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Tiele On Religion

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This essay explores C.P. Tiele's concept of religion. After a sketch of his place in early Dutch science of religion (I), an outline is given of the main theme in Tiele's discussion of religion — the relationship between outside ("dogma and ritual") and inside ("inner conviction") (II). The most voluminous part of the essay (III) elaborates on this topic by giving a detailed analysis of Tiele's Gifford Lectures. The structure of this magnum opus is unravelled, which enables one to better discern the different angels from which Tiele approached his subject matter. The metaphor of outside manifestations, which reveal the inner core, enabled him to locate religion "in the inmost depths of our souls". He claims that religion is ultimately a psychological phenomenon; its essence is "piety". We owe this insight to the new science of religion, which also shows that the religious need is the "mightiest" and most profound of all human needs.


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