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The Ring of the Nibelung
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since in their opinion it would destroy poetry along with religion and so deprive mankind of all poetic drive. (…)

(…) Far from annulling art, poetry, imagination, I deny religion only insofar as it is not poetry, but common prose. And this brings us to an essential limitation of the statement that religion is poetry. In a sense it is poetry, but with one important difference: poetry and art in general do not represent their creations as anything but what they are, namely products of art, whereas religion represents its imaginary beings as real beings.” [261F-LER: p. 180-181]


[262F-LER: p. 183]

“… unless religion enters in, an artist merely expects his images to be faithful and beautiful; he does not claim that a semblance of reality is reality itself. Religion, on the other hand, deceives people, or rather people deceive themselves in religion; for it does claim that the semblance of reality is reality, that an image is a living being. But this being lives only in the imagination … .” [262F-LER: p. 183]


[263F-LER: p. 183]

“As long as art serves religion and is not its own master, it produces works, as the history of Greek and Christian art demonstrates, that can make no claim to being works of art.” [263F-LER: p. 183]


[264F-LER: p. 184]

“Man must always start from the concrete, from what is simplest, clearest, most undeniable, namely the sensuous object, and only then proceed to the more complicated, to abstractions that the eye cannot see.” [264F-LER: p. 184]


[265F-LER: p. 187]

“For God did not, as the Bible says, make man in His image; on the contrary man, as I have shown in The Essence of Christianity, made God in his image.” [265F-LER: p. 187]


[266F-LER: p. 190]

“… any attempt to sift the historical truth from the additions, distortions, and exaggerations of the imagination is absurd, or at all events, fruitless. We lack the historical tools. The Christ who has come down to us in the Bible – and we know of no other – is and remains a product of the human imagination.” [266F-LER: p. 190]


[267F-LER: p. 190]

“ … the eye with which man first contemplates nature is not the intelligence that makes experiments and observations, but solely the imagination, the poetic faculty. But what does the imagination do? It fashions everything in man’s image; it transforms nature into an image of man.” [267F-LER: p. 190]

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