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Hermann Usener

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Hermann Usener

Hermann Karl Usener
Born October 23, 1834
Weilburg, German Confederation
Died

October 21, 1905(1905-10-21) (aged 70#REDIRECT

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Nationality German
Fields Classics
Doctoral students H. A. Diels
U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
Hermann Osthoff
Other notable students Eduard Schwartz
Friedrich Leo
Paul Natorp
Hans Lietzmann
Albrecht Dieterich
Richard Reitzenstein
Aby Warburg

Hermann Karl Usener (October 23, 1834 – October 21, 1905) was a German scholar in the fields of philology and comparative religion.

Life

Hermann Usener was born at Weilburg and educated at its Gymnasium. From 1853 he studied at Heidelberg, Munich, Göttingen and Bonn.

In 1858 he had a teaching position at the Joachimsthalschen Gymnasium in Berlin. He was Professor 1861 to 1863 at the University of Bern, then at the University of Greifswald, before becoming professor at the University of Bonn.[1]

The Bonn School of classical philology was led by Usener with Franz Buecheler.

Influence

Usener was a large-scale thinker who combined scholarly research with theoretical reflection. His research on the ancient world used a comparative method, drawing on a variety of ethnological material for the study of social and religious matters. His theoretical method was phenomenological or hermeneutical, and centered on social psychology and cultural history.[2] He was influential most of all through his work on the formation of religious concepts, which influenced thinkers such as Albrecht Dieterich, Ludwig Radermacher, Aby Warburg, Walter F. Otto, and Ernst Cassirer.[3] In his book on “the names of gods” (Götternamen, 1896), Usener introduced the concept of a momentary god.[4] This phrase entered the English-speaking world, to describe deities who seem to exist only for a specific purpose, time and place.[5]

He also trained an impressive list of students, [6] and belonged himself to a long dynasty of students of Winkelmann.[7] One such student was Friedrich Nietzsche: after initial support, Usener turned against him as a scholar after reading The Birth of Tragedy. Other students included Hermann Diels,[8] Paul Natorp,[9] Hans Lietzmann,[10] Albrecht Dieterich, Richard Reitzenstein,[11] and Aby Warburg.[12] Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, the leading German classical scholar of the following generation, studied at Bonn 1867-9; but tended to disagree with Usener. Their correspondence has been published.

Works

His works include:

  • Analecta Theophrastea (1858 dissertation at Bonn)
  • Alexandri Aphrodisiensis problematorum lib. III. et IV. (1859)
  • Scholia in Lucani bellum civile (1869)
  • Anecdoton Holderi (1877)
  • Legenden der heiligen Pelagia (1879)
  • De Stephano Alexandrino (1880)
  • Philologie und Geschichtswissenschaft (1882)
  • Jacob Bernays, Gesammelte Abhandlungen (1885) editor
  • Acta S. Marinae et S. Christophori (1886)
  • Epicurea (1887)
  • Altgriechischer Versbau (1887)
  • Das Weihnachtsfest (Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, part 1) (1889)
  • Christlicher Festbrauch (Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, part 2) (1889)
  • Die Sintfluthsagen untersucht (1899)
  • Götternamen: Versuch einer Lehre von der Religiösen Begriffsbildung (1896)
  • Dionysius of Halicarnassus edition, begun 1904, with Ludwig Radermacher
  • Vorträge und Aufsätze, 1907.

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ nomenclator philologorum
  2. ^ James P. Holoka, , 1996, vol. 7 no. 14Bryn Mawr Classical Review: a review of Renate Schlesier, "'Arbeiter in Useners Weinberg.' Anthropologie und Antike Religionsgeschichte in Deutschland nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg", in Hellmut Flashar, ed., Altertumswissenschaft in den 20er Jahren: Neue Fragen und Impulse (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1995), p. 329-380.
  3. ^ See Antje Wessels, Zur Rezeption von Hermann Useners Lehre von der religiösen Begriffsbildung (De Gruyter, 2003, no. 51 in the series “Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche Und Vorarbeiten”).
  4. ^ momentary god
  5. ^ Momentary Gods, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 16. Kessinger Publishing, 2003. Pages 777–778. ISBN 0-7661-3693-0.[1]
  6. ^ Hugh Lloyd-Jones, ‘’Bryn Mawr Classical Review’’, 2004, vol. 2 no. 43: a review of Suzanne Marchand, "From Liberalism to Neoromanticism: Albrecht Dieterich, Richard Reitzenstein, and the Religious Turn in Fin-de-Siècle German Classical Studies”, in Ingo Gildenhard, Martin Ruehl, eds., ‘’Out of Arcadia: Classics and Politics in Germany in the Age of Burckhardt, Nietzsche and Wilamowitz’’ (London: Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2003), BICS Suppl. 79.
  7. ^ Camille Paglia spoke of a 150-year-long dynasty of German scholars following the idealizing Winckelmann, such as Hermann Usener, Werner Jaeger, and Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, who bitterly warred over the character and methodology of classical studies. See Camille Paglia, “Erich Neumann: theorist of the Great Mother”, in ‘’Arion’’, vol. 13, no. 3 (2010).
  8. ^ PDF, p. 4 and later [2]
  9. ^ Paul Natorp (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  10. ^ Bauer-Appendix 2
  11. ^ Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.02.43
  12. ^ [3], [4].[5]: Critics have stressed the importance of Warburg's professor Herman Usener, the great classical philologist and scholar of comparative religion, whose Götternamen investigated the etymologies of deities' names in order to shed light on the changing psychology of religious beliefs; Warburg's iconological project, with its ambition to illuminate historical psychology, strives for an analogous goal.
  • Roland Kany, Hermann Usener as Historian of Religion. In: Archiv für Religionsgeschichte 6 (2004) S. 159-176.

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