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The Essence of Christianity (Dover Philosophical Classics) Paperback – June 11, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Philosophical Classics
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486454215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486454214
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
In one of the most convincing theological arguments for athiesm of all time, The Essence of Christianity was written in a period of heavy religous tension in Germany. Through Fererbach's lengthy assertions and occaisonally flowery prose, the belief in a God seperate from man is systematically destroyed, albeit with occasionally thin argument. Feuerbach contends that religion is an expression of humanity, and that the collective potential for reason, affection, and will is the true essence of religion. He therefore does not contend with many of the main tenants of Lutheranism as they apply to the anthropological essence of religion. He argues that the belief in God is merely a misdirected belief in humankind. This work is an important historical and social one as the idea of human supremicy sets the stage for Frederick Engles and the Marxist era of Russia. It is interesting reading and creates for myriad new ways of percieving specific aspects of religion and humanity-- a must for anyone interested in any sort of theology.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Svein Olav Nyberg on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book in search of the philosophical roots of Max Stirner, author of The Ego and Its Own. For this purpose, the book is excellent; you can see where Max Stirner came from on a number of issues that had hitherto seemed a bit cloudy to me - both in what Stirner reacts to and what he has drawn on.
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.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By catherine guelph on September 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Conscousness of God is self-consciousness, knowledge of God is self-knowledge." wrote Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) in his landmark text ESSENCE of CHRISTIANITY. Atheism had found its critical voice in a student of Hegel.

Feuerbach took on the task of showing that the antithesis of divine and human is altogether illusory, that it is nothing else than the antithesis between the human nature in general and the human individual; that, consequently, the object and contents of the Christian religion are altogether. God is a projection of the highest human values.

The ideal of humanity, realized collectively by the aggregate of all human experience, replaces a divine ideal. Feuerbach contends that the consciousness of God is nothing else than the concsiousness of the species; that man can and should raise himself only above the limits of his individuality, and not above the laws, the positive essential conditions of his species; that there is no other essence which man can think, dream of imagine, feel, believe in, wish for, love and adore as the absolute, than the essence of human nature itself.

Although he espouses a distorted and often inaccurate picture as a result of his completely arbitrary use of biblical and ecclesiastical texts and facts, Feuerbach addresses a very real problem with Christianity, specifically, and religion, in general. Namely, that a heavenly focus can sometimes be of no earthly value. Feuerbach saw the evil that persisted in the world exacerbated by the neglect fostered by religious institutions. But does Feuerbach offer anything more concrete when he speculates on an ideal of a collective humanity?

Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud were both greatly influenced by Feuerbach's work.
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36 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A. Webb on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book needs to be back on College Philosophy and Religion reading lists! Never before have I read such a clear and obvious explanation of the religious mind. Wonderful translation and editing work by George Eliot makes this a revolutionary work of religious philosophy. I'm a wife, mother, English Literature graduate and a spiritual seeker whose life was changed by reading Feuerbach's analysis of God as our subjective projection as Other. Please don't let your questing mind miss this one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolutely phenomenal. Completely dispels the belief that a turn from traditional Christianity to atheism is due to a desire for moral disorder or leniency. Within the first section he blew my mind when he explained the conception of God and universal morality from an anthropological point of view. Feuerbach does an amazing job of creating a structural base of arguments and nails it in the last two sections, both of which turn the concept of Christian morality on its head. A must read for anyone raised in the church and having second thoughts about his/her faith. Also check out "Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism" by Bernard Schweizer. The first section of the book summarizes other philosophers that challenge the Christian faith and helps one discover other thinkers worthy of more in-depth exploration.
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