4. Theories about the Origin and Development of Religions
Keywords: historicism, evolutionism, animism, mana, depravation
4.1 Motifs of Interest in the Origin of Religion
Theories of the origin and development of religion are connected with an historical approach to religion, which means that religions are understood as historical phenomena, and also with an anthropological approach. Questions about the origin of religion do not only deal with the origin of specific religions, but also and above all with the origin of religion overall. Also archaic and non-literal religions should be taken into account. Comprehensive religions have developed the ability of self-interpretation; this is why it is important to critically examine a religion’s own interpretation of its origin.
Theories of the origin and development of religions are related to the 19th century, when the paradigms of historicism and evolution gradually prevailed in science. ← 35 | 36 → According to the model of biology, geology, and archaeology, religious studies also wanted to show that religion is subject to evolution. Attempts to justify primary forms of religion were motivated by the ambition to explain the nature of religion in pursuance of a primordial form.
4.2. Older Evolutional Theories
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