The Project Gutenberg ebook of Ten Great Religions, by James Freeman Clarke

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ten Great Religions, by James Freeman Clarke

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Title: Ten Great Religions

       An Essay in Comparative Theology

Author: James Freeman Clarke

Release Date: January 12, 2005 [EBook #14674]

Language: English


Produced by PG Distributed Proofreaders


Ten Great Religions

An Essay in Comparative Theology


James Freeman Clarke

Prophets who have been since the world began.—Luke i. 70.

Gentiles ... who show the work (or influence) of the (that) law which is written in their hearts.—Romans ii. 15.

God ... hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth ... that they should seek the Lord, if haply they may feel after him and find him.—Acts, xviii. 24-27.

Entered according to Act of Congress,

in the year 1871,
by James Freeman Clarke, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Copyright, 1899,

By Eliot C. Clarke.

William Heney Channing,

My Friend and Fellow-Student
During Many Years,
This Work
Is Affectionately Inscribed.


The first six chapters of the present volume are composed from six articles prepared for the Atlantic Monthly, and published in that magazine in 1868. They attracted quite as much attention as the writer anticipated, and this has induced him to enlarge them, and add other chapters. His aim is to enable the reader to become acquainted with the doctrines and customs of the principal religions of the world, without having to consult numerous volumes. He has not come to the task without some preparation, for it is more than twenty-five years since he first made of this study a speciality. In this volume it is attempted to give the latest results of modern investigations, so far as any definite and trustworthy facts have been attained. But the writer is well aware of the difficulty of being always accurate in a task which involves such interminable study and such an amount of details. He can only say, in the words of a Hebrew writer: "If I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired; but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto."


Chapter I.

Introduction.—Ethnic and Catholic Religions.

§ 1. Object of the present Work

§ 2. Comparative Theology; its Nature, Value, and present Position

§ 3. Ethnic Religions. Injustice often done to them by Christian Apologists

§ 4. How Ethnic Religions were regarded by Christ and his Apostles

§ 5. Comparative Theology will furnish a new Class of Evidences in Support of Christianity

§ 6. It will show that, while most of the Religions of the World are Ethnic, or the Religions of Races, Christianity is Catholic, or adapted to become the Religion of all Races

§ 7. It will show that Ethnic Religions are partial, Christianity universal

§ 8. It will show that Ethnic Religions are arrested, but that Christianity is steadily progressive

Chapter II.

Confucius and the Chinese, or the Prose of Asia.

§ 1. Peculiarities of Chinese Civilization

§ 2. Chinese Government based on Education. Civil-Service Examinations

§ 3. Life and Character of Confucius

§ 4. Philosophy and subsequent Development of Confucianism

§ 5. Lao-tse and Tao-ism

§ 6. Religious Character of the "Kings."

§ 7. Confucius and Christianity. Character of the Chinese

§ 8. The Tae-ping Insurrection

Note. The Nestorian Inscription in China

Chapter III.


§ 1. Our Knowledge of Brahmanism. Sir William Jones

§ 2. Difficulty of this Study. The Complexity of the System. The Hindoos have no History. Their Ultra-Spiritualism

§ 3. Helps from Comparative Philology. The Aryans in Central Asia

§ 4. The Aryans in India. The Native Races. The Vedic Age. Theology of the Vedas

§ 5. Second Period. Laws of Manu. The Brahmanic Age

§ 6. The Three Hindoo Systems of Philosophy,—The Sankhya, Vedanta, and Nyasa

§ 7. Origin of the Hindoo Triad

§ 8. The Epics, the Puranas, and Modern Hindoo Worship

§ 9. Relation of Brahmanism to Christianity

Chapter IV.

Buddhism, or the Protestantism of the East.

§ 1. Buddhism, in its Forms, resembles Romanism; in its Spirit, Protestantism

§ 2. Extent of Buddhism. Its Scriptures

§ 3. Sakya-muni, the Founder of Buddhism

§ 4. Leading Doctrines of Buddhism

§ 5. The Spirit of Buddhism Rational and Humane

§ 6. Buddhism as a Religion

§ 7. Karma and Nirvana

§ 8. Good and Evil of Buddhism

§ 9. Relation of Buddhism to Christianity

Chapter V.

Zoroaster and the Zend Avesta.

§ 1. Ruins of the Palace of Xerxes at Persepolis

§ 2. Greek Accounts of Zoroaster. Plutarch's Description of his Religion

§ 3. Anquetil du Perron and his Discovery of the Zend Avesta

§ 4. Epoch of Zoroaster. What do we know of him?

§ 5. Spirit of Zoroaster and of his Religion

§ 6. Character of the Zend Avesta

§ 7. Later Development of the System in the Bundehesch

§ 8. Relation of the Religion of the Zend Avesta to that of the Vedas

§ 9. Is Monotheism or pure Dualism the Doctrine of the Zend Avesta

§ 10. Relation of this System to Christianity. The Kingdom of Heaven

Chapter VI.

The Gods of Egypt.

§ 1. Antiquity and Extent of Egyptian Civilization

§ 2. Religious Character of the Egyptians. Their Ritual

§ 3. Theology of Egypt. Sources of our Knowledge concerning it

§ 4. Central Idea of Egyptian Theology and Religion. Animal Worship

§ 5. Sources of Egyptian Theology. Age of the Empire and Affinities of the Race

§ 6. The Three Orders of Gods

§ 7. Influence upon Judaism and Christianity

Chapter VII.

The Gods Of Greece.

§ 1. The Land and the Race

§ 2. Idea and general Character of Greek Religion

§ 3. The Gods of Greece before Homer

§ 4. The Gods of the Poets

§ 5. The Gods of the Artists

§ 6. The Gods of the Philosophers

§ 7. Worship of Greece

§ 8. The Mysteries. Orphism

§ 9. Relation of Greek Religion to Christianity

Chapter VIII.

The Religion of Rome.

§ 1. Origin and essential Character of the Religion of Rome

§ 2. The Gods of Rome

§ 3. Worship and Ritual

§ 4. The Decay of the Roman Religion

§ 5. Relation of the Roman Religion to Christianity

Chapter IX.

The Teutonic and Scandinavian Religion.

§ 1. The Land and the Race

§ 2. Idea of the Scandinavian Religion

§ 3. The Eddas and their Contents

§ 4. The Gods of Scandinavia

§ 5. Resemblance of the Scandinavian Mythology to that of Zoroaster

§ 6. Scandinavian Worship

§ 7. Social Character, Maritime Discoveries, and Political Institutions of the Scandinavians

§ 8. Relation of this System to Christianity

Chapter X.

The Jewish Religion.

§ 1. Palestine, and the Semitic Races

§ 2. Abraham; or, Judaism as the Family Worship of a Supreme Being

§ 3. Moses; or, Judaism as the national Worship of a just and holy King

§ 4. David; or, Judaism as the personal Worship of a Father and Friend

§ 5. Solomon; or, the Religious Relapse

§ 6. The Prophets; or, Judaism as a Hope of a spiritual and universal Kingdom of God

§ 7. Judaism as a Preparation for Christianity

Chapter XI.

Mohammed and Islam.

§ 1. Recent Works on the Life of Mohammed

§ 2. The Arabs and Arabia

§ 3. Early Life of Mohammed, to the Hegira

§ 4. Change in the Character of Mohammed after the Hegira

§ 5. Religious Doctrines and Practices among the Mohammedans

§ 6. The Criticism of Mr. Palgrave on Mohammedan Theology

§ 7. Mohammedanism a Relapse; the worst Form of Monotheism, and a retarding Element in Civilization


Chapter XII.

The Ten Religions and Christianity.

§ 1. General Results of this Survey

§ 2. Christianity a Pleroma, or Fulness of Life

§ 3. Christianity, as a Pleroma, compared with Brahmanism, Confucianism, and Buddhism

§ 4. Christianity compared with the Avesta and the Eddas. The Duad in all Religions

§ 5. Christianity and the Religions of Egypt, Greece, and Rome

§ 6. Christianity in Relation to Judaism and Mohammedanism. The Monad in all Religions

§ 7. The Fulness of Christianity is derived from the Life of Jesus

§ 8. Christianity as a Religion of Progress and of universal Unity

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