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Book Title: The Essence of Religion|
The author of the book: Ludwig Feuerbach
ISBN 13: 9781591022138
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 28.75 MB
Edition: Prometheus Books
Date of issue: June 1st 2004
Read full description of the books:Originally published in 1845, this concise critique formed the basis of thirty later lectures delivered in 1848 by Ludwig Feuerbach, one of Germany’s most influential humanist philosophers. In The Essence of Religion Feuerbach applied the analysis expounded in The Essence of Christianity (1841) to religion as a whole. The main thrust of Feuerbach’s argument is aptly summed up in the original subtitle to this work: "God the Image of Man. Man’s Dependence upon Nature the Last and Only Source of Religion." Feuerbach reviews key aspects of religious belief and in each case explains them as imaginative elaborations of the primal awe and sense of dependence that humans experience in the face of nature’s power and mystery. Rather than humans being created in the image of God, the situation is quite the reverse: "All theology is anthropology," he says, and "the being whom man sets over against himself as a separate supernatural existence is his own being."
Feuerbach goes on to argue that the attributes of God are no more than reflections of the various needs of human nature. Further, as human civilization has advanced, the role of God has gradually diminished. In ancient times, before human beings had any scientific understanding of the way nature works, divine powers were seen behind every natural manifestation, from lightning bolts to the change of seasons. By contrast, in the modern era, when an in-depth understanding of natural causes has been achieved, there is no longer any need to imagine God behind the workings of nature: "He who for his God has no other material than that which natural science, philosophy, or natural observation generally furnishes to him . . . ought to be honest enough also to abstain from using the name of God, for a natural principle is always a natural essence and not what constitutes the idea of a God."
Feuerbach’s naturalistic philosophy had a decisive influence on Karl Marx and radical theologians such as Bruno Bauer and David Friedrich Strauss. His incisive critique remains a challenge to religion to this day.
Read information about the authorLudwig Andreas von Feuerbach (July 28, 1804 – September 13, 1872) was a German philosopher and anthropologist best known for his book The Essence of Christianity, which provided a critique of Christianity which strongly influenced generations of later thinkers, including both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Feuerbach was the fourth son of the eminent jurist Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach, brother of mathematician Karl Wilhelm Feuerbach and uncle of painter Anselm Feuerbach. An associate of Left Hegelian circles, Feuerbach advocated liberalism, atheism and materialism. Many of his philosophical writings offered a critical analysis of religion. His thought was influential in the development of dialectical materialism, where he is often recognized as a bridge between Hegel and Marx.
Feuerbach is best known for his criticism of Idealism and religion, especially Christianity, written in the early forties. He believed that any progress in human culture and civilization required the repudiation of both. His later writings were concerned with developing a materialistic humanism and an ethics of human solidarity. With the recent publication of a new critical edition of his works, a new generation of scholars have argued that his mature views are philosophically interesting in their own right.
His most important work, Das Wesen des Christentums (1841), was translated by George Eliot into English as The Essence of Christianity.
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