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The Idea of God in Early Religions   By: (1858-1936)

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The book The Idea of God in Early Religions by F. B. Jevons provides a comprehensive and enlightening exploration of the concept of God in different ancient religions. As the author expertly traces the origins and development of religious beliefs, readers are taken on a fascinating journey through prehistoric, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations.

One of the major strengths of this book is its meticulous research and attention to detail. Jevons unearths a treasure trove of historical and archaeological evidence, weaving together a narrative that sheds light on the diverse beliefs and practices of our ancestors. By examining ancient texts, artifacts, and religious rituals, he presents a comprehensive overview of the early understanding and perception of God.

The author's writing style is engaging and accessible to both scholars and general readers alike. Jevons skillfully presents complex information in a clear and concise manner, making the book an informative and enjoyable read. He avoids excessive jargon, ensuring that readers can easily grasp the ideas and concepts being discussed.

One of the standout features of this work is its comparative approach. Jevons effectively compares and contrasts the various religious ideas and practices, drawing parallels and revealing patterns across different cultures. By doing so, he underscores the universality of religious experiences and the common search for meaning that transcends time and place.

Additionally, the book discusses the evolution of religious thought, highlighting the shifts in beliefs over time. Jevons explores how early polytheistic religions gradually transformed into monotheistic systems, showcasing the influence of social, political, and cultural factors on religious developments. This analysis provides valuable insights into the complex interplay between belief systems and societal change.

While the book offers a thorough examination of various ancient religions, it occasionally lacks depth in certain areas. Certain chapters may feel rushed, with some religions receiving less attention than others. Furthermore, readers seeking an in-depth exploration of the philosophical implications and theological nuances of the early religious beliefs may find themselves yearning for more extensive analysis.

Overall, The Idea of God in Early Religions is a captivating and informative book that offers valuable insights into the history of religious thought. Jevons' meticulous research and thoughtful analysis make this work a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding the origins and evolution of the concept of God in different ancient civilizations.

First Page:




Professor of Philosophy in the University of Durham

Cambridge: at the University Press 1913

First Edition, 1910 Reprinted 1911, 1913

With the exception of the coat of arms at the foot, the design on the title page is a reproduction of one used by the earliest known Cambridge printer, John Siberch, 1521


In The Varieties of Religious Experience the late Professor William James has said (p. 465): 'The religious phenomenon, studied as an inner fact, and apart from ecclesiastical or theological complications, has shown itself to consist everywhere, and at all its stages, in the consciousness which individuals have of an intercourse between themselves and higher powers with which they feel themselves to be related. This intercourse is realised at the time as being both active and mutual.' The book now before the reader deals with the religious phenomenon, studied as an inner fact, in the earlier stages of religion. By 'the Idea of God' may be meant either the consciousness which individuals have of higher powers, with which they feel themselves to be related, or the words in which they, or others, seek to express that consciousness. Those words may be an expression, that is to say an interpretation or a misinterpretation, of that consciousness... Continue reading book >>

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