American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena.
- n. The belief in the existence of spiritual beings that are separable or separate from bodies.
- n. The hypothesis holding that an immaterial force animates the universe.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The hypothesis, original with Pythagoras and Plato, of a force (anima mundi, or soul of the world) immaterial but inseparable from matter, and giving to matter its form and movements.
- n. The theory of vital action and of disease propounded by the German chemist G. E. Stahl (1660–1734); the theory that the soul (anima) is the vital principle, the source of both the normal and the abnormal phenomena of life. In Stahl's theory the soul is regarded as the principle of life, and, in its normal action, of health; the body being supposed to be incapable of self-movement, and not only originally formed by the soul, but also set in motion and governed by it. Hence it was inferred that the source of disease is in some hindrance to the full and free activity of the soul, and that medical treatment should be confined to an attempt to remove such hindrances from it.
- n. The general conception of or the belief in souls and other spiritual beings; the explanation of all the phenomena in nature not due to obvious material causes by attributing them to spiritual agency. Among the beliefs most characteristic of animism is that of a human apparitional soul, that is, of a vital and animating principle residing in the body, but distinct from it, bearing its form and appearance, but wanting its material and solid substance. Atan early stage in the development of philosophy and religion events are frequently ascribed to agencies analogous to human souls, or to the spirits of the deceased.
- n. A belief that spirits inhabit some or all classes of natural objects or phenomena.
- n. A belief that an immaterial force animates the universe.
- n. dated A doctrine that animal life is produced by an immaterial spirit.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The doctrine, taught by Stahl, that the soul is the proper principle of life and development in the body.
- n. The belief that inanimate objects and the phenomena of nature are endowed with personal life or a living soul; also, in an extended sense, the belief in the existence of soul or spirit apart from matter.
- n. the doctrine that all natural objects and the universe itself have souls
- anima + -ism, from Latin anima ("life", "breath", "soul"). Dated sense from German Animismus, coined c. 1720 by physicist/chemist Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734) See anima mundi. (Wiktionary)
- From Latin anima, soul. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Today the term animism has fallen into disuse among serious scholars of religion although it is still retained by some MISSIOLOGISTS.”
“«The ultimate source of the term animism is the Latin word, anima, meaning spirit, soul, or life force.”
“They were not just priests, as is a common misconception, but would have fallen into the class of bards, judges, teachers, etc … According to the Roman, Pliny the Elder, the Druids believed in animism (the belief that animals have souls) and reincarnation.”
“In terms of intent -- how we're meant to read God -- I think you absolutely have to distinguish the immanent all-pervasive divinity of animism from the transcendant all-powerful divinity of monotheism.”
“This worldview and lifeway is now being called animism (Graham Harvey and Robert J Wallis: Historical Dictionary of Shamanism)”
“Holistic cultures like those of Native Americans or Australian aborigines usually see human beings as part of a wider, natural universe in which everything is alive (a concept often called animism) and the life force is everywhere.”
“That type of mentality called animism which anthropologists designate as the essence of primitive man characterizes the Mother's mind.”
“He probably saw lakes and trees and lightning as actual, living beings, a view of the world called animism.”
“In the stage of human evolution known as animism, everything which acts -- or is supposed to act -- is supposed to be, like man himself, a person.”
“Primitive peoples, as we like to call them, believed that spirits inhabited physical objects, a perspective known as animism.”
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