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Lectures

The Evolution of Religion

  • Edward Caird
1890 to 1892
University of St. Andrews

In The Evolution of Religion, vol. 1, Caird establishes the continuum of the science and evolution of religion and endeavours to show that the definition or idea of religion cannot be found in any element common to all religions, of which the author discusses both objective and subjective types. In addition to summarizing views of subjective and objective religion, Caird discusses the moral strength of subjective religion and the opposition of the spirit to nature. He also addresses the transition from a national to a universal religion as well as the rise of moral individualism.

Philosophy and Theology

  • James Hutchison Stirling
1889
University of Edinburgh

James Hutchison Stirling published Philosophy and Theology in 1890. It is a compilation of the 20 Gifford lectures he delivered as the first Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. These lectures discuss the questions: What is Natural Theology?

The Making of Religion

  • Andrew Lang
1889 to 1890
University of St. Andrews

In a positivist, perhaps unconscious approach, in his The Making of Religion, Andrew Lang begins with the ‘mystical phenomena of savage life’ and ends by saying ‘the exclusive Theism of Israel receives its complement in a purified Animism, and emerges as Christianity.’

The Natural History of Religion

  • Edward Burnett Tylor
1889 to 1891
University of Aberdeen

Tylor’s Gifford Lectures were the first to be given at Aberdeen. He delivered two sets of ten lectures between 1889 and 1891. These ought to have been published in a book entitled ‘The Natural History of Religion’. Unfortunately, his failing mental capacities in later life meant that this did not happen.

Anthropological Religion

  • Friedrich Max Müller
1888 to 1892
University of Glasgow

Anthropological Religion, F. Max Müller’s third course of Gifford Lectures, concerns the study of that historical manifestation of natural religion founded upon the nature of man; more precisely, upon the discovery of some divine or infinite character within man, beyond the material body. Through the comparative study of conceptions of the soul and the afterlife, Müller considers instances of ancestor worship as likely the earliest indication of humankind’s recognition of something not merely human, something not far removed from the divine, in man.

Natural Religion

  • Friedrich Max Müller
1888 to 1892
University of Glasgow

F. Max Müller’s Natural Religion contains twenty lectures in the form Müller had prepared them for delivery in the University of Glasgow in 1888. Longmans, Green, & Co. published the lectures in 1899.

Physical Religion

  • Friedrich Max Müller
1888 to 1892
University of Glasgow

F. Max Müller’s second round of Gifford Lectures, delivered before the University of Glasgow in the beginning of 1890, builds on the introductory material laid out in his first course, Natural Religion, now taking as his focus Physical Religion. Müller defines physical religion as a worship of the powers of nature.

Theosophy or Psychological Religion

  • Friedrich Max Müller
1888 to 1892
University of Glasgow

In his final course of Gifford Lectures, delivered at the University of Glasgow in 1892, F. Max Müller concentrates on the essential unity or oneness of the objective Infinite in nature (God) and the subjective Infinite in man (soul), which is the final consummation of all religious and philosophical endeavours. Much time is spent discussing the relation of the soul to Brahman in the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta, and of similar strains in the Sufi branch of Islam.

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