Concordia Theological Monthly

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comparative religion, evolution, kirkpatrick, higher criticism, spencer, anthropology

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


The three stages of down-town metropolitan real estate: the brick store, the steel and concrete sky-scraper, the parking lot, fitly describe the history of the comparative study of religion. The foundation was laid in philology when Max Mueller together with many a less brilliant, but more profound student of language developed the imposing structure of the science of religion on the basis of etymological study. The structure was laid low less than fifty years later, and on its place was erected the colossal pile of the anthropological study of religion, based on the evolutionary theory. The reconstruction of Old Testament history by the higher criticism is but a sector out of this enormous sphere of research. To-day the sky-scraper has been carried away piece-meal and its foundations destroyed by the cultural anthropology. It is time to pause and survey the criticism by which this unexpected change has been brought about.


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

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Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars