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

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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Word of God

(4,386 words)

Author(s): Leo Scheffcɀyk
A. Biblical The primal human sense of the importance of the word can already be seen among the primitive peoples, where the word has magical powers and can be used to put compulsion on the gods. But there is another perspective, in which the word appears as the power of a godhead, which explains its presence in the theogonies of ancient Egypt and the cosmogonies of Babylon (creation epic). But here too the word is supposed to have magical power, raised to its highest coefficient in the primal godhead. In the ОТ, the word of God is given special theological significance in the Priest…


(4,384 words)

Author(s): Marie-Dominique Chenu
The person who considers the development of Christian thought as a synthetic whole cannot fail to notice an essential trait which escapes purely theoretical and scholarly analysis. This is the fact that in Christianity kerygmatic revival and the attention to earthly realities, a new impetus to the gospel message and the involvement of the Christian in a constructively evolving society go hand in hand. This combination is in direct contradiction to the current but facile separation of the apostol…


(1,913 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
1. “Works” came into theology from St. Paul, who condemned the notion of justification through the “works” of the law and saw justification coming to man from the free, merciful grace of God, which is had in faith. Works (of the law) and faith are contrasted (Rom 3:20, 27f.; 4:2, 6; 9:12, 32; 11:6; Gal 2:16; 3:2, 10; Eph 2:9; 2 Tim 1:9; Tit 3:5), as mutually exclusive. There can be no doubt, of course, that in the NT the word “work” (ἔργον) does not necessarily have the meaning which was sometimes given it by St. Paul. It can mean the obedient fulfilment of the …


(4,568 words)

Author(s): Gerd Haeffner
The “world” is one of the central notions of philosophy and theology, both of which tell of “God and the world”. This article will discuss the various formal notions of the world, the various ways in which it can be understood, in the light of linguistic, historical and conceptual data. For other aspects, see World Picture, God-World Relationship, Church and World. A. Linguistic Usage The English word “world” (cf. Old English woruld) is probably from wer, man, and the root of old. It meant age or life of man. Its present meaning reflects the Church Latin saeculum. It can mean human society…

World History

(3,543 words)

Author(s): Oskar Köhler
In the Western interpretation of history, doubts were cast on the unity of world history and its possible existence as a knowable object only when the meaning given history by the economy of salvation ceased to be believed. It became a problem even where the biblical revelation was preserved, as soon as universal world history was detached from its links with the history of salvation. A. History of the Problem The process began with humanism and took place on several levels. Humanist history emancipated itself from the biblical chronicle to concentrate on politica…

World Picture

(2,060 words)

Author(s): Joseph Meurers
A world picture is a set of statements about reality into which all immediate data are fitted. A world picture only really functions if all that is encountered can at least on principle be assigned a place in it. Further, since it can fit all realities into its system, a world picture makes reality intelligible, even if no explicit explanation is articulated. World pictures use for instance causality, to divide things into cause and effect, and evolutionary processes which show against the background of causality the combination of phenomena into earlier a…

World, Views of the

(1,611 words)

Author(s): Marcel Reding
The German term Weltanschauung (“world-view"), which has been widely used in English, has been taken in many ways. Wilhelm Dilthey, one of the main representatives of “life-philosophy”, compares a Welt-anschauung with a lyrical poem and its context: It is à “setting, a series of feelings, and hence frequently a desire, drive and activity” (“Die Typen der Weltanschauungen Weltanschauung, ed. by M. Frischeisen Köhler [1911], p. 12). Thus a world-view includes a world-picture and becomes an “evaluation of life” and an “understanding of the world”, and fi…


(1,931 words)

Author(s): Michael Schmaus
1. Term and concept. This article is an endeavour to explain the notion of worship, not to give an account of its various forms. In a world of industrialization and technology, there could be a temptation to dismiss worship as outmoded, because unproductive. Kant held that worship was a form of fanaticism and superstition. L. Feuerbach and K. Marx then made a still more radical attack on worship. According to Feuerbach, “God” is a personification of human wishes and satisfactions in a non-human form which has been erec…