Religion Past and Present

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(892 words)

[German Version]

The earth represents a complex symbolic web of religious significance that includes its life-giving powers, ability to sustain life, and its tendency to accept the bodies of the dead. In some cultures, the earth is personified as a mother goddess, but this tendency is not universal despite the claim by Dieterich's Mutter Erde (Mother Earth, 1905), which constructs a theology of a single great goddess, associated with the earth. In fact, there are many goddesses and most of them are only tangentially associated with the earth, which…

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Olson, Carl, “Earth”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 24 September 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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