Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Conspectus of Feuerbach’s Book
Lectures on the Essence of Religion

a page from the ms

Written: 1909
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th Edition, Moscow, 1976, Volume 38, pp. 61-83
Publisher: Progress Publishers
First Published: 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XII
Translated: Clemence Dutt
Edited: Stewart Smith
Original Transcription & Markup: R. Cymbala, & Marc Szewczyk,
Re-Marked Up & Proofread by: Kevin Goins (2007)
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy,
distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commer-
cial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


Conspectus of Feuerbach’s book “Vorlesungen über das Wesen der Religion” (Lectures on the Essence of Religion) is contained in a separate notebook whose cover was not preserved. On the first page in abbreviated form is written L. Feuerbach, Sämtliche Werke, Band 8, 1851; also indicated is the press-mark—8°. R. 807. There is no indication exactly when the Conspectus was worked out by Lenin. V. Adoratsky has suggested that it was written in 1909 (Lenin Miscellany XII). The following arguments speak in favour of this hypothesis. It has been established that the press-mark on the first page of the Conspectus is that of the French National Library (Paris) in which Lenin worked from January 13 to June 30, 1909. The contents of Lectures on the Essence of Religion borders upon those works of Feuerbach that were used by Lenin in 1908 in writing his book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, and some of Lenin’s remarks in the Conspectus are related to propositions formulated in his book. In the Conspectus, for example, Lenin notes: [[Feuerbach and natural science!! NB. Cf. Mach and Co. today]], and in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism he writes: “The philosophy of the scientist Mach is to science what the kiss of the Christian Judas was to Christ. Mach likewise betrays science into the hands of fideism by virtually deserting to the camp of philosophical idealism.” (V. I. Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism) Certain remarks in Lenin’s Conspectus are also related to theses in his article “On the Attitude of a Working-Class Party to Religion,” written in May 1909.

Note that this document has undergone special formating to ensure that Lenin’s sidenotes fit on the page, marking as best as possible where they were located in the original manuscript.


, VOL. 8, 1851

The preface is dated 1. I. 1851.—Feu-
erbach speaks here of the reasons why
he did not take part in the 1848 revolu-
tion, which had “such a shameful, such
a barren end” (VII).[1] The revolution of
1848 had no Orts- und Zeitsinn,[2] the
constitutionalists expected freedom from
the word des Herrn,[3] the republicans

8°. R. 807

(VII-VIII) from their desire (“it was only
necessary to desire a republic for it to
come into being”).... (VIII)

“If a revolution breaks out again and I
take an active part in it, then you can ...
be sure that this revolution will be vic-
torious, that Judgment Day for the mon-
archy and hierarchy has arrived.” (VII)

did not
the 1848

First lecture  (1-11).
P. 2:  “We have had enough of political as
well as philosophical idealism; we
now want to be political materialists.”


3-4  —Why Feuerbach fled to the seclusion
of the country: the break with the
“gottesgläubigen Welt”[4] p. 4
(Z. 7 v. u.[5] ) (cf. p. 3 in f.[6] )—to
live with “nature” (5), ablegen[7] all
“überspannten”[8] ideas.
down with
7-11  Feuerbach gives an outline of his
works (7-9): History of modern phi-
losophy (9-11 Spinoza, Leibnitz).

Second Lecture  (12-20).

12-14  —Bayle.
15:  Sinnlichkeit[9] for me means
“the true unity of the material and
the spiritual, a unity not thought up
and prepared, but existing, and which
therefore has the same significance as
ness’ in
reality for me.”
Sinnlich[10] is not only the Magen,[11]
but also the Kopf[12] (15).
(16-20:  Feuerbach’s work on Immortality:

Third Lecture (21-30).


The objection was raised to my Essence
of Christianity
[13] that for me man does not
depend on anything, “there was opposition
to this alleged deification of man by me.”
(24) “The being, whom man presupposes ...
is nothing other than nature, not your
God.” (25)


“The unconscious being of nature is for
me the eternal being, without origin, the
first being, but first in point of time, and
not in point of rank, the physically but
not morally first being....” (27)


My denial includes also affirmation....
“It is, of course, a consequence of my doc-
trine that there is no God” (29), but this
follows from the conception of the essence
of God (=an expression of the essence
of nature, of the essence of man).


Fourth Lecture.


“The feeling of dependence is the basis
of religion.” (31) (“Furcht”[14] 33-4-5-6)


“The so-called speculative philosophers
are ... those philosophers who do not con-
struct their notions in accordance with
things, but rather construct things accord-
ing to their notions.” (31)

cf. Marx
und Engels[15]

(Fifth Lecture).


— it is especially death that arouses
fear, belief in God. (41)


“I hate the idealism that divorces man
from nature; I am not ashamed of my de-
pendence on nature.” (44)


“As little as I have deified man in Wesen
des Christenthums
, a deification with which
I have been stupidly reproached ... so little
do I want to deify nature in the sense
of theology....” (46-47)


Sixth Lecture — The cult of animals (50
u. ff.[16]).


“What man is dependent on is ... nature,
an object of the senses ... all the impressions
which nature makes on man through the
senses ... can become motives of religious
veneration.” (55)


(Seventh Lecture.)


By egoism I understand, not the egoism
of the “philistine and bourgeois” (63), but
the philosophical principle of conformity
with nature, with human reason, against
“theological hypocrisy, religious and spec-
ulative fantasy, political despotism.” (63
i. f.) Cf. 64  very important.

“egoism” and

Idem 68 i. f. and 69 i. f. — Egoism (in the
philosophical sense) is the root of religion.

(70:  Die Gelehrten[17] can only be beaten
with their own weapons, i.e., by quo-
tations) ... “man die Gelehrten nur
durch ihre eigenen Waffen, d. h.
Zitate, schlagen kann....” (70)

     Incidentally, on p. 78 Feuerbach uses
     the expression: Energie d. h. Thätigkeit.[18]
     This is worth noting. There is, indeed,
     a subjective moment in the concept of ener-
     gy, which is absent, for example, in the
     concept of movement. Or, more correctly,
     in the concept or usage in speech of the
     concept of energy there is something that
     excludes objectivity. The energy of the
     moon (cf.) versus the movement of the moon.
on the
question of
the word
107  i. f. ...“Nature is a primordial, pri-
mary and final being....”
111:  ... “For me ... in philosophy ... the
sensuousness is primary; but primary not
merely in the sense of speculative
philosophy, where the primary sig-
nifies that beyond the bounds of which
it is necessary to go, but primary
in the sense of not being derived, of
being self-existing and true.”
the sensuousness
=the prima-
ry, the self-
existing and
...“The spiritual is nothing outside
and without the sensuous.”
NB  in general p. 111 ... “the truth
and essentiality (NB) of the senses, from
which ... philosophy ... proceeds....”
112 ...  “Man thinks only by means of his
sensuously existing head, reason has
a firm sensuous foundation in the
head, the brain, the focus of the

  See p. 112 on the veracity (Urkunden[19])  
  of the senses.  

114:  Nature=the primary, unableitbares,
ursprüngliches Wesen.[20]



“Thus, Die Grundsätze der Philosophie
is interconnected with the Wesen der Re-
.” [21] (113)


“I deify nothing, consequently not even
nature.” (115)

116  — Answer to the reproach that Feuer-
bach does not give a  definition of

“I understand by nature the total-
ity of all sensuous forces, things and
beings which man distinguishes from

himself as not human.... Or, if the
word is taken in practice: nature is
everything that for man—indepen-
dent of the supernatural whisperings

It turns out
that nature=
except the

of theistic faith—proves to be imme-
diate and sensuous, the basis and
object of his life. Nature is light,
electricity, magnetism, air, water,
fire, earth, animal, plant, man, in-

Feuerbach is
brilliant but
not profound.
Engels defines

sofar as he is a being acting involun-
tarily and unconsciously—by the word
‘nature’ I understand nothing more
than this, nothing mystical, nothing
nebulous, nothing theological” (above:
in contrast to Spinoza).

more profound-
ly the distinc-
tion between
and idealism.

...“Nature is ... everything that you see
and that is not derived from human hands
and thoughts. Or if we penetrate into the
anatomy of nature, nature is the being,
or totality of beings and things, whose
appearances, expressions or effects, in which
precisely in their existence and essence are
manifested and consist, have their basis
not in thoughts or intentions and decisions
of the will, but in astronomical, or cosmic,
mechanical, chemical, physical, physiolo-
gical or organic forces or causes.” (116-117)


[Here too it amounts to opposing matter
to mind, the physical to the psychical.]
121 — against the argument that there must
be a prime cause (= God).


“It is only man’s narrowness and love of
convenience that cause him to put eternity
in place of time, infinity in place of the
endless progress from cause to cause, a stat-
ic divinity in place of restless nature,
eternal rest instead of eternal movement.”
(121 i. f.)

124- 125 Owing to their subjective
needs, men replace the concrete by the ab-
stract, perception by the concept, the many
by the one, the infinite Σ [22] of causes by
the single cause.

Yet, “no objective validity and exist-
ence, no existence outside ourselves” must
be ascribed to these abstractions. (125)

objectiv =
außer uns[23]

...“Nature has no beginning and no end.
Everything in it is in mutual interaction,
everything is relative, everything at once
effect and cause, everything in it is all-
sided and reciprocal....” (129)


there is no place there for God (129-130;
simple arguments against God).


...“The cause of the first and general
cause of things in the sense of the
theists, theologians and so-called spec-
ulative philosophers is man’s under-
standing....” (130) “God is ... cause in
general, the concept of cause as essence
personified and become independent....”


“God is abstract nature, i.e., nature re-
moved from sensuous perception, mentally
conceived, made into an object or being

of the understanding; nature in the proper
sense is sensuous, real nature, as immedi-
ately manifested and presented to us by
the senses.” (133)


The theists see in God the cause of the
movement in nature (which they make into
a dead mass or matter). (134) The power of
God, however, is in reality the power of
(Naturmacht: 135).


...“Indeed it is only through their effects
that we perceive the properties of things....”


Atheism (136-137) abolishes neither das
moralische Über
(= das Ideal)[24] nor das
natürliche Über
(= die Natur.)[25]


...“Is not time merely a form of the
world, the manner in which particular
beings and effects follow one another? How
then can I ascribe a temporal beginning
to the world?” (145)

time and

...“God is merely the world in thought....
The distinction between God and the world
is merely the distinction between spirit
and sense, thought and perception....” (146)


God is presented as a being existing out-

side ourselves. But is that not precisely
an admission of the truth of sensuous being?
Is it not (thereby) “recognised that there
is no being outside sensuous being? For,
apart from sensuousness, have we any
other sign, any other criterion, of an exist-
ence outside ourselves, of an existence in-
dependent of thought?” (148)

being outside
ourselves =
of thought

...“Nature ... in isolation from its mate-
riality and corporeality ... is God....” (149)

nature outside,
independent of
matter = God

“To derive nature from God is equivalent


to wanting to derive the original from the
image, from the copy, to derive a thing

theory of
‘the copy’

from the thought of the thing.” (149)


Characteristic of man is Verkehrtheit
(149 i. f.) verselbständigen[26] abstractions—
for example, time (150) and space:

“Although ... man has abstracted space
and time from spatial and temporal things,
nevertheless he presupposes those as the
primary grounds and conditions of the
latter’s existence. Hence he thinks of the
world, i.e., the sum-total of real things,
matter, the content of the world, as having
its origin in space and time. Even Hegel
makes matter arise not only in, but out of,

space and time....” (150) “Also, it is really
incomprehensible why time, separated from
temporal things, should not be identified
with God.” (151)

time outside
things = God

...“In reality, exactly the opposite holds
good, ...it is not things that presuppose
space and time, but space and time that
presuppose things, for space or extension

time and

presupposes something that extends, and
time, movement, for time is indeed only a
concept derived from movement, presup-
poses something that moves. Everything is
spatial and temporal....” (151-152)


“The question whether a God has created
the world ... is the question of the relation
of mind to sensuousness” (152—the most
important and difficult question of philos-

cf. Engels
idem in Lud-

ophy, the whole history of philosophy
turns on this question (153)—the conflict
between the Stoics and the Epicureans,
the Platonists and the Aristotelians, the
Sceptics and the Dogmatists, in ancient
philosophy; between the nominalists and


realists in the Middle Ages; between the
idealists and the “realists or empiricists”

(sic! 153) in modern times.


It depends in part on the nature of people
(academic versus practical types) whether
they incline to one or another philosophy.


“I do not deny ... wisdom, goodness,
beauty; I deny only that, as such generic
notions, they are beings, whether in the
shape of gods or properties of God, or as
Platonic ideas, or as self-posited Hegelian
concepts....” (158)—they exist only as prop-
erties of men.

contra theol-
ogy and
(in theory)

Another cause of belief in God: man
transfers to nature the idea of his own
purposive creation. Nature is purposive—
ergo it was created by a rational being. (160)


“That which man calls the purposiveness
of nature and conceives as such is in real-
ity nothing but the unity of the world,
the harmony of cause and effect, the in-
terconnection in general in which every-
thing in nature exists and acts.” (161)


...“Nor have we any grounds for imagin-
ing that if man had more senses or organs
he would also cognise more properties or
things of nature. There is nothing more
in the external world, in inorganic nature,
than in organic nature. Man has just as
many senses as are necessary for him to
conceive the world in its totality, in its
entirety.” (163)

If man had
more senses,
would he
discover more
things in the
world? No.
  important against agnosticism  

168 —Against Liebig on account of the
phrases about the “infinite wisdom”
(of God).... [[Feuerbach and natural
science!! NB. Cf. Mach and Co.[28]
today.]] [Back to top]
174- 175-178—Nature = a republican;
God = a monarch. [This occurs not
only once in Feuerbach!]
188- 190—God was a patriarchal monarch,
and he is now a constitutional monarch:
he rules, but according to laws.

Where does spirit (Geist) come from?—
ask the theists of the atheist. (196) They
have too disdainful (despektierliche: 196)

an idea of nature, too lofty an idea of spir-
it (zu hohe, zu vornehme (!!) Vorstel-

(cf. Dietz-

Even a Regierungsrath[31] cannot be
directly explained from nature. (197)


“The spirit develops together with the
body, with the senses ... it is connected
with the senses ... whence the skull, whence
the brain, thence also the spirit; whence
an organ, thence also its functioning” ((197):
cf. above (197) “the spirit is in the head”).


“Mental activity is also a bodily activi-
ty.” (197-198)


The origin of the corporeal world from the

spirit, from God, leads to the creation of
the world from nothing—“for whence does
the spirit get the matter, corporeal sub-
stances, if not from nothing?” (199)


...“Nature is corporeal, material, sen-
suous....” (201)

is material

Jakob Boehme = a “materialistic
” (202): he deifies not only the
mind but also matter. For him God is ma-
terial—therein lies his mysticism. (202)


...“Where the eyes and hands begin, there
the gods end.” (203)


(The theists) have “blamed matter or
the inevitable necessity of na-
... for the evil in nature” (212)

the necessity
of nature

213 in the middle and 215 in the
middle “natürliche” und “bürgerliche

  a germ of
(226):  Feuerbach says that he is ending the
first part here (on nature as the basis
of religion) and passing to the second
part: the qualitities of the human spir-
it are manifested in Geistesreligion.[34]
(232)— “Religion is poetry”—it can be said,
for faith = fantasy. But do I (Feuer-
bach) not then abolish poetry? No.

I abolish (aufhebe) religion “only in-
” (Feuerbach’s italics) “as it is
not poetry, but ordinary prose.” (233)


Art does not require the recognition of
its works as reality. (233)


Besides fantasy, of great importance in
religion are das Gemüth[35] (261), the prac-
aspect (258), the search for the better,
for protection, help, etc.


(263)—In religion one seeks consolation
(atheism is alleged to be trostlos[36]).— — —


“A concept, however, congenial to man’s
self-love, is that nature does not act with
immutable necessity, but that above the
necessity of nature is ... a being that loves
mankind.” (264) And in the next
“Naturnotwendigkeit”[37] of
the falling of a stone. (264)

the necessity
of nature

p. 287

     twice in the middle: likewise
     “Notwendigkeit der Natur.”[38]

Religion = childishness, the childhood
of mankind (269), Christianity has made
a god of morality, it has created a moral
. (274)


Religion is rudimentary education—one

can say: “education is true religion....”
(275) “However, this is ... a misuse of
words, for superstitious and inhuman ideas
are always linked with the word religion.”

misuse of the
word religion

Eulogy of education—(277).


Superficial view and assertion ... that
religion is absolutely of no concern to
life, namely to public, political life.” (281)


I would not give a farthing for a political
freedom that allows man to be a slave
of religion. (281)


Religion is innate in man (“this state-
ment ... simply means”) = superstition is
innate in man. (283)


“The Christian has a free cause of nature,
a lord of nature, whose will, whose word,
nature obeys, a God who is not bound by the
so-called causal nexus, by necessity, by the
chain which links effect to cause and cause

to cause, whereas the heathen god is bound
by the necessity of nature and cannot save
even his favourites from the fatal necessity
of dying.” (301) (Thus Feuerbach says sys-

the necessity
of nature


tematically: Notwendigkeit der Natur.)


“The Christian, however, has a free cause
because in his wishes he is not bound by
the interconnection of nature, nor by the
necessity of nature.” (301) ((And three
more on this page. Notwendig-


keit der Natur.))


And p. 302: “...all the laws or natural
to which human existence is
subjected....” (302)


     | cf. 307: “Lauf der Natur.”[39]

“To make nature dependent on God, means
to make the world order, the necessity of
nature, dependent on the will.” (312) And


p. 313 (above)—“Naturnotwendigkeit”!!

320:  “necessity of nature” (der Natur)...

In religious ideas “we have ... examples-
how in general man converts the subject-
ive into the objective, that is to say, he makes
that which exists only in his thought only in
his thought, conception, imagination into
something existing outside thought,

what is the
(according to

conception, imagination....” (328)


“So Christians tear the spirit, the soul,
of man out of his body and make this
torn-out, disembodied spirit into their God.”

Geist[40] = God

Religion gives (332) man an ideal. Man
needs an ideal, but a human ideal corres-
ponding to nature and not a supernatural


“Let our ideal be no castrated, disem-
bodied, abstract being, let our ideal be the
whole, real, all-sided, perfect, developed
man.” (334)


Mikhailovsky’s ideal is
only a vulgarised repetition of
this ideal of advanced bourgeois
democracy or of revolutionary
bourgeois democracy.


“Man has no idea, no conception, of
any other reality, of any other existence,
than sensuous, physical existence....”


“If one is not ashamed to allow the sen-
suous, corporeal world to arise from the
thought and will of a spirit, if one is not

ashamed to assert that things are not
thought of because they exist, but that
they exist because they are thought of;


then let one also not be ashamed to allow
things to arise from the word; then let one
also not be ashamed to assert that words
exist not because things exist, but that
things exist only because words exist.”


A God without the immortality of the
soul of man is only a God in name:


...“Such a God is ... the God of some
rationalist natural scientists, who is noth-
ing but personified nature or natural
necessity, the universe, with which of course
the idea of immortality is incompatible.”




The last (30th) lecture, pp. (358-370),
could be put forward almost in its entirety
as a typical example of an enlightening
atheism with a socialist tint (concerning
the mass that suffers want, etc., p. 365
middle), etc. Final words: it was my task
to make you, my hearers,


“from friends of God into friends of man,
from men of faith into thinkers, from men
of prayer into workers, from candidates
for the beyond into students of this world,

from Christians, who, as they themselves
acknowledge and confess, are ‘half-
beast, half-angel,
into men, whole men”
(370 end).


Next follow Additions and Notes. (371-


Here there are many details, quotations,
which contain repetitions. I pass over all
that. I note only the most important of
that which affords some interest: the
basis of morality is egoism (392). (“Love
of life, interest, egoism”)... “there is

not only a singular or personal, but
also a social egoism, a family egoism,
a corporation egoism, a community egoism,
a patriotic egoism.” (393)

A germ of

...“The good is nothing but that which
corresponds to the egoism of all men....”


“One has only to cast a glance at history!

Where does a new epoch in history begin?
Only wherever an oppressed mass or major-
ity makes its well-justified egoism effec-
tive against the exclusive egoism of a na-
tion or caste, wherever classes of men (sic!)
or whole nations, by gaining victory over

A germ of
cf. Cherny-

the arrogant self-conceit of a patrician mi-
nority, emerge into the light of historical
glory out of the miserable obscurity of


the proletariat. So, too, the egoism of the
now oppressed majority of mankind must
and will obtain its rights and found a new
epoch in history. It is not that the aristoc-


racy of culture, of the spirit, must be abol-
ished; no indeed! it is merely that not
just a handful should be aristocrats and all
others plebeians, but that all should—
at least should—be cultured; it is not that
property in general should be abolished;
no indeed! it is merely that not just a hand-
ful should have property, and all others
nothing; all should have property.” (398)


These lectures were delivered from
1.XII.1848 to 2.III.1849 (Preface,
p. V), and the preface to the book
is dated 1.I.1851. How far, even
at this time (1848-1851), had
Feuerbach lagged behind Marx
(The Communist Manifesto
1847, Neue Rheinische Zeitung,
etc.) and Engels (1845: Lage [43])


Examples from the classics of the use
of the words God and nature without dis-
tinction. (398-399)


Pp. 402-411—an excellent, phi-
(and at the same time simple
and clear) explanation of the essence of


“In the final analysis, the secret of reli-
gion is only the secret of the combination
in one and the same being of consciousness
with the unconscious, of the will with the
involuntary.” (402). The Ego and the non-


Ego are inseparably connected in man.
“Man does not grasp or endure the depths
of his own being and therefore splits it into
an 'Ego’ without a ‘non-Ego,’ which he


calls God, and a ‘non-Ego’ without an
‘Ego,’ which he calls nature.” (406)


P. 408—an excellent quotation from Sen-
eca (against the atheists) that they make
nature into a god. Pray!—Work![44] (p. 411)


Nature is God in religion, but nature

as Gedankenwesen.[45]The secret of re-
ligion is ‘the identity of the subjective
and objective,’
i. e., the unity of the being


of man and nature, but as distinct from the
real being of nature and mankind.” (411)


“Human ignorance is bottomless and the
human force of imagination is boundless;
the power of nature deprived of its foun-
dation by ignorance, and of its bounds
by fantasy, is divine omnipotence.” (414)

Sehr gut!

...“Objective essence as subjective, the
essence of nature as different from nature,
as human essence, the essence of man as

Sehr gut!

different from man, as non-human essence—

that is the divine being, that is the essence
of religion, that is the secret of mysticism
and speculation....” (415)

an excellent

Speculation in Feuerbach = ideal-
ist philosophy. NB.

“Man separates in thought the adjective

from the substantive, the property from
the essence.... And the metaphysical God
is nothing but the compendium, the total-
ity of the most general properties extracted
from nature, which, however, man by
means of the force of imagination—and
indeed in just this separation from sen-
suous being, matter, nature—reconverts
into an independent subject or being.”




The same role is played by Logic ((418)—
obviously Hegel is meant)—which converts
das Sein, das Wesen[46] into a special real-
ity—“how stupid it is to want to make

metaphysical existence into a physical one,
subjective existence into an objective one,
and again logical or abstract existence into
an illogical real existence!” (418)

Hegel and

...“‘Is there, therefore, an eternal gulf
and contradiction between being and think-
ing?’ Yes, but only in the mind; however
in reality the contradiction has long been
resolved, to be sure only in a way corres-
ponding to reality and not to your school
notions, and, indeed, resolved by not fewer
than five senses.” (418)

428:  Tout ce qui n’est pas Dieu, n’est rien,
i.e., tout ce qui n’est pas Moi, n’est
bien dit!
431 -435. A good quotation from Gassendi.
A very good passage: especially
433 God = a collection of adjectival words
(without matter) about the concrete
and the abstract.

“The head is the house of representa-


tives of the universe”—and if our

heads are stuffed with abstractions,
Gattungsbegriffen,[48] then of course
we derive (ableiten) “the individual
from the universal, i.e., ... nature
from God.”

the individual
and the uni-
versal = Na-
ture and God
436- 437: (Note No. 16.) I am not against
constitutional monarchy, but only the
democratic republic is “‘immediately
reasonable’ as the form of state ‘cor-
responding to the essence of man.’”

...“The clever manner of writing consists,
among other things, in assuming that the
reader also has a mind, in not expressing
everything explicitly, in allowing the read-
er to formulate the relations, conditions
and restrictions under which alone a prop-
osition is valid and can be conceived.”

hits the

Interesting is the answer to (Feuerbach’s)
critic Professor von Schaden (448-
449) and to Schaller. (449-450-463)


...“I do indeed expressly put nature
in place of being, and man in place of think-
ing,” i.e., not an abstraction, but something
concrete— — —die dramatische Psycholo-
gie.[49] (449)

“being and
and man”

That is why the term “the anthropolog-
ical principle” in philosophy,[50] used by
Feuerbach and Chernyshevsky, is nar-
. Both the anthropological principle
and naturalism are only inexact, weak
descriptions of materialism.


“Jesuitism, the unconscious original and
ideal of our speculative philosophers.” (455)

bien dit!

“Thinking posits the discreteness of real-
ity as a continuum, the infinite multiplic-
ity of life as an identical singularity.
Knowledge of the essential, inextinguishable
difference between thought and life (or
reality) is the beginning of all wisdom
in thinking and living. Only the distinc-
tion is here the true connection.” (458)

the question
of the funda-
mentals of

End of Volume 8


Volume 9 = “Theogony” (1857).[51] There
does not seem to be anything of interest
here, to judge from skimming over the
pages. Incidentally, p. 320, Pars. 34, 36
(p. 334) and following should be read.
NB Par. 36 (p. 334)—on looking through
it, nothing appears to be of interest. Quo-
tations, and again quotations, to confirm
what Feuerbach has already said.



[1] Feuerbach, L., Sämtliche Werke, Bd. 8, Leipzig, 1851.—Ed.

[2] sense of place and time—Ed.

[3] of the monarch—Ed.

[4] “God-believing world”—Ed.

[5] Zeile 7 von unten—line 7 from bottom—Ed.

[6] at the end—Ed.

[7] to discard—Ed.

[8] “extravagant”—Ed.

[9] sensuousnessEd.

[10] sensuous—Ed.

[11] stomach—Ed.

[12] head—Ed.

[13] Das Wesen des Christentums (The Essence of Christianity) by L. Feuerbach was published in 1841. In this work, Feuerbach takes a firm materialist position in philosophy.

[14] “fear”—Ed.

[15] The reference is to The Holy Family by Frederick Engels and Karl Marx, in which the authors wrote that Feuerbach outlined “in a masterly manner the general basic features of Hegel’s speculation and hence of every kind of metaphysics.” (Marx and Engels, The Holy Family, Moscow, 1956, pp. 186-187.)

[16] und folgende—et seq.—Ed.

[17] the pundits—Ed.

[18] energy, i.e., activity—Ed.

[19] evidence—Ed.

[20] underivable primordial being—Ed.

[21] Das Wesen der Religion (The Essence of Religion) by L. Feuerbach was published in 1846. Grundsätze der Philosophie der Zukunft (Principles of the Philosophy of the Future) was published in 1843.

[22] summation—Ed.

[23] objective = outside ourselves—Ed.

[24] the moral highest (= the ideal)—Ed.

[25] the natural highest (= nature)—Ed.

[26] perversity of endowing abstractions with independence—Ed.

[27] The reference is to the well-known passage on the basic question of philosophy in Engels’ book Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, pp. 369-370).

[28] Lenin contrasts here the attitude toward natural science of Feuerbach, the materialist, and of Mach, the subjective idealist. A critical evaluation of Mach’s attitude toward natural science is given by Lenin in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (see V. I. Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Moscow, 1960, pp. 363-364).

[29] too lofty, too noble (!!) an idea—Ed.

[30] Josef Dietzgen developed analogous ideas. For example, in the book The Nature of the Workings of the Human Mind (Sämtliche Werke, Bd. 1, Stuttgart, 1922), in the paragraph “Spirit and Matter,” he wrote: “Long ago, mainly during early Christianity, it became customary to look with disdain upon material, sensual and carnal things, which become moth-eaten and rusty” (p. 53).

[31] a state counsellor—Ed.

[32] Josef Dietzgen wrote as follows in The Nature of the Workings of the Human Mind (Sämtliche Werke, Bd. 1, Stuttgart, 1922), in the chapter “Pure Reason or the Capacity to Think in General”: “Thinking is a function of the brain, just as writing is a function of the hand” (p. 11) and further “... the reader will not misunderstand me when I call the capacity to think a material power, a sensuous phenomenon” (p. 13).

[33] the “natural” and “civil world”—Ed.

[34] spiritual religion—Ed.

[35] feeling—Ed.

[36] comfortless—Ed.

[37] “natural necessity”—Ed.

[38] “necessity of nature”—Ed.

[39] “course of nature”—Ed.

[40] disembodied spirit—Ed.

[41] sensuous, physical—Ed.

[42] See Lenin’s notations in Plekhanov’s book N. G. Chernyshevsky (pp. 537-538, 540, 545, 546, 551-552 and 554 of this volume).

[43] Neue Rheinische Zeitung (New Rhine Gazette) was published by Marx in Cologne from June 1, 1848 to May 19, 1849.

Engels’ book The Condition of the Working Class in England was published in 1845. Regarding the significance of this book, see V. I. Lenin, pres. ed., Vol. 2, Moscow, 1960, pp. 22-23.

[44] Lenin is referring to the following passage in Feuerbach’s book Vorlesungen über das Wesen der Religion. Werke, Bd. 8, 1851, S. 411 (Lectures on the Essence of Religion,) Works, Vol. 8, 1851, p. 411): “... godliness consists, so to speak, of two component parts, of which one belongs to man’s fantasy, the other to nature. Pray!—says one part, i.e., God, distinct from nature; work!—says the other part, i.e., God, not distinct from nature, but merely expressing its Essence; for nature is the working bee, Gods—the drones.”

[45] thought entity—Ed.

[46] being, essence—Ed.

[47] All that is not God is nothing, i.e., all that is not I is nothing.—Ed.

[48] generic concepts—Ed.

[49] dramatic psychology—Ed.

[50] The Anthropological Principle—Feuerbach’s thesis that, in discussing philosophical questions, it is necessary to consider man as part of nature, as a biological being.

The anthropological principle was directed against religion and idealism. However, by considering man apart from the concrete historical and social relations, the anthropological principle leads to idealism in the understanding of the laws of historical development.

N. G. Chernyshevsky, in struggling against idealism, also took the anthropological principle as his starting-point and devoted a special work to this question under the title “The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy” (see N. G. Chernyshevsky, Selected Philosophical Essays, Moscow, 1953, pp. 49-135).

[51] The reference is to L. Feuerbach’s Theogonie nach den Quellen des klassischen, hebräischen und christlichen Altertums. Sämtliche Werke, Bd. 9, 1857 (Theogony Based on Sources of Classical, Hebrew and Christian Antiquity, Collected Works, Vol. 9, 1857). Page 320—beginning of § 34, which is headed “‘Christian’ Natural Science”; page 334 is in § 36, which is headed “The Theoretical Basis of Theism.”


Works Index   |   Volume 38 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index
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