There was also worship of teraphim, respect paid to stones and trees, and so forth.]

[Footnote 23:  Science and Hebrew Tradition, p. 349.]

[Footnote 24:  P. 351.]

[Footnote 25:  History of Israel, p. 443 note.]

[Footnote 26:  Religion of Semites.]

[Footnote 27:  Geschichte des Volkes Israel, i. 180.]

[Footnote 28:  Histoire du Peuple d’Israel, citing Schrader, p. 23.]

[Footnote 29:  Op. cit. p. 85]

[Footnote 30:  See Professor Robertson’s Early Religion of Israel for a list of these conjectures, and, generally, for criticisms of the occasional vagaries of critics.]



We may now glance backward at the path which we have tried to cut through the jungles of early religions.  It is not a highway, but the track of a solitary explorer; and this essay pretends to be no more than a sketch—­not an exhaustive survey of creeds.  Its limitations are obvious, but may here be stated.  The higher and even the lower polytheisms are only alluded to in passing, our object being to keep well in view the conception of a Supreme, or practically Supreme, Being, from the lowest stages of human culture up to Christianity.  In polytheism that conception is necessarily obscured, showing itself dimly either in the Prytanis, or President of the Immortals, such as Zeus; or in Fate, behind and above the Immortals; or in Mr. Max Mueller’s Henotheism, where the god addressed—­Indra, or Soma, or Agni—­is, for the moment, envisaged as supreme, and is adored in something like a monotheistic spirit; or, finally, in the etherealised deity of advanced philosophic speculation.

It has not been necessary, for our purpose, to dwell on these civilised religions.  Granting our hypothesis of an early Supreme Being among savages, obscured later by ancestor-worship and ghost-gods, but not often absolutely lost to religious tradition, the barbaric and the civilised polytheisms easily take their position in line, and are easily intelligible.  Space forbids a discussion of all known religions; only typical specimens have been selected.  Thus, nothing has been said of the religion of the great Chinese empire.  It appears to consist, on its higher plane, of the worship of Heaven as a great fetish-god—­a worship which may well have begun in days, as Dr.

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