Sacramentum Mundi Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies

Edited by: Karl Rahner with Cornelius Ernst and Kevin Smyth.
Advisor for the online edition: Karen Kilby, Durham University

Help us improve our service

Sacramentum Mundi Online is the online edition of the famous six volume English reference work in Catholic Theology, edited (in 1968-1970) by Karl Rahner, one of the main Catholic theologians of the 20th century. Sacramentum Mundi: An Encyclopedia of Theology was originally published by Herder Verlag, and is now available online at Brill.

For more information:

Faith and History

(2,921 words)

Author(s): Adolf Darlap
A. The Problem The unity and difference in which faith and history combine have been thrown open as a problem only by the modern forms of thought which have made their explicit articulation possible. But the tension between faith and history in a general and fundamental sense is a basic characteristic of Christian existence in general and is therefore as old as Christianity itself. Indeed, in and through Jesus Christ it points back to the history of faith and salvation in the ОТ. With the modern opening up of the historical dimension of existence, to some extent in the wake of…

Faith and Knowledge

(4,089 words)

Author(s): Heinrich Fries
The relation between faith and knowledge is frequently formulated as follows: to believe means the same as not to know, or to know only provisionally, partly or superficially. This is not only an indication of the difference between the two spheres, but represents a definite characterization of faith as inferior. If knowledge is taken to mean well-founded and certain understanding, and if understanding indicates mental assimilation of that which is, and if the substantiation and certitude of und…

Faith - Faith

(6,821 words)

Author(s): Juan Alfaro
Part of Faith: 1. Way to Faith 2. Faith 3. Motive of Faith 4. Preambles of Faith 1. Dimensions of faith. God has revealed himself to man in his Son made man (Heb 1:1; Jn 1:14–18; Mt 11:25–27); revelation is the mystery of God who draws near to man in the human word of his eternal Word. Man’s response to God revealing himself in Christ is called faith; faith, therefore, is as supernatural as revelation itself, and together they constitute the mystery of God’s encounter with man in Christ. In this encounter it is God…

Faith - Motive of Faith

(1,595 words)

Author(s): Juan Alfaro
Part of Faith: 1. Way to Faith 2. Faith 3. Motive of Faith 4. Preambles of Faith 1. God reveals himself in Christ. According to the ОТ to believe God is to rely (לְהֶאֱמִין = hiphil of צָּמן = to be firm) on his word (Gen 15:1-6; Exod 4:15,28–30; 14:31; Is 43: 1, 10; Jn 3:1-5). St. Paul adopts this concept when saying that faith accepts the Gospel as the word of God (2 Thess 2:13). While Heb 1:1 declares that God has spoken to us in his Son, the fourth gospel outlines a theology of God’s testimony (μαρτυρία) through Christ as the f…

Faith - Preambles of Faith

(1,559 words)

Author(s): Juan Alfaro
Part of Faith: 1. Way to Faith 2. Faith 3. Motive of Faith 4. Preambles of Faith 1. This expression refers to an aspect of the theological problem of “reason and faith”, which is ultimately the problem of “nature and grace”. It is God who of his good pleasure reveals himself and creates in man an ability to receive the divine word; but it is man who freely believes and enters into vital contact with the God of revelation. What is necessary for man to satisfy himself that his free decision to believe God is not a…

Faith - Way to Faith

(2,603 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
Part of Faith: 1. Way to Faith 2. Faith 3. Motive of Faith 4. Preambles of Faith 1. Theological presuppositions. a) As a result of God’s universal salvific will and the offer of the supernatural grace of faith as an abiding feature of man’s mode of existence as a person, every human being; even previous to the explicit preaching of the Christian message, is always potentially a believer and already in possession, in the grace that is prior to his freedom, of what he is to believe (i.e., freely accept): God’s direc…


(918 words)

Author(s): Marcellino Zalba
1. In religious history. Fasting is abstention from food for ethico-religious reasons. Historically, fasting in primitive as well as in more advanced societies is based on the experience that while food provides strength for the spirit by giving physical strength, man disturbs and destroys the inner order of spirit and body, if he fails to control the amount he eats and drinks. The phenomenon of fasting also rests on the notion that a meal is an occasion and expression of joy. Historically one must…