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Title: Urreligion  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Prehistoric religion, Astrolatry, Superlatives in religion, History of religion, Study of religion
Collection: History of Religion, Prehistoric Religion, Study of Religion, Superlatives in Religion
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Urreligion (ur- being a theocracies of the early urban cultures of the Ancient Near East or current world religions. The term originates in German Romanticism.


Friedrich Creuzer put forward the notion of a monotheistic primeval religion in 1810 - an idea taken up by other authors of the Romantic period, such as J. J. Bachofen,[1] but decidedly opposed by Johann Heinrich Voss.[2] Goethe in a conversation with Eckermann on 11 March 1832 discussed the human Urreligion, which he characterized as "pure nature and [pure] reason, of divine origin".[3] The final scene of his Faust Part Two (1832) has been taken as evoking "the 'Urreligion' of mankind".[4]

Often used in the sense of natural religion or indigenous religion, the religious behaviour of pre-modern tribal societies such as shamanism, animism and ancestor worship (e.g. Australian aboriginal mythology[5]), the term Urreligion has also been used by adherents of various religions to back up the claim that their own religion is somehow "primeval" or "older" than competing traditions. In the context of a given religious faith, literal belief in a creation may be the base of primality. (e.g. Biblical literalism, or literal belief in the Hindu Puranas).

In particular, Urmonotheismus comprises the historical claim that primeval religion was monotheistic. Some have rejected this hypothesis,[6] and certain Christian apologetics circles defend it.[7]

Nineteenth-century Germanic mysticism sometimes claimed that the Germanic runes bore testimony of a primeval religion.[8] Some more recent new religious movements that claim to restore primeval religion include Godianism[9] and Umbanda.[10]

See also


  1. ^ In his Mutterrecht und Urreligion , Bachofen connects primeval religion and matriarchy.
  2. ^ Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Völker, besonders der Griechen. In Vorträgen und Entwürfen. Leipzig and Darmstadt, Heyer und Leske, 1810-12.
  3. ^ Gespräche
  4. ^ Biblical Borrowings in Goethe's "Faust": A Historical Survey of Their Interpretation, by O. Durrani The Modern Language Review 1977
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Pajak, Sylwester, Urreligion und Uroffenbarung bei P. W. Schmidt, St. Augustin 1978.
  8. ^ , 1856Die Urreligion oder das entdeckte UralphabetJ L Studach
  9. ^
  10. ^ Gerhard Muller, Theologische Realenzyklopädie, de Gruyter (2003), p. 265
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