|Hermann Karl Usener|
|Born||October 23, 1834
|Died||October 21, 1905
|Doctoral students||H. A. Diels
U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
|Other notable students||Eduard Schwartz
Hermann Usener was born at Weilburg and educated at its Gymnasium. From 1853 he studied at Heidelberg, Munich, Göttingen and Bonn. In 1858 he had a teaching position at the Joachimsthalschen Gymnasium in Berlin.
He was Professor 1861 to 1863 at the University of Bern, then at the University of Greifswald, before becoming professor at the University of Bonn. The Bonn School of classical philology was led by Usener with Franz Buecheler.
A large-scale thinker, he was influential in areas such as concept formation in religion, as well as in scholarship and through his students. One such was Friedrich Nietzsche: after initial support, Usener wrote him off as a scholar after The Birth of Tragedy was published. In the work Götternamen in 1896, he introduced the concept of a momentary god. This phrase entered the English language and popular culture, as the name for deities who seem to exist only for a specific purpose, time and place.
His students included Hermann Diels, Paul Natorp, Hans Lietzmann, Albrecht Dieterich, Richard Reitzenstein, and Aby Warburg. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, the leading German classical scholar of the following generation, studied at Bonn 1867-9; but tended to disagree with Usener. Their correspondence has been published.
His works include:
- Analecta Theophrastea (1858 dissertation at Bonn)
- Alexandri Aphrodisiensis problematorum lib. III. et IV. (1859)
- Scholia in Lucani bellum civile (1869)
- Anecdoton Holderi (1877)
- Legenden der heiligen Pelagia (1879)
- De Stephano Alexandrino (1880)
- Philologie und Geschichtswissenschaft (1882)
- Jacob Bernays, Gesammelte Abhandlungen (1885) editor
- Acta S. Marinae et S. Christophori (1886)
- Epicurea (1887)
- Altgriechischer Versbau (1887)
- Das Weihnachtsfest (Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, part 1) (1889)
- Christlicher Festbrauch (Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, part 2) (1889)
- Die Sintfluthsagen untersucht (1899)
- Götternamen: Versuch einer Lehre von der Religiösen Begriffsbildung (1896)
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus edition, begun 1904, with Ludwig Radermacher
- Vorträge und Aufsätze, 1907.
- nomenclator philologorum
- : He combined a comparative procedure, drawing on diverse ethnological material for the study of social and religious matters in the ancient world with a more phenomenological or hermeneutic procedure, centered on social psychology and cultural history.
- See Antje Wessels, Zur Rezeption von Hermann Useners Lehre von der religiösen Begriffsbildung.
- : ...Hermann Usener at Bonn, who combined comparative ethnological analysis with phenomenological hermeneutics, trained an impressive list of pupils.
- Camille Paglia identifies a 150-year-long dynasty of German scholars following the idealizing Winckelmann, such as Hermann Usener, Werner Jaeger, and Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, who bitterly warred over the character and methodology of classical studies.
-  (German)
- momentary god
- Momentary Gods, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 16. Kessinger Publishing, 2003. Pages 777–778. ISBN 0-7661-3693-0.
- PDF, p. 4 and later 
- Paul Natorp (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
- Bauer-Appendix 2
- Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.02.43
- , .: Critics have stressed the importance of Warburg's professor Herman Usener, the great classical philologist and scholar of comparative religion, whose Götternamen investigated the etymologies of deities' names in order to shed light on the changing psychology of religious beliefs; Warburg's iconological project, with its ambition to illuminate historical psychology, strives for an analogous goal.
- Roland Kany, Hermann Usener as Historian of Religion. In: Archiv für Religionsgeschichte 6 (2004) S. 159-176.
- (German) 
- Klaus-Gunther Wesseling (1997). "Usener, Hermann Carl". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 12. Herzberg: Bautz. cols. 965–979. ISBN 3-88309-068-9.