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Garve, Karl Bernhard

(176 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] (Jan 24, 1763, Jeinsen near Hannover – Jun 21, 1841, Herrnhut) was a United Brethren theologian and songwriter (Bohemian and Moravian Brethren: II). In the care of Herrnhut from his childhood onward, Garve became a teacher at the Pedagogium in Niesky in 1784 and “lecturer in the historical and philosophical sciences” at the theological seminary there, transferred from Barby, in 1789, both institutions in which he had completed studies. His cautious openness to the development of c…

Visio Dei

(334 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] I. Eschatology According to Matt 5:8, the visio Dei or vision of God is a promised good; Paul contrasts the eschatological vision “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12) to the broken, fragmentary perception of faith in the present (cf. 2 Cor 5:7). Against the background of the Platonic notion of participation through knowledge, Augustine of Hippo developed a doctrine of the visio Dei or visio beatifica (“beatific vision”) as the epitome of the eternal frui Deo (“enjoyment of God”) granted to the redeemed. The Latin Middle Ages emphasized that in the visio Dei the nature of God is …

Salvation, Means of

(747 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd | Slenczka, Notger
[German Version] I. Dogmatics 1. General. Means of salvation ( media salutis) are creaturely, tangible (“outward”) media “in, with, and under” which the salvation (III) realized through Christ is communicated to human individuals in their own present. They are signposts that point to Christ as the medi-¶ ator of salvation and in that act of pointing make Christ himself present. The dependence of participation in salvation on outward mediation reflects incarnational theology (God himself was “realized” in Christ), soteriology (justification takes place pro nobis but extra nobis), …

Ritschl School

(567 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] From around the time of the publication of Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung (1870–1874; ET: The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation, 1966), A. Ritschl’s theology proved to be a “third way” capable of integration between and liberalism. In this, Ritschl was influenconfessionalism tial more through his writings than as a teacher. Soon theologians close to Ritschl, such as A. v. Harnack, J. Kaftan, F. Kattenbusch, W. Herrmann, and F. Loofs, were appointed to imp…

Gesellschaften für christlich-jüdische Zusammenarbeit

(239 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] (GCJZ; Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation). In the course of its policy of reeducation and democratization, the American occupying force in Germany after World War II supported the formation of the GCJZ according to the American prototype (Christian-Jewish Cooperation). Other establishments quickly followed the first GCJZ in Munich (1948), making a “German Coordinating Council” (with headquarters in Bad Nauheim) necessary by 1949. The (interdenominational) GCJZ were intend…

Vision/Vision Account

(4,201 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Jeremias, Jörg | Reed, Annette Yoshiko | Heininger, Bernhard | Dinzelbacher, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The term vision (from Lat. visio) denotes a clear perception of images of individual scenes or long sequences (some coupled with auditory [Auditory hallucination] or olfactory elements) in a waking state. Visions can arise spontaneously or be induced by rhythms, asceticism, meditation, psychedelic drugs, or rituals (Rite and ritual). They are experienced without exception as coming from without, although related external stimuli cannot be verified. Religiously dispose…

Catholicity of the Church

(1,699 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] I. The Term and its History – II. Catholicity in the Confessional Traditions – III. Catholicity and Ecumenism – IV. Systematic Perspectives Together with unity (Church unity), holiness (Sacredness and sinfulness), and apostolicity, catholicity is one of the four attributes used by the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed to characterize the church (notae ecclesiae); hence it has become a central concept of ecclesiology. Its meaning, however, is complex. Furthermore, t…


(874 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd | Nicol, Martin
[German Version] I. Ethics 1. In a broad sense, sociability denotes the fundamental anthropological structure of human beings as social animals. But the Greek concept of the ζῷον πολιτικόν/ zṓon politikón already suggests a narrower understanding, since it addresses the specific way of life of free citizens, relieved of the burden of obtaining the necessities of life, in which the destiny of human beings is realized. Loosely based on this tradition, with special attention to Aristotle’s theory of friendship ( Eth. Nic. VIII and IX) and influenced by aspects of Pietism and th…

Transfiguration of Christ

(2,102 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Oberdorfer, Bernd | Kunzler, Michael | Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane
[German Version] I. New Testament The legend in Mark 9:2–13 proclaims Jesus as Son of God in the presence of his innermost circle of disciples. This is clearly an important compositional element for Mark: the beginning (1:1, 11), middle (9:7), and end (15:39) of the Gospel bear witness to Jesus as God’s Son. The combination with 8:27–33 breaks through Jesus’ incognito and defines his mission – passion (Passion/Passion traditions) and resurrection (II). For a moment, the disciples receive an insight i…


(1,038 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] I. General The terms partner and partnership refer in the first instance to enterprises in the economic sphere, but then also to deep personal relationship and specific forms of interaction (sports, games, dancing). In a more general sense, we can speak of partnership between territorial entities (e.g. cities) and institutions (e.g. churches). A fundamental element of a partnership is the ongoing autonomy of the partners and their equal status (hypostatized as the virtue of “partnership…

Confession (Denomination)

(410 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] In the 16th and 17th centuries, which would later be called the period of confessionalization, the newly arisen situation of different, but coexistent religious and theological trends and ecclesial institutions was still described by reference to “religious parties.” The fact that instead of this term, beginning in the 19th century, “confession” could diverge from its original meaning of confession (of faith) and become the common general term for …

Trinity/Doctrine of the Trinity

(11,509 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd | Theobald, Michael | Müller, Gerhard Ludwig | Plank, Peter | Küster, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] ¶ I. Terminology To an unusual degree, the theology of the Trinity is characterized by a strained combination of narrative biblical language and speculative philosophical language. The word trinitas was first used by Tertullian ( Prax. 2.1–4), as a translation of Greek τριάς/ triás (orig. “threeness”). To denote the divine unity (God: V, 1), the 4th-century debates showed that the term οὐσία/ ousí (“Essence”; see also Divine essence) borrowed from Greek philosophy was theologically legitimate. The term ὑπόστασις/ hypóstasis (Hypostasis) was sometimes used i…


(937 words)

Author(s): Rosenau, Hartmut | Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics I. Philosophy of Religion Future is relevant to the philosophy of religion, first, in relation to the analysis of existence (Existentialism [Philosophy], Existentialism [Theology]). According to this, future is the content of approaching time that lies before us and is ultimately inaccessible despite all planning (Unavailability). This content reveals its importance for the understanding of human existence in contrast to other beings that are subje…


(1,342 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd | Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] I. Western Theology – II. Orthodox Theology – III. Present Ecumenical Discussion I. Western Theology 1. The Problem. In the churches of the West, the statement in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed that the Holy Spirit (Spirit/Holy Spirit: VI, 2) “proceeds from the Father” adds “and the Son” (Lat. filioque). The Orthodox churches rejected this addition (see II below). Although the Filioque clause was not directly responsi-¶ ble for the schism of 1054, it came to epitomize the alienation between the East and West. 2. History. Augustine was authoritative for t…

Hergenröther, Joseph

(172 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] (Sep 15, 1824, Würzburg – Oct 3, 1890, Mehrerau Abbey), Roman Catholic theologian. After studying in Würzburg and Rome, he became a Privatdozent in Munich in 1851. From 1852 to 1879 he was professor of church history and church law in his home town. Called by the Curia to join in the preparations for Vatican I, he defended its doctrine of infallibility in print, especially against the attacks of I. v. Döllinger ( Anti-Janus, 1870). In 1879, he was called to Rome as cardinal and became responsible, as ¶ the prefect of the Apostolic Archive, for the scientific systemati…

Schleiermacher, Friedrich Daniel Ernst

(917 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), the “church father of the 19th century,” was a Protestant theologian, pastor, and philosopher. Born in Breslau (modern Wrocław) as the eldest son of a Prussian military chaplain, Schleiermacher—who was gifted even as a child—was significantly influenced by the Moravian Brethren. He attended their school in Niesky beginning in 1783, then their theological seminary in Barby beginning in 1785. Doubts about traditional dogma, however, aggravated an early alienat…

Zinzendorf, Nikolaus

(1,064 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
Nikolaus Ludwig, Reichsgraf von (count of) Zinzendorf and Pottendorf (1700–1760), was a German Protestant theologian and founder and organizer of the Moravian Brethren (Herrnhut community). Born in Dresden, Zinzendorf was the son of a high Saxon court official, descended from old Austrian nobility. After his father’s early death and the remarriage of his mother, Zinzendorf was raised in the Upper Lusatia region of eastern Germany by his grandmother Henriette von Gersdorf, who had a strong influence on him. From 1710 to 1716 Zinzendorf attended, with ambivalent experiences…

Francke, August Hermann

(851 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
August Hermann Francke (1663–1727) was a Lutheran-Pietist theologian, pedagogue, and social reformer. Francke, the son of a jurist, was born in Lübeck and spent his childhood in Gotha. He was early destined for spiritual office, as well as for scholarship, studying in Erfurt and Kiel (1679–82), Hamburg (1682), and Leipzig (from 1684). In 1685 he received his master of philosophy degree on the basis of a work on Hebrew grammar and acquired authorization to teach. As a counter to instructional theology that was reduced largely to dogmatics, in 1686 he founded the Collegium philobiblicum, f…

Verklärung Jesu Christi

(1,810 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Oberdorfer, Bernd | Kunzler, Michael | Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane
[English Version] I. Neues Testament Die Legende Mk 9,2–13 parr. proklamiert Jesus als Gottessohn vor dem innersten Jüngerkreis. Deutlich ist starkes kompositionelles Interesse des Mk: Anfang (1,1.11), Mitte (9,7) und Ende (15,39) des Ev. bezeugen Jesus als Gottessohn. Die Zusammenstellung mit 8,27–33 lüftet das Inkognito Jesu und definiert seinen Auftrag (Passion und Auferstehung [: II.]). Die Jünger erhalten für einen Moment Einblick in Jesu Umgang mit der himmlischen Welt (Mose und Elia als Entrü…


(458 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[English Version] . Etwa seit Erscheinen von »Die christl. Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung« (1870–1874) erwies sich A. Ritschls Theol. als integrationsfähiger »dritter Weg« zw. Konfessionalismus und Liberalismus. Dabei wirkte Ritschl weniger durch seine Lehrtätigkeit als durch seine Schriften. Schon bald wurden Ritschl nahestehende Theologen wie A. v. Harnack, J. Kaftan, F. Kattenbusch, W. Herrmann oder F. Loofs auf wichtige Lehrstühle berufen (Liste bei Schäfer 232). Theologiepolit. w…
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