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Fate

(2,647 words)

Author(s): Ahn, Gregor | Volkmann, Stefan | Roth, Michael
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Religious Studies In every age and culture, people have felt the need to explain inescapable situations and unforeseeable events. From the perspective of cultural anthropology, however, this need does not make fate a clearly definable concept; it is instead a summary term encompassing a multiplicity of culturally divergent ideas to which individual religions often assign very different values. The concept of fat…

Revenge

(1,407 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Zenger, Erich | Volkmann, Stefan
[German Version] I. Concept Revenge as a form of compensation provides a model for social behavior. Religions interpret it and extend the concept to relationships between human beings and gods as well as between the living and the dead. Religions vary in their assessment of revenge. They can consider it a legitimate form of justice (talion in tribal societies, the notion of revenge in the OT, as in Gen 4:23f.) or as an unethical mode of conduct to be overcome (Buddhism; Matt 6:12). Usually revenge is a peripheral aspect of religion a…

Estate

(1,134 words)

Author(s): Neu, Rainer | Volkmann, Stefan | Münch, Richard
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Dogmatics – III. Sociology and Social History I. History of Religions Estates are socially and juridically closed groups that occupy a specific niche in society – defined by birth, social function, way of life, and frequently cultic observance. They develop in a society that is already stratified. Those who exercise political and religious control (Domini…

Wrath of God

(3,658 words)

Author(s): Jödicke, Ansgar | Achenbach, Reinhard | Herzer, Jens | Volkmann, Stefan | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich
[German Version] I. Religious Studies As with other divine attributes, the wrath of God (cf. Wrath/Anger) is an anthropomorphism that is encountered in iconography (I; e.g. of Thangkas [ tʾaṅ Ka] in Tibet), but especially in the mythology of many religions, where it leads to various entanglements within the plot. In Greek mythology, for instance, the enraged god Zeus sends Pandora’s box to humanity after having being deceived by Prometheus, thereby bringing evil into the world. Depending on the situation, the wrath of God can illustrate the capriciousness or predictabil…

Retribution

(4,477 words)

Author(s): Neu, Rainer | Janowski, Bernd | Bendemann, Reinhard v. | Volkmann, Stefan | Buß, Johanna
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Retribution – recompense of good with good and evil with evil, in religion as reward (Payment) or punishment for human conduct, imposed in this life or the next by God or fate – is an aspect of reciprocity, the principle of quid pro quo (Merit). Richard Thurnwald was the first to point out the significance of reciprocity for social action and worldview in ethnic societies. It goes beyond reciprocating with a gift or assistance, or exchanging daughters between exogamous groups; the moral, legal, and religi…