Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning†, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel

Religion Past and Present (RPP) Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG). This great resource, now at last available in English and Online, Religion Past and Present Online continues the tradition of deep knowledge and authority relied upon by generations of scholars in religious, theological, and biblical studies. Including the latest developments in research, Religion Past and Present Online encompasses a vast range of subjects connected with religion.

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Ohm, Thomas

(194 words)

Author(s): Collet, Giancarlo
[German Version] (Oct 18, 1892, Westerholt, Westphalia – Sep 25, 1962, Süchteln, Lower Rhine), OSB from 1912, missiologist. Ohm gained his doctorate in Munich in 1924, his Habilitation in Salzburg in 1927, and in 1932 became associate professor of missiology in Würzburg. In 1941 he was prohibited from lecturing; from 1946 to 1961 he was professor of missiology in Münster. For many years Ohm’s responsibilities included chairmanship of the International Institute for Mission Studies and editorship of the Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft. In 1960 he…

Oikonomos, Constantinos

(299 words)

Author(s): Papaderos, Alexandros
[German Version] (full name: Κωνσταντῖνος Οἰκονόμος ὁ ἐξ Οἰκονόμων; Aug 27, 1780, Tsaritsani, Thessaly - Mar 8, 1857, Athens), Greek Orthodox cleric; one of the most highly educated teachers, most gifted ¶ preachers, and most powerful clerics and church politicians of his time. The ecumenical patriarch Gregory V honored him by summoning him in 1820 from Smyrna to be preacher in Constantinople, but in 1821 he was obliged to flee to Odessa and Petersburg, where he remained until 1832. Because of his high reputation he enjoyed th…

O’Keeffe, Georgia

(150 words)

Author(s): Vinzent, Jutta
[German Version] (Nov 15, 1887, Sun Prairie, WI – Mar 6, 1986, Santa Fe, NM), one of the most outstanding American painters of her century, and not only because her career, in the course of which she produced almost 1,300 works, lasted about 60 years. Her art, a distinctive mixture of abstraction and organic forms based on nature studies, celebrates sensual sublimity (e.g. Jack-in-the-Pulpit, no. IV, 1930, National Gallery of Art, Washington). O’Keeffe was influenced by American trends (Arthur Dove’s organic abstractions and Tonalists), as is emphasized in …

O’Kelly, James

(164 words)

Author(s): Wigger, John H.
[German Version] (c. 1735, Ireland or Virginia – Oct 16, 1826, Chatham County, NC). O’Kelly was converted to Methodism at a Methodist meeting around 1774. After serving from 1778 as an itinerant Methodist preacher in Virginia and North Carolina, he was ordained an elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784. Although he had little formal education, O’Kelly was a gifted and popular preacher, and built up a large following in southern Virginia. In 1792 he left the Methodist Episcopal Church beca…

Okhamism

(7 words)

[German Version] Occam, William of

Oktoechos

(203 words)

Author(s): Wildt, Karin
[German Version] (Gk ὀκτώηχος, “Book of eight tones”), also Paracleticē (Liturgical books: II). In the Orthodox liturgy, for each of the eight church tones (ἤχοι/ ḗchoi) a cycle of texts is prescribed for all Sundays and weekdays; it begins on the second Sunday after Easter and continues to the fifth Sunday of the Great Fast. It provides for each weekday a fresh theme in each tone, Sundays being devoted to the theme “Resurrection.” These texts form the main contents of the Octoechos. Octoechos also denotes this time, w…

Olcott, Henry Steel

(294 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (Aug 2, 1832, Orange, NJ – Feb 17, 1907, Adyar near Madras). Olcott grew up in a Presbyterian family. As a young man he turned to spiritualist circles (Spiritualism). Following a career as a journalist (from 1853), he was an agricultural expert, an officer of the Union in the American Civil War (1861–1865), and an attorney (from 1868). In 1875, he, together with H.P. Blavatsky, founded in New York the ¶ Theosophical Society (Theosophy) for scientific research into paranormal experiences. Two additional aims appeared later: to spread in the West the “…

Old Age

(1,684 words)

Author(s): Greschat, Hans-Jürgen | Eibach, Ulrich | Failing, Wolf-Eckart
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Secular society distinguishes different periods in a person’s personal and professional life; religions do much the same. Awareness of people’s age gives a sense of their capabilities and standing. Childhood and adulthood are lengthy periods in a person’s life. Two transitional stages (Rites of passage) are usually much shorter: they serve to prepare young people for adulthood and the elderly for their death. Rituals signal the transition to …

Old Believers, Russian

(566 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] I. The believers who, from 1653, were expelled from the Great Church because of their rejection of the liturgical reforms of the Moscow patriarch Nikon, gathered in their own communities in order to maintain the Old Russian forms of devotion laid down by the Moscow Hundred Chapter Synod of 1551. The authorities first called them “schismatics” (Raskol’niki), and later “Old Ritualists,” while for the people they were the Old Believers. They did not contest the necessity for correcti…

Old Calendarians

(179 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] (Palaiohemerologites) is the name given to the opponents of change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian system in the Church of Greece from Mar 10 to 23, 1924, which happened under state pressure. They understand themselves, however, as the “true Orthodox Christians” who stand for the maintenance of tradition in its entirety. Individual circles quickly grew into a church organization which since 1932 worships in its own buildings, and since the accession of three bishops in 1…

Old Catholics

(1,745 words)

Author(s): Oeyen, Christian
[German Version] I. Origins – II. History – III. Today I. Origins At various time, members of the Roman Catholic Church resisting papal centralism have been censured by the church. Organized on the national level in their own local churches, they consider themselves Catholics in historical continuity with the old, undivided church of the 1st millennium. They emphasize the dynamic character of their ecclesiastical organization and its orientation toward the Catholic church as a whole and the unity of all Christians. The term Old Catholics, dating from 1870, is used primarily in …

Oldenbarnevelt, Johan van

(326 words)

Author(s): Klueting, Harm
[German Version] (Sep 25, 1547, Amersfoort – May 13, 1619, The Hague), Netherlands politician. In 1585 he supported the appointment of Maurits of Orange as governor of Holland and Zeeland. From 1586 he was a council official of the province of Holland. From 1587, he worked with Maurits for the consolidation of the republic of the United Netherlands, and in 1609 negotiated the 12-year truce with Spain. Oldenbarnevelt took the side of the Arminians and the Remonstration of 1610, and in foreign polic…

Oldenburg

(1,568 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Rolf
[German Version] I. Territory – II. History – III. Statistics I. Territory The territory of Oldenburg was absorbed in 1946 into the Land of Lower Saxony, but within the structures of the Protestant and Catholic churches, it retains more or less the boundaries of the duchy of Oldenburg determined by the Congress of Vienna (Vienna, Congress of), comprising the administrative districts of Friesland, Wesermarsch, Ammerland, Oldenburg, Cloppenburg, and Vechta, and the independent cities of Wilhelmshaven, Oldenburg, and Delmenhorst. II. History 1. Middle Ages. At the behest of Char…

Oldenburg, Bishopric

(242 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Heinrich
[German Version] Oldenburg (in Holstein), Slavonic Starigard, was in the early Middle Ages a Slavic power center in Wagria, where Slavic people had settled. Known in German as Aldinburg, it was a bishop’s seat from 968 (suffragan of Hamburg-Bremen). The founding of the bishopric, in the course of the Slavic mission of Otto the Great, was not able to survive the pagan Slavic uprisings from 983. The renewal of the bishopric in Oldenburg by the Christian Abodrite prince Gottschalk, around 1060, also …

Oldendorp, Johannes

(317 words)

Author(s): Pettke, Sabine
[German Version] (between 1480 and 1490, Hamburg – Jun 3, 1567, Marburg), lawyer. Oldendorp studied from 1504 to 1516 in Rostock, Cologne, and Bologna. Lic.iur. 1516 in Bologna, from 1517 academic teacher in Greifswald, 1520 in Frankfurt an der Oder. 1518 Dr.iur.caes. (not utriusque) in Greifswald, where he was also full professor from 1521. From 1526 to 1534 he was Rostock council’s legal administrator, and a supporter of the Reformation. From 1534 to 1536 he was a lawyer in Wullenwever and legal…

Oldham, Joseph Houldsworth

(362 words)

Author(s): Clements, Keith
[German Version] (Oct 10, 1874, Bombay – May 16, 1969, St. Leonards-on-Sea, England), ecumenical pioneer (Ecumene). As a student at Oxford, Oldham was drawn into the evangelical student mission movement, and went on to serve the Young Men’s Christian Association in Lahore (Punjab) for three years. After theological studies at Edinburgh and Halle an der Saale, he worked as missions educator in the Free Church of Scotland. J.R. Mott recruited him as organizing secretary for the World Missionary Conf…

Old Lights

(173 words)

Author(s): Wallace, Peter
[German Version] is the name given to those Congregational ministers and parish communities in New England that opposed the Great Awakening (Revival/Revival movements: II) of the 1730s and 1740s, associated with G. Whitefield and J. Edwards. The Old Lights proper, such as C. Chauncy and James Dana, tended towards moderatism and Unitarianism, and should be distinguished from the Old Calvinists, such as Moses Mather, who tried to maintain traditional Reformed orthodoxy in the face of the Pietism of …

Old Lutherans

(1,102 words)

Author(s): Klän, Werner
[German Version] I. “Old Lutherans” is a collective term for a group of churches that originated in the 19th century as free Lutheran confessional churches. Three phases and motivational threads of their origin can be distinguished: 1. Defense against state-compelled unification of the Lutheran and Reformed churches (“Union”); this ¶ applies to Prussia (1830) – the term “Old Lutheran” was first coined with a polemical intention in reference to Prussia –, Nassau (1846), and Baden (1852). 2. Rejection of the regional church authorities’ toleratio…

Old Prussian Union

(151 words)

Author(s): Mehlhausen, Joachim
[German Version] After the end of church rule by sovereign princes, the Evangelical Regional Church of the older Prussian provinces became the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union. It existed from 1922 to 1953. The term “Old Prussian” expressed the fact that the territories added to Prussia after 1864/1866 (Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Electoral Hesse, Nassau, Frankfurt am Main) had not been included in the Prussian Union. Old Prussian church provinces were: Prussia (from 1877: East and We…

Old Testament

(248 words)

Author(s): Waschke, Ernst-Joachim
[German Version] The term “Old Testament” reflects the New Testament perspective on the relation of Christianity to the sacred scriptures of Judaism and the tradition common to the two religions, found in the collection of God’s revelations and instructions to Israel, its experiences in history, and its reactions to God’s revealed will, handed down in the three-part canon of Torah, Prophets, and Writings. This triple division is also reflected in the artificially constructed word TaNaK, abbreviated from the initial letters of Torah (תוֹרָה, instruction), Neviʾim (נְבִיאִים, prop…

Olearius

(1,263 words)

Author(s): Hasse, Hans-Peter | Albrecht-Birkner, Veronika | Sträter, Udo | Kadelbach, Ada
[German Version] 1. Johannes (Kupfermann; Sep 17, 1546, Wesel – Jan 26, 1623, Halle). After studying at Marburg (1566) and Jena (1570, M.A. 1573), Olearius began teaching at the Gymnasium in Königsberg (today Kaliningrad) in 1574. In 1577 he was appointed professor of Hebrew and in 1578 professor of theology at Helmstedt (1579 Dr.theol.). In 1581 he was appointed superintendent in Halle, where he set the organization of the church in order and occasionally held theological disputations. He was a clo…

Olevian, Caspar

(289 words)

Author(s): Plasger, Georg
[German Version] (Aug 10, 1536, Trier–Mar 15, 1587, Herborn). Olevian came from a Roman Catholic family; c. 1557, during his study of law in France, he became a Protestant and joined the Huguenot community in Bourges. After taking his law examination, he studied in Geneva, Zürich, and Lausanne. His most important teacher was his “father in Christ,” Calvin. In 1559 Olevian became a teacher of philosophy in his home town. However, his private teaching of the catechism and his sermons aroused opposit…

Olga (Saint)

(184 words)

Author(s): Oswalt, Julia
[German Version] (in Scandinavian: Helga; after her baptism: Helena; c. 890–969, Kiev; feast day Jul 11), grand duchess of Kievan Rus. As duchess of Pskov from the Rjurikid dynasty, she became regent in Kievan Rus in 945, after the murder of her husband, Grand Duke Igor. Through the formation of tax districts she made a significant contribution to the strengthening of territorial power, which was also furthered by the increasing Chris-¶ tianization of the eastern Slavs. Olga herself received baptism in 955 or 957. Negotiations conducted in Constantinople in connect…

Olivétan, Pierre-Robert

(186 words)

Author(s): Campi, Emidio
[German Version] (c. 1506, Noyon, Picardy –1538, Italy), French Reformed theologian; his family was related to Calvin. After studying in Orléans and Strasbourg under M. Bucer and W. Capito, Olivétan worked in 1531/1532 as preceptor in Geneva and Neuchâtel, then went as a teacher to the Waldenses in the high valleys of Piedmont. At the suggestion of G. Farel, and commissioned by the Waldenses, he made the first Reformed translation of the Bible into French (Bible translations: II, 2.a.α). Its first edition appeared in June 1535 in Neuchâtel, and with numerous revisions the…

Olivetians

(207 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Congregatio S. Mariae Montis Oliveti OSB; Ordo S. Benedicti Montis Oliveti, OSBOliv), a reformed Benedictine congregation with strictly central organization, appointment of officers for a limited time, frequent transfers of monks, and spirituality with eremitical and mariological features. It was initiated by blessed Bernardo Tolomei (1272–1348), who settled around 1313 with a few companions on Monte Oliveto near Siena in Italy. The movement spread rapidly, but only in central an…

Olive Tree, Olive Oil

(378 words)

Author(s): Staubli, Thomas
[German Version] Evidence of Olea europaea has been found in the Negeb desert from the paleolithic age, and in the Jordan valley from the pre-ceramic neolithic age. From October the olives are picked or beaten off the trees, then crushed and pressed. From the pressed juice the oil is decanted into storage jars. Because of the long period of maturation, anyone who plants olive trees is working for future generations. The oil served as food and fuel, for body care and medicine, its waste as cattle feed. The oil was very important for taxation ( KTU 4, 132 [5]; 1 Sam 8:14; Ezra 7:22). The fi…

Olmecs

(602 words)

Author(s): Luckert, Karl W.
[German Version] Since Olmec culture and religion can be reconstructed only from archaeological data, it is difficult to provide detailed information about their content. Nevertheless, the Olmecs are recognized as forming the earliest layer of ancient Central American civilization, and as such they represent an indispensible element for any understanding of American religious history. Olmec culture took hold from around 1500 to 1200 bce in the tropical forests on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The most important settlement centers of Olmec cultur…

Olomouc

(420 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] (Olmütz) is a city on the middle reach of the March river (Morava; Czech Republic) with 106,000 inhabitants (1989). First mentioned in records in 1055, Olomouc developed from a settlement at the foot of the Fürstenberg, subsequently in the center of the city. The cathedral of St. Wenceslas was erected on the site of an old castle complex between 1107 and 1131, rebuilt in the 13th and 14th centuries, and again between 1883 and 1890. As a bishop’s seat from 1063 (until 1344 under Mainz, and from 1344 to 1421 under Prague), and an archbishop’s seat from 1777 (with suf-¶ fragans in …

Olshausen, Hermann

(190 words)

Author(s): Christophersen, Alf
[German Version] (Aug 21, 1796, Oldesloe – Sep 4, 1839, Erlangen), Protestant theologian. From 1814 Olshausen studied in Kiel, then in 1816 in Berlin, where he became a tutor in 1818 and lecturer in 1820. He was influenced by F.D.E. Schleiermacher, and then especially by A. Neander. He became an associate professor in Königsberg in 1821, and in 1827 a full professor of New Testament studies. His Pietist devotion (Pietism) led him to become a member of the circle of Johann Wilhelm Ebel and Heinrich…

Olympia

(829 words)

Author(s): Egelhaaf-Gaiser, Ulrike
[German Version] Olympia, sanctuary of Zeus in the region of Elis, at the foot of Mount Kronos, near where the Alpheus and Cladeus meet, in the territory controlled by Pisa. After c. 1000 bce, Pelops, the eponym of the Peloponnesus, was worshiped on the site of a prehistoric tumulus (2300–2100 bce; Kyrieleis). Around 700 bce, the earliest stadium and hippodrome were built 120 m to the east. The sanctuary was expanded by diverting the Cladeus westward, and access from the foot of Kronos was shifted southwards. Near the Pelopion stood ancient cultic …

Olympic and Chthonic Deities

(299 words)

Author(s): Hornauer, Holger
[German Version] The Greek adjective ὀλύμπιος/ olýmpios (from Olympus as the gods’ dwelling and assembly place) denotes those gods “who have their houses there” (Gk ὀλύμπια δώματ᾿ ἐχοντες/ olýmpia dṓmat’ échontes, Hom. Il. I 18), hence Greek ὀλύμπιοι ϑεοί/ olýmpioi theoí; different from the Titans, but not distinct in kind: rather, in the sense of “all gods,” namely Zeus, Hera, Poseidon (although he lived in the sea), Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaistos, Hermes, and also Eris, Dione, the Muses, the Graces, and abstractions such as Himeros (yearning). The Greek adjective χϑόνιος/ cht…

Oman

(506 words)

Author(s): Teule, Herman
[German Version] The sultanate of Oman has an area of 212,460 km2 and a population of 2,622,198, of whom 530,000 are so-called non-citizens (2001). Its capital is Muscat. According to its basic law ( al-niẓām al-asāsī), promulgated in 1996 but not yet a constitution in the strict sense, Islam is the state religion and Šarīʿa is the basis of legislation. The official language is Arabic. On the eve of its conquest by Islam, Oman had already been completely Arabized through immigration of Arab tribes from Yemen and central Arabia (…

Oman, John Wood

(186 words)

Author(s): Carter, Grayson
[German Version] ( Jul 23, 1860, Orkney, Scotland – May17, 1939, Cambridge, England), Presbyterian theologian. Oman studied in Edinburgh and Heidelberg, and served churches in Scotland and England prior to becoming professor (1907), and principal (1922) of Westminster College, Cambridge. Alarmed at the crisis then confronting Christianity, Oman developed an interest in F.D.E. Schleiermacher, and his model of the inner authority of truth; Oman translated ¶ Schleiermacher’s Über die Religion (1799 text, ET: On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers, 1988; 1831 text, ET: Sp…

Omen

(2,294 words)

Author(s): Lorenz, Günther | Albani, Matthias | Baudy, Dorothea | Iwersen, Julia
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III. Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. The Milieu of Modern Alternative Religions I. Religious Studies An omen (Lat. omen, related semantically to prodigium, “portent,” and auspicium [ oblativum], “[spontaneous] divination from the flight of birds”) is a phenomenon that is interpreted as a portent (Premonition) of an important event, mostly negative but sometimes positive; unlike oracles, omens are not sought deliberately. Often they involve encounters with an…

Omnipotence

(604 words)

Author(s): Brink, Gijsbert van den
[German Version] I. The notion of omnipotence (from Lat. omni-, “all” + potentia, “power”) is closely associated with monotheism, and has its roots in the Jewish-Christian tradition. The notion has no place in Greek philosophy, since the possession of unlimited power was not part of the Greek idea of divine perfection: perfection meant not having to act, and in consequence not needing power, let alone all power. In Jewish and Christian theology, on the other hand, the notion that God is omnipotent went unch…

Omnipresence

(652 words)

Author(s): Brom, Luco J. van den
[German Version] is deemed to be one of the incommunicable divine attributes ( attributa incommunicabilia). God is thought of as essentially infinite ( infinitus), so that any spatial delimitation of his being is out of the question. Insofar as an attempt is made to express the immeasurable being ( immensitas) of God, which is his even without the existence of the world, he is omnipresent, because logic does not permit God to be subject to spatial limitation within creation. Omnipresence is thus to be understood not as an operative but as an i…

Omniscience

(551 words)

Author(s): Dekker, Eef
[German Version] Divine knowledge of all recognizable truths (propositions) was traditionally called omniscience (Lat. omniscientia). On occasion, the term was also extended to include the perfect, that is, the direct, manner in which God recognizes and knows. Although omniscience is not a specifically Christian concept, it has biblical foundations, and takes the opposite position to ancient philosophy. Thus Plato, Aristotle, and Alexander of Aphrodisias, for instance, denied that God has knowledge of the ind…

Omri

(557 words)

Author(s): Timm, Stefan
[German Version] (עָמְרי/ ʿamrī; etymology uncertain, most likely derived from a root ġamura, “to be richly present,” cf. also Heb. ʿomer, “sheaf” [Zadok 92f.]). The uncertain etymology has led to the conjecture (most recently by Kuan) that Omri was a non-Israelite, but arguments for this are lacking (cf. also Athaliah as Omri’s daughter with a Yahwist name 2 Kgs 8:26 and Judeans named Omri, 1 Chr 7:8; 9:4; 27:18). Old Testament and ancient Near East information on Omri is extremely divergent. According to OT traditions (esp. 1 Kgs 16:15–22), the war-chariot comm…

On

(7 words)

[German Version] Israel and Egypt

Oncken, Johann Gerhard

(305 words)

Author(s): Claußen, Carsten
[German Version] (Jan 26, 1800, Varel – Jan 2, 1884, Zürich), Baptist theologian. After contacts with Scottish Presbyterians and English Independents, Oncken was converted in 1820 in a London Methodist church (Methodists). From 1823 he was a mission worker for the Continental Society for the Dif-¶ fusion of Religious Knowledge over the Continent of Europe, and from 1828 worked for the Edinburgh Bible Society in Bible and Scripture distribution and in harbour mission (Mission to seamen) from a base in Hamburg, mainly in northern Germany. In …

O’Neill, Eugene Gladstone

(412 words)

Author(s): Meller, Horst
[German Version] (Oct 16, 1888, New York – Nov 27, 1953, Boston, MA) is considered the founder of serious American dramatic art; in 1936 he became the second American to receive the Nobel Prize. O’Neill had Irish Catholic parents of dubious social status. His father starred in melodrama on the commercial stage in the United States, and between 1883 and 1912 played the title role in The Count of Monte Cristo almost 4,000 times. His mother came from the affluent middle class. The fact that O’Neill was born in a shabby hotel and died in a hotel is indicative of a lif…

Onesimus

(6 words)

[German Version] Paul’s Co-workers

Onesiphorus

(6 words)

[German Version] Paul’s Co-workers

One, The

(1,680 words)

Author(s): Clark, Stephen R.L.
[German Version] I.The One (εἷς, μία, ἕν/ heís, mía, hén; μονάς, ἑνάς, μόνωσις, ἑνότης/ monás, henás, mónōsis, henótēs, “unity”) is a term adopted by Plato and his successors to refer to what they also called “the Good,” and by later theologians to refer to God. Plato was taken to have shown in his dialogues such as De re publica and Parmenides that nothing can be said of that One without contradiction: it is not to be conceived as something that can be perceived or known as a reality distinct from anyone’s perception or knowledge of it, nor does it exist, even as a unique example of an imagi…

Oniad Family

(305 words)

Author(s): Aitken, James
[German Version] The Oniad famly, a Jewish priestly family in the early Hellenistic period, traced their origins to the list of high priests in Neh 12:10ff. The main historical source is the sometimes rather unclear account by Flavius Josephus. OniasI was high priest in the early 3rd century bce, and according to 1 Macc 12 he corresponded with the Spartans regarding their common descent from Abraham. The Oniads came to prominence in the 3rd century bce, when OniasII was defeated by PtolemyIII in the 3rd Syrian War (246–241 bce). It is to this time that Josephus’s account of a dispu…

Ontogeny

(301 words)

Author(s): Linke, Detlef B.
[German Version] The term ontogeny was coined by E. Haeckel in 1866 to denote the development of a living being or organism, considered complete at puberty. In his Biogenetisches Grundgesetz he expressed the view that ontogeny is a recapitulation of phylogeny. But human development cannot be characterized simply as an addition of layer upon layer; it involves increasing reorganizational complexity. Today the parallel between ontogeny and phylogeny can be defended only up to a point, and the use of ontogeny as a model for the Aktualgenese (“genetic realization”) of thoughts, from…

Ontology

(2,098 words)

Author(s): Enskat, Rainer
[German Version] has been the traditional name of a special philosophical discipline since the time of Rudolf Glocenius, in the 17th century. However, its systematic status as well as its main scope had already been assigned to it much earlier by Aristotle under the heading of “first philosophy” (ἡ πρώτη ϕιλοσοϕία/ hē prōtē philosophía), with the question as to how things that exist are characterized as such (ὄν ἥ ὄν/ ón hḗ ón; cf. Metaph. 1026 a 30–31). In the dialogue Sophista, however, Plato already presents a critical discussion of the subject, continuing lines of th…

Ontotheology

(271 words)

Author(s): Gander, Hans-Helmuth
[German Version] The concept of ontotheology stems from I. Kant and characterizes, along with cosmo­theology, the second branch of transcendental theology. The task of ontotheology is “to recognize its (i.e. the primal being’s) existence by concepts, without the assistance of the slightest degree of experience” ( Critique of Pure Reason, 1781, B 660). The current philosophical use of the concept of ontotheology in the sense of onto-theo-logic was coined by M. Heidegger, who used it to characterize Western metaphysics as a whole. For inasmuch a…

Onus ecclesiae

(7 words)

[German Version] Pürstinger, Berthold
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