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(716 words)

[German Version]

The word ethos combines the meanings of Gk ἔϑος/éthos (“custom”) and ἦϑος/ḗthos (“natural stopping place, what is usual there, inner nature, character”); it always denotes a specific way in which individual living creatures deal regularly with others of their species and the challenges of their environment. The authority of the rules governing this behavior is somehow fixed in the internal milieu of the interactants. Human ethos, then, is an ordered interaction whose rules the interactants follow on the basis of disposition or convictions, on the basis of a certainty…

Cite this page
Herms, Eilert, “Ethos”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 22 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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