#IAmNotADictionary Phrase Of The Day: Pantheism
#IAmNotADictionary Phrase Of The Day: Pantheism – the view that the Universe (Nature) and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Ancient Greek: πᾶν (pan) meaning “all” and θεός ( ) meaning “God”. As such, pantheism denotes the idea that “God” is best seen as a way of relating to the Universe. Although there are divergences within pantheism, the central ideas found in almost all versions are the Cosmos as an all-encompassing unity and the sacredness of Nature.
The term “pantheism” is derived from Greek words πάν (pan) meaning “all” and θεός (theos) meaning God, in the sense of theism. The term pantheist—from which the word pantheism was derived—was purportedly first used in English by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work “Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist”. He clarified the idea in a 1710 letter to Gottfried Leibniz when he referred to “the pantheistic opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe”. However, many earlier writers, schools of philosophy, and religious movements expressed pantheistic ideas.
They include some of the Presocratics, such as Heraclitus and Anaximander. The Stoics were pantheists, beginning with Zeno of Citium and culminating in the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius. During the pre-Christian Roman Empire, Stoicism was one of the three dominant schools of philosophy, along with Epicureanism and Neoplatonism. The early Taoism of Lao Tzu and Zhuangzi is also pantheistic.
In the West, pantheism went into retreat during the Christian years between the 4th and 15th centuries, when it was regarded as heresy. The first open revival was by Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake in 1600). Baruch Spinoza‘s Ethics, finished in 1675, was the major source from which pantheism spread (though Spinoza himself did not use the word). John Toland was influenced by both Spinoza and Bruno. In 1720 he wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form of Celebrating the Socratic-Society in Latin.
In 1785 a major controversy known in German as the Pantheismus-Streit (pantheism controversy) between critic Friedrich Jacobi and defender Moses Mendelssohn helped to spread awareness of pantheism to many German thinkers in the late 18th and in the 19th century.
For a time during the 19th century it seemed like pantheism was the religion of the future, attracting figures such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in Britain; Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Germany; Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the USA. Seen as a threat by the Vatican, it came under attack in the notorious Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX.
However, in the 20th century pantheism was sidelined by political ideologies such as Communism and Fascism, by the traumatic upheavals of two world wars, and later by relativistic philosophies such as Existentialism and Post-Modernism. It persisted in eminent pantheists such as the novelist D. H. Lawrence, poet Robinson Jeffers, scientist Albert Einstein, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and historian Arnold Toynbee.