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

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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.

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(1,554 words)

Author(s): Oswald Schwemmer
1. The general notion. The notion of habitus is used to explain the special nature of human action. Since man is spirit realizing himself in freedom, he comes upon himself not merely as a neutral entity, but primarily as a task imposed. Through and in his action he must make himself what he is and ought to be. But this power to make himself does not mean that he is totally indeterminate, as if he had to make an absolute beginning at each moment. On the contrary, the free action of man as spirit always …

Health - Physical Health

(1,930 words)

Author(s): Hans Schaefer
Part of Health: 1. Physical Health 2. Psychic Hygiene 1. There is no simple, generally accepted definition of health and disease. “Health” can indeed, as an ideal norm, be described according to the definition of the World Health Organization as a “state of perfect bodily, mental and social well-being”. This definition is, however, neither useful in practice nor entirely acceptable in theory. Health can be defined only with reference to sickness and only to the extent that the concepts are mutually exclu…

Health - Psychic Hygiene

(1,014 words)

Author(s): Edward L. Suarez– Murias
Part of Health: 1. Physical Health 2. Psychic Hygiene Mental health is a state of harmonious functioning in our personality, wherein we perceive ourselves and the world around us with a sense of accuracy, alertness and dynamic awareness, by meeting stimuli and responding with a measure of urge and initiative for action, or with a restful sense of satisfaction; by enjoying the confrontation, and enduring reverses with a sense of challenge marked by commitment to action or resolution to patience according …

Hell - Descent of Christ into Hell

(1,104 words)

Author(s): Robert Lachenschmid
Part of Hell: 1. Doctrine 2. Descent of Christ into Hell In the article of the creed “the descent into hell”, one must distinguish between the mode of expression and the statement intended. The expression makes use of terms borrowed from: accounts of descents to the underworld in various ancient religions. But the statement intended is a genuinely Christian one. 1. Descent into hell as assertion of death. “The descent into hell” (Apostles’ Creed, D 6) or “the descent into the underworld” (Fourth Lateran Council, D 429; Second Council of Lyons, D 462) means first of all that Jesus trul…

Hell - Doctrine

(1,644 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
Part of Hell: 1. Doctrine 2. Descent of Christ into Hell 1. In the history of revelation the notion of hell as the place and state of those who are finally lost goes back to the ОТ notion of Sheol as the place and state of the dead — the “underworld”. In a long, slow process of theological reflection, the state in question came to be understood differently of the good and the bad, in keeping with their life on earth. The “sheol of damnation” (1 Q Hodayot [Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns], 3, 19) was the final lot of the wicked (Gehenna; cf. LTK, V, cols. 445 f., with bibliography). The notion of the f…

Hellenism and Christianity

(4,132 words)

Author(s): Paul Henry
A. General Features Hellenism, the language and thought-forms of which influenced reflection on Christian revelation and the formulation of dogma from the 2nd to the 4th century, must not be taken asa homogeneous philosophical system, such as that of Plato, Aristotle or the Stoics. It consists of syncretist structures — neo-Pythagoreanism, middle Platonism, neo-Platonism — in which Platonism predominates but nearly always permeated by Aristotelian and Stoic elements. The unanimity with which the Ap…

Heresy - Concept

(1,848 words)

Author(s): Heribert Heinemann
Part of Heresy: 1. Concept 2. History of Heresies 1. In the Bible. The Bible does not always use the word αĨρεσις, αĩρετιxός (from αίρέομαι, choose) in the same sense. It can stand for the choice of a certain doctrine which puts forth claims to authority, which is the Greek sense of the word (Herodotus, History, IV, 1), and is thus used of the Sadducees in Acts 5:17, for the Pharisees in Acts 15:5 and 26:5 and of the Christian community (by the Jews) in Acts 24: 5, 14 and 28:22. But the word is also applied to a heretical doctrine which is a departu…

Heresy - History of Heresies

(3,645 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
Part of Heresy: 1. Concept 2. History of Heresies 1. Basic considerations. a) The history of heresies is to a large extent parallel to the history of dogma. Most of what has to be said about it is in substance said in the history of dogma. It can therefore be regarded as historical writing about the historical course, doctrinal content and historical effects of heresy, and this historical writing in turn has its own history. It can, however, mean the actual course of the heresies themselves. If the word is…


(2,897 words)

Author(s): Karl Lehmann
A. The Notion and Problem of Understanding Hermeneutics is an aid to the understanding of something which is not — as in matters which are to be “explained” — indifferent and external to the mind, but which is pervaded by individual, collective, permanent and historically conditioned elements and thus belongs to the world of intersubjective agreement. This universal and primordial phenomenon of understanding as it occurs in general, scientific and inter-human experience should not be disguised by the much mo…