Dr. P. Asmus On Indo-Germanic Natural Religion -- By: M. Besser

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 034:133 (Jan 1877)
Article: Dr. P. Asmus On Indo-Germanic Natural Religion
Author: M. Besser

Dr. P. Asmus On Indo-Germanic Natural Religion1

Prof. M. Besser

Who will not hail with joy a promise of light and order amid the chaos of special investigations on the field of Indo-Germanic religions? Order; for it is evident, from the very title, that the author means to consider the whole subject from one point of view. He uses the singular — “The Indo-Germanic Religion,” not “Religions.” Light; for the additional title, “A Contribution to the Philosophy of Religion,” shows that the author has a philosophical intention in this treatment of a part of the history of religion. How far this is an advantage would appear from a consideration of the principles involved in the philosophical parts of the book, especially of the Introduction. This latter is in two parts — one discussing the Theory of Apprehension, and one the Philosophy of Religion. But a consideration of this kind we must postpone till the second and final part of the work appears; for the author cannot give his decision on the questions on the philosophy of religion until he reaches that part of the work. For it is promised that the second part shall treat of the Absolute Deity, investigating the mode in which he appears as such in the different religions. Further, it will treat of the spiritualization of the Indo-Germanic natural religion; and finally, of the relation of this religion to Christianity.

Of the Introduction we will say here only that the author seeks a basis for investigations in the philosophy of religion by a refutation of the philosophy and theology which assert that God cannot be known. He holds firmly, with Hegel, that thought can penetrate the Absolute — that the Absolute is comprehensible by us. Reviewer thinks there should be in the Introduction a discussion and definition of the conception “religion,” and also that there should be established some standard by which the

development of the Indo-Germanic religion is to be estimated. In the course of the book the author seems to regard the Christian religion as the absolute standard of comparison; and yet he postpones to the second volume a discussion of the relation of the Indo-Germanic religion to Christianity. The work when complete is meant to exhibit the Indo-Germanic religion as seen in its most important representatives. The author expects to point out in these a progress from natural religion to a spiritual religion. The volume before us treats of the first stage — the natural religion of the Indo-Germanic peoples. It contains four sections, in which the most important features of the Natural Religion are discussed as they appear among the chief of these peoples—the peoples of India, the Pe...

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