Religion Past and Present

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Original Sin
(1,742 words)

[German Version]

I. Definition – II. Catholic Theology – III. Protestant Theology

I. Definition

The term original sin generally denotes the sinfulness or fault inherent in human beings prior to anything they do. In the Christian tradition, original sin can be understood as the source of all morally evil actions; it can also mean inherited guilt per se. As an inherent force, original sin differs from sinful acts. The distinction remains debatable, however, because without further quali…

Cite this page
Saarinen, Risto and Böttigheimer, Christoph, “Original Sin”, 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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