Religion Past and Present

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First Human Being
(1,147 words)

[German Version]

I. Religions tell of an Urmensch, or first human being, as an element of etiological myths in cosmogony (Creation), anthropogony or anthropology: A primal being anticipates or establishes constants of cosmic or earthly occurrences through his/her anthropomorphic body or corresponds to the first human being.

II. These myths fulfill different functions.

1. They establish and justify social norms. The body parts of the Vedic puruṣa, Sanskrit for “human being,” become, in a micro-/macrocosmic analogy, the hierarchy of the castes (Ṛgveda, IX 90). Notions of prima…

Cite this page
Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel, “First Human Being”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 25 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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