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Friedrich Max Müller and the Sacred Books of the East$
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Arie L. Molendijk

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784234

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784234.001.0001

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Religion of Humanity

Religion of Humanity

(p.143) 5 Religion of Humanity
Friedrich Max Müller and the Sacred Books of the East

Arie L. Molendijk

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5, ‘Religion of Humanity’, examines Max Müller’s moral and religious concerns. He envisioned a sort of enlightened form of religion, which should benefit all mankind. His plan to include the Old and New Testaments in the series could not be carried out, because conservative influences were too strong in Oxford at the time. His religious upbringing, his missionary inclinations, as well as his position in Oxford as a liberal-minded Lutheran are addressed here. Müller’s explicit aim was to ‘give new life to Christianity’; the unintended consequence of his work has been to pave the way for the modern opposition between (institutionalized) religion and spirituality. In his thinking there is a tension between universalism and particularism, in the sense that the universal spiritual core of religion is in his view best realized in Christianity.

Keywords:   liberal religion, Essays and Reviews (1860), Tractarianism, missionary purpose of Müller’s work, Brahmo Samaj, spiritualized religion, future of religion, religion of humanity

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