Religion Past and Present

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(420 words)

[German Version]

(in the history of religion). The Polynesian word has been known in Europe for more than a century. Similar expressions had been heard from Native American Indians (manitu from the Algonquin, wakanda from the Sioux [Lakota], orenda from the Iroquois). The scholarly interpretation of this discovery (dynamism) states that “primitives” see themselves surrounded by impersonal powers which they set out to control with the help of magic. The original meaning of mana remains a mystery, since European thinking lacks an equivalent. Various translations a…

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Greschat, Hans-Jürgen, “Mana”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 15 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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