Euhemerism

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Euhemerism The theory, held by Euhemerus, that the gods of mythology were but deified mortals, and their deeds only the amplification in imagination of human acts.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n euhemerism The doctrine that polytheistic mythology arose exclusively, or in the main, out of the deification of dead heroes; the system of mythological interpretation which reduces the gods to the level of distinguished men, and so regards the myths as founded on real histories; hence, the derivation of mythology from history.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Euhemerism ū-hē′me-rizm the system which explains mythology as growing out of real history, its deities as merely magnified men
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. Euhemerus, Gr. a philosopher, about 300
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
From Euhemerus, a 4th-cent. (B.C.) Sicilian philosopher.

Usage

In literature:

In suggesting this view, we are not opening the door to Euhemerism.
"Myths and Myth-Makers" by John Fiske
His explanations, when he euhemerizes, are those of his day.
"The Danish History, Books I-IX" by Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")
The first passage is remarkable as showing that Plato was entirely free from what may be termed the Euhemerism of his age.
"Phaedrus" by Plato
In the philosophy of Mr. Herbert Spencer we find a pure Euhemerism.
"Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1" by Andrew Lang
Euhemerism is shown by the last three being represented as originally kings of Rome.
"The Student's Companion to Latin Authors" by George Middleton
Its Euhemerism is less.
"The Ethnology of the British Colonies and Dependencies" by Robert Gordon Latham
The legend of Quetzalcoatl, as the Aztecs transmitted it to the Spaniards, is a motley concatenation of euhemerized myths.
"Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Native Religions of Mexico and Peru" by Albert Réville
This rationalizing method of interpretation is known as Euhemerism.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 9, Slice 8" by Various
Euhemerism is ordinarily rather an unproductive and hazardous approach for the historian.
"Francis Drake and the California Indians, 1579" by Robert F. Heizer
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