Religion Past and Present

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Special Gods
(363 words)

[German Version]

In religious studies, the term special gods is sometimes used synonymously with functional gods, gods of appearance, or indigitamental gods, but it is used here in the narrower sense intended by H. Usener when he introduced it. For Usener, special gods, equivalent to Varro’s di certi, represent one stage in the development of the human consciousness of God, understood as an evolutionary process (Evolution: II) characterized by continuous progress from the particular to the general.

The lowest stage is represented by the “momentary gods” (Moment, God of …

Cite this page
Vollmer, Ulrich, “Special Gods”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 06 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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