The Essence of Christianity (Dover Philosophical Classics) Paperback – 29 Aug 2008
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From the Back Cover
In The Essence of Christianity-this is the classic 1853 translation of the 1841 German original-Feuerbach discusses the "true or anthropological" root of religion, exploring how everything from the nature of God to the mysteries of mysticism and prayer can be viewed through such a prism. He goes on to examine the "false" essences of religion, including contradictions in ideas of the existence of a deity, and then how God and religion are merely expressions of human emotion. This is essential background reading for understanding everything from Marx's Communist Manifesto to modern apolitical philosophies of atheism.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach (July 28, 1804 September 13, 1872) was a German philosopher and anthropologist. Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 22 December 1880; alternatively "Mary Anne" or "Marian"), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is, however, a very compelling read in its own right as well. Feuerbach takes us through literally the whole catalogue of Christian belief, and shows us how each item of belief is explained at least as well - or perhaps even better - as an anthropomorphism rather than as a supernatural manifestation. It must be said, though, that each single one of his arguments on their own do not lead to such a conviction. Just like you are not convinced that the dice are loaded by getting 6 once or twice, you will not be convinced if anthropomorphism fits the bill of Christianity in a few single instances. However - analogously with the dice - when you strike 6 nearly every time, you will be convinced that the dice are loaded.
If I have a criticism of Feuerbach, it is that after he has revealed the Essence of Christianity as being the worship of Man, he keeps the essence and only discards the accidental properties of Christianity, i.e. the supernaturalism. This was also what Max Stirner called him on. But my disagreement does not mean a disparagement of the value of the book. So I recommend it as a read.
Feuerbach advances from materialist premises - holding only that which objectively exists (independent of thought) as real. And he endeavours to liberate human understanding by freeing it of the perversions of religion. Feuerbach considers Christian notions - of 'God' - as crippling humankind, inasmuch as they invoke that which is 'beyond' human - which, for Feuerbach, is anti-human (as they debase and degrade what it means to be human). He takes the Christian texts - i.e. the Bible - and views them as a body of work which ought to be subjected to critique. And by way of this critique, he concludes that religion is the dream of the human mind. The 'essence' of Christianity is that it conceives what is human as divine; it exchanges man and his nature for God. Only through dialectic critique are we able to revert this inversion; and ultimately arrive at the negation of religion.
This is a well-written, thoughtful and imaginative book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a marvellous critique of Christianity from a humanist perspective. It is extremely stimulating and intellectually challenging.Published on 7 Oct. 2010 by Erchysun
From all the books I read so far, this one has touched me the most. Feuerbach's way of theorising is totally compelling and his words are completly overpowering. Read morePublished on 20 Mar. 2005 by A student