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The Greek Gods in Modern ScholarshipInterpretation and Belief in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Germany and Britain$
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Michael D. Konaris

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737896

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737896.001.0001

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Ancient Polytheisms and Modern Antagonisms

Ancient Polytheisms and Modern Antagonisms

Hermann Usener’s Theory of Sondergötter

(p.180) 3 Ancient Polytheisms and Modern Antagonisms
The Greek Gods in Modern Scholarship

Michael D. Konaris

Oxford University Press

The third chapter discusses H. Usener’s (1834–1905) theory of Augenblicks- and Sondergötter. This theory, which may be seen as the contrasting pole to the theory of universal gods, provided a subversive account of the origins and development of Indo-European polytheisms, based on a comparative study of Greek, Roman, and Lithuanian deities. Emphasis is placed on the contemporary religious implications of Usener’s views and, especially, on his criticism of Catholic beliefs and practices.

Keywords:   Usener, Götternamen, Augenblicksgötter, Sondergötter, Indo-European Comparative Mythology, Roman religion, Lithuanian religion, Indigitamenta

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