Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

In everyday language, reflection is synonymous with contemplation or critical consideration. In this usage, it loses the specific element of reflexivity (self-reference) that it has by etymology (Lat. reflectere, “bend back”) and has been central to its philosophical use. Reflectio was used in this sense in the High Middle Ages (e.g. by Thomas Aquinas) as an alternative to reditio in seipsum to translate Greek epistrophḗ, which Neoplatonists like Proclus used for the return of the mind to itself. Later thinkers like Nicholas of Cusa could make reflectio an organiz…

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Schnepf, Robert, “Reflection”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 15 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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