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VARIOUS causes have delayed the completion of this volume far beyond what could have been foreseen when its predecessor was issued in 1913. The author may be permitted to hope that the book itself, at least, has profited by the years he has had it in hand, if there is any virtue in multa dies et multa litura .. decies castigavit.
The three religions with which it deals are so intimately related to one another that in a morphological classification they might be regarded as three branches of monotheistic religion in Western Asia and Europe. Christianity originated in a religious movement in Judaism and a Jewish Messianic sect, and though it soon separated from the parent stock, and in the Gentile world became a universal redemptive religion, it was to its inheritance from Judaism that it chiefly owed its religious and moral superiority. Mohammedanism owes its existence to the impression Jewish and, in smaller degree, Christian ideas made upon the mind of the Arabian prophet.
Fundamental in all three is the idea of revealed religion: God has made known to men by revelation in sacred books his soleness, his character, and his will; and this revelation is a law which he has imposed on men not only for ritual and observance but for belief and conduct, thus making faith and morals integral parts of a nomistic religion. All three are in this sense to be described as dogmatic ethical religions. The Bible of the Jews is sacred Scripture to Christians; the Law and the Gospel are acknowledged as divine revelation by Moslems, while in the New Testament and the Koran, Christians and Moslems have their own peculiar Scriptures, completing and in part superseding the former revelations. The Scriptures of all three have the same doctrine of creation by divine fiat, according to the first chapter of Genesis; they have the same doctrine of the catastrophic end of the world, when the wrath of God is wreaked in destruction on the heavens and the earth as well as on the guilty race of men. All three are soteric religions, proposing themselves as ways of salvation from the doom of all unsaved souls at death and the judgment,' and each asserting that it is the only way.
Each of them, conceiving itself as the one true religion, attributes to itself finality, and believes itself destined to universality. In them all the ideal of universality assumed political forms. In Judaism, indeed, the dream of ruling over the nations of the earth in the name of the Lord never had a chance to translate itself into historical reality or even into essay. But in Christianity and Islam the idea of empire as the embodiment of religion dominated centuries of history, and ruthless wars of conquest glorified themselves as the victories of the faith. A further consequence of the ideal of exclusive universality in Christendom was the principle that a Christian state should not tolerate within it any other religion than Christianity, nor any other kind of Christianity than the one true kind. Religious liberty logically involves the secularisation of the state.
In modern times the expansion of both Christianity and Islam has been by commerce, missions, and colonisation rather than by conquest, but commerce and missions have often been but steps to protection, occupation, and annexation by Christian states. The belief in ultimate universality must persist as long as each believes itself the one true religion, and so long as it persists the religions must strive in the ways of the time to achieve their universal destiny.
The three religions have never divided the world territorially among them. In the countries conquered by the Moslems were great numbers of Jews and Christians, and under the protection accorded by the Koran to the “Bookpeople" and the habitually tolerant rule of the caliphs there
This is true of Judaism from a time not long before our era,
was much intellectual intercourse and exchange of influence. Contact with Christian theology in Syria opened the eyes of Moslems to some of the theological and ethical problems of their own religion, gave them methods and ideas, and introduced them to the source of both in Greek philosophy. Out of much controversy a theology emerged which came to be generally accepted as orthodox. Before long the Jews constructed a rational and systematic exposition and defence of their own faith on the pattern of the Moslem Kalām. Jewish thinkers followed the Moslems into the field of philosophy, also, and vied with their achievements in it. In Spain, which in the twelfth century was the chief seat of these pursuits, Christians also were drawn into them, and the works of Arabic philosophy and theology translated into Latin soon found their way into France and Italy. The acquaintance with Aristotle and the Arab Aristotelians made an epoch in European thought. The names of Avicenna and Averroes, of Avempace (Ibn Bajja) and Algazel (alGhazali), of Avicebron (Ibn Gabirol) and Maimonides, multiply on the pages of the schoolmen by the side of those of the Fathers; the influence of these authors on Christian theology was far-reaching.
In all these intellectual movements Greek philosophyunderstood or misunderstood-is at the bottom of the matter. The mysticism of all three religions is essentially Neoplatonic, the scholasticism of all predominatingly Aristotelian. Even a dogmatic controversy like that on the Trinity, which might seem by its subject to be exclusively Christian, has a close counterpart in the hardly less acute and protracted controversies among Moslems and Jews over the reality and nature of the divine attributes; while the doctrine of the Trinity was not infrequently conceived in forms which are hardly distinguishable from Moslem attribute theories, and not unrelated to them.
The resemblances are not superficial or fortuitous. They are, on the contrary, a common element, derived from a common source, shaped by the same philosophic influences, and developed by interchange of ideas. On the other hand, each of these religions has an individuality which is stronger than all their affinities. Especially is this true of Christianity, whose dogma of salvation through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ has no counterpart or analogy in either Judaism or Mohammedanism. This dogma determined both the sacramental cultus of Christianity and its ecclesiastical institutions, and drew both after it into the sphere of dogma.
In the course of their history these religions have undergone many changes, and variations have arisen which depart so widely from the primitive type or the prevailing trend of development that they might almost be described as distinct species, descended from the same remote ancestor and bearing the same generic name. This multifariousness makes the presentation of the religions in the present volu ume peculiarly difficult. It is not merely that an intelligible account of the variations is hard to give in small compass, but that the narrator is tempted to involve himself in a maze of digressions in which the thread of the history is lost. This can only be avoided by treating them from the point of view of the main movement and subordinating them to it.
The historian of religion has to do more than exhibit the facts impartially and in just proportion, trace the origin and development of ideas and institutions, and define the forces internal and external, which were operative in this develop ment. He must endeavour to understand and appreciate. ways of thinking and feeling remote from his own, and help his readers to a like apprehension. To do this, he must put himself, as far as imagination can go, into the position and attitude of those who formed and entertained these ideas; he must learn to think other men's thoughts after them, as they thought them, and to enter with sympathetic intelligence into their feelings. Accuracy and impartiality without imagination and sympathy can at best give no more than historical materials, not history. How far the present