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Labor

(5,199 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Ebach, Jürgen | Brakelmann, Günter | Ruh, Hans | Müller, Severin
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Sociology and Social History – IV. Economics – V. Theology and Social Ethics – VI. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Labor (or work) is an activity peculiar to human beings; it consists of acting purposefully to affect nature, which represents the raw material for labor. Unlike animals, human beings must deliberately transform nature, for example to produce tools, in order to use it to satisfy their needs. The term labor has overtones of both necessity and utility, whereas activities that often demand extraordin…

Poverty

(3,579 words)

Author(s): Klinger, Elmar | Ebach, Jürgen | Stegemann, Wolfgang | Köpf, Ulrich | Reinert, Benedikt
[German Version] I. Concept Poverty is a major source of distress. It is a historical circumstance, not a natural condition. We speak of relative poverty when someone’s income is below the mean, absolute poverty when it is below subsistence level. From the perspective of the Bible and contemporary theology, poverty means deprivation but also marginalization, incapacitation, and disfranchisement. Wealth means affluence but also power, exploitation, and oppression (see III and V below). Poverty is a life and death matter. Elmar Klinger Bibliography E. Klinger, Armut, 1990 E.-U. Hu…

Poor, Care of the

(5,426 words)

Author(s): Tworuschka, Udo | Ebach, Jürgen | Gager, John G. | Caplan, Kimmy | Nagel, Tilman | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies We can speak of care for the poor in the sense of public and private relief of poverty only when there has been a certain degree of institutionalization. Religions have treated poor relief with varying degrees emphasis. It is important to distinguish caregivers (including families, clans, congregations, orders, foundations, societies, and associations), the kind of help given (material, personal, structural), and the recipients (different levels of poverty). The Greeks and Romans felt no obligation to help the poor, or at most a g…