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Natural Law

(5,543 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Herms, Eilert | Hock, Klaus | Link, Christoph
[German Version] I. Philosophy Natural law is the essence of the legal norms that claim to be binding on all human beings, independent of positive laws and conventions. The term goes back to the distinction between nature( phýsis) and law ( nómos; Law/Natural law), put forward by the Sophists of the 5th century bce in order to challenge the traditional positive laws. According to Antiphon, the precepts of such laws are arbitrary, whereas the precepts of nature, which articulate individual benefit, are necessary (DK, frgm. B 44). Plato presents a v…

Order

(2,247 words)

Author(s): Kather, Regine | Sieckmann, Jan-R. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Law – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy The concept of order (Gk τάξις/ táxis, κόσμος/ kosmos; Lat. ordo) is employed in natural philosophy, epistemology, and cultural anthropology. It refers to an arrangement of elements that stand in a particular relationship to one other and form the structure of a larger whole. The concept of order is particularly fundamental to cosmology: for Hesiod, the genesis of the cosmos takes place within “theogony,” and for Plato ( Tim.) through the transition from an undifferentiated primal state to a w…

Self-control

(369 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Gk σωϕροσύvη/ sōphrosýnē, ἐγκράτεια/ enkráteia; Lat. temperantia, moderatio, continentia, imperium in semetipsum; Ger. Selbstbeherrschung; Fr. maitrise de soi) means mastery (Dominion) over oneself, exercised by the self. As in outward relationships between persons, rule or dominion means the effective control of an inferior will by a superior will within an individual’s personhood. With variations in terminology, self-control has been a theme of the theory of virtues in philosophy and theology, …

Servum arbitrium

(1,165 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Dogmatics M. Luther’s insight into the servum arbitrium (“unfree will”) is at the heart of his Reformation ontology of created personhood (Person). Its core content is recognition of the radically passive constitution of the conditions that make it possible and necessary (unavoidable) for an individual to will self-consciously and freely (Freedom: VII) – that is, rationally and responsibly – and to act accordingly. These conditions are (a) the “being affected” of the individual’s appetitus (being-out-for) by either the created world (as the apparent …

Two Kingdoms Doctrine

(2,873 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Dogmatics A discussion of the two kingdoms doctrine that wants to avoid mistakes must note two things. ¶ 1. The expression two kingdoms doctrine – like the doctrine of justification – is a product of reflection on the later designation of complexes of theological doctrine that were unavoidable even before this name was given them, because they deal with elements of the certainty of faith that are inescapable in any coherent explication of faith. The label two kingdoms doctrine, however, is not a product of the 16th century but of the debates in German Lut…

Creation

(11,110 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Janowski, Bernd | Herrmann, Klaus | Wischmeyer, Oda | Gunton, Colin E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. History of Theology – VI. Creation and Preservation – VII. Religious Education – VIII. Islam – IX. Science – X. Art History I. History of Religion 1. Fundamentals Life, nature, the environment, the passage of time – these are everyday experiences for any society. But reality also includes the danger that this world may be imperiled or perilous. Chaos and death are part …

Dignity of Life

(435 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The heightened sensitivity to ecological issues in the last decades of the 20th century led to the broad acceptance of the earlier expressed feeling (cf. A. Schweitzer's “reverence for life”) that not just human beings but all living things are endowed with dignity and, accordingly, that the human being (as a recipient of dignity) should respect his own dignity as a living being by recognizing and appropriately respecting the dignity of …

Rational Choice

(268 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] denotes a choice of behavior that leads to a chosen external target situation, better (more economically, more securely, with no, or fewer, unwanted side-effects) than other forms of behavior that could have been chosen at the same time. Such rationality of choice is related to the actor’s knowledge (of facts and rules), and to ethical convictions (e.g. excluding a goal attained by behavior that uses other persons only as means, not also as end in themselves [I. Kant]). Judgment o…

Religion

(20,501 words)

Author(s): Feil, Ernst | Antes, Peter | Schwöbel, Christoph | Herms, Eilert | Küster, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept 1. History. As a sign of modern reflection on religion from an anthropo-philosophical perspective, we may take the emergence of philosophical anthropology (Human beings) c. 1600 (Odo Marquard) and the philosophy of religion c. 1770. However these two disciplines are defined – whether as (sub)disciplines of philosophy or simply as philosophy –, they are related to the problems raised by the various positions taken in modern debates over (Christian) religious belief (Faith…

Infallibility

(2,805 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Baumann, Urs | Hünermann, Peter
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology – II. Dogmatics and History of Doctrine – III. Ethics – IV. Catholic Understanding I. Fundamental Theology Infallibility, understood as unswerving inerrancy or being held unshakably in the truth, is a theme of both Reformation and Roman Catholic theology. Both traditions of Western theology affirm the NT statement that the Holy Spirit will guide the faithful and the community of believers into all truth (John 14:16; 16:13) and that the church is therefore “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). 1. Reformation theology sees he…

Church Order

(3,561 words)

Author(s): Metzger, Marcel | Fix, Karl-Heinz | Sichelschmidt, Karla | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Church Law – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Church History 1. Early Church The first written formulations of church law were assembled in church orders, drawing on Old Testament and New Testament legislation. This occurred at a time when the law was generally transmitted orally, sometimes even only in secret (Bas. Spir. 27 [SC 17 bis, 478–491; Ad Joann. 179–185]). Nothing is known of the original scope of this transitional literary genre. Only ten church orders are known, of which a few have only recently be…

History/Concepts of History

(12,750 words)

Author(s): Rudolph, Kurt | Görg, Manfred | Schlüter, Margarete | Römer, Nils | Cancik, Hubert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ancient Near East and Israel – III. Judaism – IV. Greece and Rome – V. New Testament – VI. Church History – VII. Dogmatics – VIII. Ethics – IX. Philosophy I. Religious Studies History is a major aspect of the study of religion. Apart from its roots in the Enlightenment idea of tolerance, it owes its scholarly development to the historicism of the 19th century. As a result, the expression history of religions ( Religionsgeschichte, histoire des religions, storia delle religioni) has remained dominant in continental Europe, in con…

Sports

(735 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Generally, the term sport can be understood to cover all manifestations of regulated, agonal, motor interaction that qualify as ludic (Play) and as such subserve corporeal self-awareness (prowess, body control, achievement [II; Contest], pleasure) and corporeal expression of the participants’ sense of self. Such phenomena have been present in all ages and all cultures, though with varying public impact. In pre-Christian antiquity, sport played a major public role (the classical Olympic Games from 776 bce to 393 ce [Olympia]), which shrank as Christianity b…

Theory and Praxis

(4,249 words)

Author(s): Linde, Gesche | Figal, Günter | Westhelle, Vítor | Herms, Eilert | Meyer-Blanck, Michael
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences The distinction between theory as a consistent linguistic or symbolic system of ordered statements about a par-¶ ticular subject area or phenomenal domain and practice (praxis) as technical action to produce quantifiable phenomena in an experiment, or at least observation against the background of a theory, is fundamental to the modern natural sciences, although the precise definition of the relationship between the two is disputed and is addressed by the philosophy of science. Usually the relationship between theory and praxis is desc…

Politics

(7,247 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Hutter, Manfred | Schieder, Rolf | Thiemann, Ronald | Badry, Roswitha | Et al.
[German Version] I. Social Sciences Since its Greek origins, politics has meant (a) an action with a specific object, aiming to achieve the best way for all the inhabitants of the ancient city-state ( pólis) to live together and hence achieve the common good of the ¶ community ( koinón), and (b) the theory of this action (Sellin; see also Political science). Given that we no longer live in small urban societies but in large, open, and functionally complex societies (Society), politics includes – but cannot be limited to – the system of state g…

Action, Types of

(496 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] In his Philosophical Ethics, F.D.E. Schleiermacher distinguished between “symbolizing action” and “organizing action”; in his Christliche Sitte, he further distinguished “representative” and “effective” action, as well as “purgative” and “broadening action.” Habermas, in his recent Theory of Communicative Action, uses analogous language to indicate the difference between teleological, strategic, norm-based, dramaturgical, and communicative action. Both authors po…

Doctrine

(4,252 words)

Author(s): Wiegers, Gerard A. | Herms, Eilert | Schoberth, Ingrid | Nipkow, Karl Ernst
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Systematic Theology I. Religious Studies Doctrine is an oral or written system of traditions regarding the content of faith (Dogma, Revelation, Truth) and the implementations of faith (Rite and ritual). A doctrine assumes a community that defines itself through the establishment of orthodox thinki…

Necessity

(3,951 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences In the natural sciences, necessity usually appears as an implication of causal natural laws (Natural law/Law of nature), according to which by necessity an event A as a cause must be followed by an event B as its consequence. This necessity implied by laws of nature is not undisputed. Empiricism, which goes back to D. Hume, rejects the possibility of human insight into necessary causal connections, preferring to replace the concept of causal necessity with that of…

Understanding

(1,637 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy It was not until the modern period that the concept of understanding became philosophically important. It gained currency by denoting the special kind of of knowledge in the humanities (Epistemology). What is understood is “historical material” (J.G. Droysen, ¶ Grundriss der Historik, 1868, §9; ET: Outline of the Principles of History, 1967) and any expression of human life. Thus the term “understanding” is used in contrast to explanation, which is used in connection with scientific, explicable nature. W. Dilthey made…

Tradition

(8,661 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin | Hezser, Catherine | Liss, Hanna | Schröter, Jens | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies In general usage, tradition (from Lat. transdare/ tradere, “hand on, transmit”) connotes retention and safeguarding, understood as a conservative handing down of mores, customs, norms, rules, and knowledge. The emphasis is on continuity with the past. Jan Assmann interprets tradition as an exemplary case of “cultural memory,” an enduring cultural construction of identity. In religions appeal to tradition is a prominent element justifying interpretations, practices, clai…
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