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Faith and Works

(1,166 words)

Author(s): Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] The determination of the relationship between faith and works lies at the heart of the doctrine of justification. According to Paul, a sinner is justified by faith “apart from works of the law” (Rom 3:28). Luther made this more specific in his translation by saying that a person is justified “ solely by faith, without the works of the law.” The substance of this exclusive understanding of faith was directed against the letter of James (cf. Jas 2:24) and against the Roman Catholic doctrine of grace. According to Luther, faith that …

Christocentrism

(1,094 words)

Author(s): Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] Christian theology is actually christocentric by nature, as it derives its decisive statements concerning God, humanity, and reality itself from Jesus Christ, the focus of Christian faith (Christology). In him, God determined the salvation of humanity with eschatological validity. All claims of the church to the validity of its cognitive insights regarding God and humanity must therefore be measured in relation to Jesus Christ. ¶ In the history of Christian theology, however, this constitutive Christocentrism did not result in Jesus Chri…

Pride

(290 words)

Author(s): Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] ( superbia) is considered, in Christian teaching on sin, as the true expression of the sin against God. The finite, limited human being refuses to be content with his human nature. He or she wants to “be like God” (Gen 3:4), wanting to imitate God’s action and even God’s being. Pride can therefore also be described as presumptuous hubris, in which human beings try to misappropriate the divine. In Christian tradition, such striving was traced back to desire ( concupiscentia) (Augustine). Provided this interpretation is detached from fixation on sexuality, it …

Hiddenness of God

(1,913 words)

Author(s): Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] The hiddenness of God in the world is the reason why certainty of God (Certainty: II, III) can only exist in faith. Were God accessible to us through the senses, as the world is, there would then be no need of faith that rests on that which cannot be seen (Heb 11:2). As long as people are confronted with God in this world, they must also come to terms with the hiddenness of God. This concealment, however, cannot remain absolute, since a certainty of God could never arise if he wer…

Reality

(1,324 words)

Author(s): Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion Meister Eckhart used a term corresponding to “reality” to translate the Aristotelian ἐνέργεια/ enérgeia (Capacity). According to Aristotle, reality derives its name from working, from having an effect (cf. Metaphysics Θ 1050 a 21ff.). The form that a living being produces or brings about through the power of the soul’s ¶ entelechy, and within the possibilities it aims for, is hence real. Because of this, two meanings always resonate in Wirklichkeit, the German word for “reality.” In the most general sense, it denotes on the o…

Anthropocentrism

(525 words)

Author(s): Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology. – II. Dogmatics I. Fundamental Theology The term anthropocentrism, which originated in theology and philosophy in the second half of the 19th century, designates first of all concentration on human experience as the way to reality in general, as opposed to the “geocentric” metaphysical cosmology of the modern period. In theology it means the comprehension…

Adam and Christ

(993 words)

Author(s): Sellin, Gerhard | Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] I. New Testament - II. Dogmatics I. New Testament In 1 Cor 15:21f., 45-49 and Rom 5:12-21, Paul draws a contrast between Adam as the primal, earthly-material human being and Christ as his eschatological, heavenly-spiritual counterpart. 1 Cor 15:45f. indicates that Paul reached this conclusion by performing - within the context of an apocalyptic concept of time and body - an escha…

Hubris

(901 words)

Author(s): Käppel, Lutz | Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] I. Study and History of Religion – II. Philosophy of Religion I. Study and History of Religion Greek ὕβρις, “pride, infringement, maltreatment, outrage.” The etymology of hybris is obscure (the second syllable may be related to βριαρός/ briarós, “strong”). The popular etymological derivation from ὑπέρ/ hypér, “exceeding (the correct amount),” common since the time of Homer, may not be correct for phonetic reasons. Hubris is the basic mental attitude that causes people to “go too far” when pursuing their own interests, and …

Religious Criticism

(2,242 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] I. Greco-Roman Antiquity 1. Types, topics, argumentation patterns a. Conceptions of gods, myths (Myth and mythology), and cult praxis (Cult/Worship) were the object of reflection, analysis, and criticism from the very beginnings of Greco-Roman culture (Homer, Hesiod). Religious criticism was applied firstly to myths and cult, certain forms of atheism (pantheism, deism), and secondly to one’s own religion as compared to another (intra-/interreligious criticism). The criticism focused (i) (u…

Dominion/Rule

(1,257 words)

Author(s): Kersting, Wolfgang | Krötke, Wolf | Sigrist, Christian
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Dogmatics – III. Sociology, Politics, and Social Ethics I. Philosophy Any systematic political philosophy confronts two fundamental problems: the problem of the justification for dominion and the problem of the limitation of rule. The justification for dominion requires a refutation of anarchism, requires a demonstration that there are good grounds for abandoning the natural condition and for establishing a ruling order at all. These grounds can demonstrate the rational advantages of a life under state protection, as in T. Hobbes's Leviatha…

Flesh and Spirit

(2,268 words)

Author(s): Frevel, Christian | Reinmuth, Eckart | Krötke, Wolf
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Dogmatics I. Old Testament In the writings of the OT, flesh and spirit are fundamental anthropological concepts, far more complementary than antithetical. The groundwork for a flesh/spirit dualism (IV) is partially laid in the OT, but it is not developed. The dualism gradually began to intensify in the intertestamental period under Hellenistic influence. 1. Flesh (usually Heb. בָּשָׂר/ bāśar, less often שְׁאֵר/ še'er) denotes the essential components making up human and animal bodies, often limited to th…

Good Works

(1,920 words)

Author(s): Beltz, Walter | Krötke, Wolf | Ulrich, Hans G.
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. Comparative Religion In the vocabulary of comparative religious studies, the expression good works (Lat. opera bona) is a metalinguistic concept borrowed from the 16th-century debates of ¶ confessional Christian theologians. It falls within the ethical aspect of religion and presupposes innumerable object-language verifications. Good works are human acts that are assessed positively by a religious community. The criteria are social assent and subjective doctrinal assent. No…

Word of God

(7,795 words)

Author(s): Prenner, Karl | Levin, Christoph | Hahn, Ferdinand | Krötke, Wolf | Meyer-Blanck, Michael | Et al.
[German Version] See also Heavenly voice, Memra, Revelation. I. Religious Studies Humans experience messages from the deity or divine beings (Inspiration/Theopneusty, Revelation) in the form of speech. Formally we must distinguish (a) the word of the deity himself, as recorded in sacred scripture after a phase of oral transmission (Torah, Qurʾān, Vedas, Avesta); (b) words communicated by individuals specially chosen and called by God (the word that calls); (c) words spoken by elect individuals having a spe…

Sin, Guilt, and Forgiveness

(17,599 words)

Author(s): Krötke, Wolf | Hock, Klaus | Grund, Alexandra | Metzner, Rainer | Holze, Heinrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology Sin is a human breach of relationship with God. The term is emptied of content if it is used only for moral lapses. Only if a moral transgression in the mundane world is understood as a dimension of human alienation from God can it properly be called sin. The fundamental act of sin is unfaith (Unbelief ). In unfaith we close our eyes to the fact that we owe our existence to God and that he turns to us in love. We resist the idea that he determines our lives totally. T…

Jesus Christ

(19,624 words)

Author(s): Roloff, Jürgen | Pokorný, Petr | Köpf, Ulrich | Lathrop, Gordon W. | Krötke, Wolf | Et al.
[German Version] I. Name and Titles – II. Jesus Christ in the History of Christianity – III. Jesus Christ in Other Religions – IV. Jesus Christ in Jewish Perspective – V. Jesus Christ in Islamic Perspective – VI. Jesus Christ in Art I. Name and Titles 1. Jesus of Nazareth a. Terminology The appellation Jesus Christ signals a significant tension regarding the figure in question. Although generally understood as a double name, it originated as a fusion of two heterogeneous elements: the theophoric personal name Joshua/Jeshua (Heb. “the Lord help…