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Norms

(2,005 words)

Author(s): Michaels, Axel | Alexy, Robert | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Social norms are the interiorized but controlled rules of conduct of a social group. They include rules and standards for decency and mores, that is, for religious, moral, and right behavior. Unlike ideals or values, norms are mostly specific and concrete. There are various theories of the meaning of norms; most widely accepted is the thesis that norms serve the development of social controls and group solidarity or cultural identity. Validity is generally claimed for religious and moral norms by appeal to a religious authority (go…

Goods

(1,473 words)

Author(s): Himmelmann, Beatrix | Slenczka, Notger | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. Philosophy A good is something we actively pursue for ourselves (Action: I). Obviously there are different kinds of goods that we pursue: prosperity, health, development of our talents, friendship, professional success, the joy of love, long life, etc. Classically (Plato, Laws 697b, 743e) ¶ goods can be divided into three classes: external goods, goods of the body, such as health, and goods of the soul, such as friendship and justice. Our appetite for goods inevitably leads to confli…

Action

(1,873 words)

Author(s): Meixner, Uwe | Mühling-Schlapkohl, Markus | Herms, Eilert | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Theology – III. Ethics – IV. Practical Theology I. Philosophy The concept of action is of central importance for philosophical ethics and anthropology. It is closely related to the concept of person, since persons are the subjects of action and cognition (the latter always itself an action, since it necessarily involves judgment). We may distinguish …

Will

(3,711 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph | Loos, Fritz | Herms, Eilert | Hühn, Lore
[German Version] I. History of the Term The development and spread of the term will go hand in hand with the history of Christian theology. Classical Greek had no single, distinct term like will denoting an independent mental faculty. The voluntative dimension was contained in the terms used for rational deliberation, decision-making, willingness, and non-rational desire. For Aristotleβουλή/ boulḗ is conation (Striving) that ensues after deliberation and hence is guided by reason based on knowledge ( De anima III 10, 433a ¶ 20–23). In the Bible, especially in Paul, the phenom…

Teleology

(3,738 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Hewlett, Martinez J. | Angehrn, Emil | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. The Concept The word teleologia was a neologism coined in 1728 by C. Wolff ( Philosophia rationalis sive logica, 1728, §85) to denote the domain of natural philosophy that explains things on the basis of their end (Gk τέλος/ télos, “end, goal”; Ends and means); it was soon borrowed by other languages. In substance, however, the concept had an extensive prehistory. In the work of Aristotle, examination of phenomena on the basis of their “for-the-sake-of-which” (οὗ ἕνεκα/ hoú héneka) was one of the four forms of causality, which the Latin Middle Ages called causa finalis: …

Contingency/Chance

(2,299 words)

Author(s): Russell, Robert John | Mörth, Ingo | Schütt, Hans-Peter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences – II. Religious Studies – III. Philosophy – IV. Systematic Theology I. Natural Sciences The concept of contingency/chance occurs in various contexts and meanings in the natural sciences. In the simplest case, contingency denotes an event, a process or a property, the finality of which exists without an immediately discernible or determinable cause. Although we inaccurately assert that something happened by chance, the latter really implies the lack …

Self

(2,419 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo | Huxel, Kirsten | Herms, Eilert | Ziemer, Jürgen
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term self (ἑαυτοῦ/ heautoú; αὑτοῦ/ hautoú) appears as a noun (“the self”) but more often in compounds such as self-consciousness, self-relation, self-assertion, self-actualization, self-determination, self-assurance, and self-realization. Its basic meaning has to do with autonomy: self is something that can be by itself and stand by virtue of itself alone. Greek philosophy already emphasized this meaning: what something is of itself (καϑ᾿ αὑτά/ kath’ hautá; Arist. Metaph. 1017a 27) is what is independent of accidentals. What is self-moving (α…

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…

Doctrinal Discipline

(2,728 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | de Mortanges, René Pahud | Germann, Michael
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Church Law I. Church History Within the church's general duty to confront heresies, there has been, since the time of the Early Church, a particular responsibility to counteract heresies held by those that hold church offices. Until the late Middle Ages, this task was fulfilled by synodal or episcopal, and ultimately, papal decree – in the West, after a p…

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…

Love of One's Neighbor

(2,576 words)

Author(s): Mühling, Markus | Mathys, Hanspeter | Avemarie, Friedrich | Lindemann, Andreas | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Meaning – II. Old Testament – III. Early Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Ethics I. Meaning Love of one's neighbor is the love of creaturely persons, for other concrete creaturely persons (“neighbors”) as being in the image of God; it includes love of enemies (Matt 5:44 = Luke 6:27; Enemy,). The Reformers believed that the twofold law of love (Mark 12:29–31 parr.), expressive of a well-ordered creation, embodies all the demands of the law (cf. Luther, BSLK 586). The love…

World

(7,847 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert | Worthing, Mark
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Cosmos a. There are various ways of expressing the concept of the “world” in Greek and Latin: as the world as a whole, with the bipolar hendiadys heaven and earth (e.g. Diodorus Siculus I 7.7); as the world of human beings, with Greek οἰκουμένη/ oikouménē (sc. γῆ/ gḗ, “earth”; e.g. Diodorus Siculus I 1.3; cf. Lat. orbis terrarum, “circle of the earth”; genus humanum, “human world”); with emphasis on the world’s order, beauty, and completeness, with κόσμος/ kósmos (Cosmology) and universum or πᾶν/ pán, ὅλον/ hólon; or with emphasis on its self-a…

Goodness of God

(1,251 words)

Author(s): van den Brink, Gijsbert | Webster, John | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. Philosophy of Religion In philosophy of religion, the divine bonitas is considered from a metaphysical, a theological, and a moral perspective. In its metaphysical sense “goodness” is a transcendental term, i.e. a concept that transcends every ontological category. As such, goodness is co-extensive with existence: to exist is a good in itself. However, not everything that exists has being and goodness in the same degree. The quality of goo…

Temptation

(2,036 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Arneth, Martin | Feldmeier, Reinhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Temptation is a theologoumenon of many religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It arises in the presence of free will when evil makes its appearance as fascinating, enticing cajolery, often insinuating. There are various forms of temptation: by a deity, by human individuals, by demons, in a nontheistic con-¶ text, and even human temptation of a deity. Temptation is often interpreted as the work of a demonic power that takes on symbolic significance – for example Māra in Buddhism; cf. e.g. Saṃyut…

Institution

(1,609 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Berger, Wilhelm | Heintel, Peter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Social Sciences – III. Theology I. Religious Studies If an institution is understood as a set of norms that regulate action in a precise manner, then, from the perspective of religious studies, a differentiation can be made between institutions that regulate religious action and normative standards that regulate non-religious action but are religiously justified. However, it always needs to be taken into consideration that this distinction is made by the external …

Free Will

(7,479 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph | Loos, Fritz | Herms, Eilert | Fraenkel, Carlos | Nagel, Tilman
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Law – III. Church History – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. Terminology Classical Antiquity lacked a term for free will, a concept first popularized by Christians in Late Antiquity. Aristotle discussed the problem in the context of asking in what sense actions lie “within us” (ἐϕ᾿ ἡμῖν/ ephʾ hēmín; Arist. Eth. Nic. III 1, 1110a, 1–3). The Stoics called the concept τὸ αὐτεξούσιον/ to autexoúsion (“self-control”; ¶ cf. Chrysippus [ SVF II, 975–990]), translated into Latin as liberum arbitriu…

Systems Theory

(3,570 words)

Author(s): Pollack, Detlef | Hesse, Heidrun | Herms, Eilert | Dinkel, Christoph | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Systems theory considers religion one social system alongside others, like the economy, law (Law and Jurisprudence), politics, and education and analyzes it in terms of the function it discharges. The evolutionary approach of systems theory assumes that in primordial local communities the function of religion was nonspecific and was fulfilled in combination with other functions – military, economic, and familial. The transition to modern societies witnessed a dif…

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…

Technology

(5,115 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian | Meisinger, Hubert | Krüger, Oliver | Schmidt, Jan C. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Definitions 1. Technique In antiquity, τέϰνη/ technē originally meant special skill in handwork; it also denoted competence in reasonable action in other practical, artistic and philosophical areas. For Aristotle it is reasonable behavior directed to the production of praxis and poiesis ; technē imitates natural events, being distinct from them but embedded in them. In the modern period ¶ (Modernity), with criticism of Aristotelian metaphysics, the understanding of technique also changed. Technique became a key concept of modern culture…

Vocation

(5,411 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Klöcker, Michael | Ulrich, Hans G. | Sprondel, Walter M. | Drehsen, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology No term equivalent to vocation is found in classical Greek and Latin. An officium was exercised by virtue of a preexisting status, usually by birth. Trades (including medicine) fulfilled the conditions of a regular vocation (τέχνη/ téchnē), but had no self-awareness reflected in terminology. In the New Testament, κλῆσις/ klḗsis mostly refers to the “calling” of a Christian (1 Cor 7:20); in the national church of Late Antiquity, it referred primarily to the call to the religious life ( vocatio) in contrast to lay status. In Middle High German mys…
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