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Simony

(370 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. The term “simony” took its origin from Simon Magus in Acts 8:18–24. It involves making, or trying to make, spiritual office or gifts a commercial matter. In 451 the Council of Chalcedon began systematizing this offense, and we still find signs of it in the Roman Catholic 1983 CIC (cans. 149.3, 188, and 1380) and in Anglican church law (can. 1969.16). The CIC has come under criticism for leaving many questions open (E. Eichmann). Simony is not just a disciplinary offense but a sacrilege or heresy. Gehazi in 2 Kgs. 5:20–27 has given his name to the special offense of selling spiritua…

Excommunication

(784 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. Concept In Roman Catholic canon law, excommunication is a penalty imposed with a view to recovery. Withdrawal of the rights of church membership is designed to lead to conversion and repentance (Penitence). Distinction is made between “lesser” excommunication (which relates to t…

Tithe

(534 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. To tithe is to give a portion (ideally one-tenth) of the produce of an agrarian society for religious purposes, especially the upkeep of the priesthood. The ¶ tithe may consist of fruits of the field or animals from the herd. The recipients were, besides the local clergy, the bishop, the poor, and the church building and program. Tithes could sometimes go to laypersons who had bought the right to them (Proprietary Church; Clergy and Laity). 2. The tithe belongs to Yahweh, according to Lev. 27:30–33. Details are given in Deut. 14:22–29. The tithe mig…

Compromise

(541 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. Concept The word “compromise” derives from compromitto, which in Roman law meant “agree on an arbiter.” Today the term indicates that parties in a conflict freely reach a solution by some yielding on all sides. Compromise may be highly rated in virtue of the principle of consent, as in early African societies, or it may be disparaged, as in European feudalism. Its high status today, especially in England, is a result of the religious struggles of the 16th and 17th centuries and the free play of interest groups in liberal 19th-century orders.…

Paradox

(381 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. Logic A paradox in the broad sense is a startling statement that cannot be literally true. In the narrower logical sense it may be a formally correct statement but one that contradicts its premises (Antinomy). We find paradoxes in everyday speech (“Less is more”), as well as in academic disciplines like theology (M. Luther’s simul iustus et peccator, “at once righteous and a sinner”). Paradoxes may open up very profitable discussions or humorously serve the cause of logical or rhetorical propaedeutic (Language 1; Logic; Rhetoric 1). 2. Theology In the NT the word paradoxos expresses s…

Optimism and Pessimism

(696 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. Origin and Meanings The terms “optimism” and “pessimism” originated in the philosophical polemics of the 18th century (e.g., Voltaire’s satire Candide; or, Optimism [1759], written against G. W. Leibniz). At issue was evil in the world, in nature, and in human possibilities. Optimism finds in the world the best possible world, which justifies its Creator (Creation; Justification 2; Theodicy). Pessimism views the world as a flawed world that is without God or that defies him (Atheism; Sin). A special form of optimis…

Technology

(3,151 words)

Author(s): Krohn, Wolfgang | Fortner, Robert | Stein, Jürgen
1. Social Sciences 1.1. Technology is and has always been part of human culture. The first tools appeared between two and three million years ago. Toolmaking devices ¶ were developed some 15,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, after the end of the last Ice Age. Some cultures then used farming and breeding technologies to create permanent settlements. The so-called higher cultures developed organized technological systems of transportation, irrigation, mining, taxation, writing, and religious and city architecture. Follo…