Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

The term principle, despite many differentiations, has retained the dual meaning of the Greek ἀρχή/archḗ and Latin principium, “beginning” and “rule”: the principle is the beginning, as that from which something comes; and the rule, as that which is immovably fixed. The aspects of meaning as what is first or fundamental explain why philosophy, wherever it sees itself as the “theoretical science of first causes and first principles” (Arist. Metaph. 982b 9f.), emerges as foundational philosophy. The full semantic content of principle takes effect early on, when Plato…

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Wesche, Tilo, “Principle”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 02 July 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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