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Myth and Mythology

(12,158 words)

Author(s): Segal, Robert Alan | Kamel, Susan | Müller, Hans-Peter | Graf, Fritz | Cancik, Hubert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Fundamental Theology. – V. Missiology I. Religious Studies 1. The Concept and Its History Myth may be defined by either content or function. Defined by content, myth is a belief about something significant, such as the world or society. Defined by function, myth accomplishes something significant, such as explaining the world or supporting society. Most theories of myth are concerned with the function of myth, but many are also concerned with either the origin or the subject matter of myth. Myt…

Great Commission, The

(1,097 words)

Author(s): Frankemölle, Hubert | Grünschloß, Andreas
[German Version] I. I. New Testament – II. Missiology I. New Testament Matt. 28:16–20 is often called the Great Commission. The text is a manifesto summarizing the entire Gospel. The speaker in the narrative is “Jesus” (“Ye/Ya saves”: 1:21), “Immanuel” (“El/God is with us”: 1:23; cf. also 2:15; 11:27; 17:5; 28:18). The theocentric Christology in Matthew implies a universal understanding, including Israel. Just as El or YHWH is believed in as the God of Israel and the nations, so is the God whose epiphany is in the histori…

Stranger/Otherness

(2,942 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Bultmann, Christoph | Feldmeier, Reinhard | Feldtkeller, Andreas | Grözinger, Albrecht
[German Version] I. Religious Studies From the outset, religions are involved in processes of exchange with their (religious) environment. This structural relationship to the surrounding world finds expression in internal representations of what is “strange/alien/foreign” or “other” and is part of the self-reference of religious systems. Because other religions are often experienced as competing entities, in most traditions they represent a great challenge to the adherents’ own identity. Therefore re…

Sealing

(283 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas
[German Version] Documents and personal property are protected by seals (Seal/Stamp). Sealing is designed to protect against unauthorized appropriation or access; it protects the authenticity and authority of the person affixing the seal (sender, owner) with symbolic power. The meaning of sealing in secular legal usage provides the background for the many references to sealing in religious contexts. Tatoos and amulets, for example, place their bearers in the numinous protective sphere of a deity o…

Life Cycle

(2,663 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Wagner-Rau, Ulrike | Preul, Reiner | Goldberg, Sylvie Anne | Michaels, Axel
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Practical Theology – III. Ethics (Phases of Maturation) – IV. Judaism – V. Hinduism I. Religious Studies In almost all cultures and religions, a person apparently experiences his life not only as a straight line, but more as cyclically sequenced, more-or-less discontinuous phases with varied social status and role claims. The transition between these phases usually takes place as a controlled “growing process,” not only accompanied by so-called rites of passage, but in f…

Life

(7,317 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Liess, Kathrin | Zumstein, Jean | Sparn, Walter | Gander, Hans-Helmuth | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Fundamental Theology and Dogmatics – IV. Philosophy – V. Philosophy of Religion – VI. Natural Sciences – VII. Ethics I. Religious Studies Religious ideas and rituals focus fundamentally on life in this world and the next (Here and now, and the hereafter), i.e., coping with life and death (I). Through an immense range of variations, certain returning elements are discernible. Because of its numinous origin (Creation), life is usually felt to be “owed,” but because …

Church

(19,399 words)

Author(s): Wenz, Gunther | Davis, Derek | Grünschloß, Andreas | Grappe, Christian | Schäfer, Rolf | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Religious Studies – III. Early Christianity – IV. Early Church to the Reformation – V. Modern Era – VI. Orthodox Churches – VII. Asia, Africa, Latin America – VIII. Systematic Theology – IX. Ethics – X. Practical Theology – XI. Ecumenical Discussion – XII. Law I. Concept 1. Theology The loan-word, church, which in common parlance can mean both the Christian worship service and the building dedicated to its performance as well as the constituted social configuration of Christian faith in t…

Water

(1,157 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas
[German Version] I. Throughout the world, water appears as the fundamental and original element of the world and life (cf. Earth, Fire, Wind), and thus plays an important role in religious protologies. In the form of a primordial ocean or subterranean lakes, cosmogonic myths describe it as a created or already preexistent original substance. From an anthropological perspective, other fluids or “humors” can also be distinguished as constitutive of the human being. The vital importance of water, its purifying power, …

Endo, Shusako

(193 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas
[German Version] (Mar 27, 1923, Tokyo – Sep 29, 1996, Tokyo), internationally known and much celebrated Japanese author. From his youth, he felt “foreign” in his homeland because of his Catholic faith and desired also in his writing…

Missio Dei

(325 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas
[German Version] Missio Dei, “mission of God,” was introduced into the discussion by K. Hartenstein; the term advanced after the missions conference in Willingen (1952, Mission Conferences, German) and soon became a central concept in the theology of mission. In spite of many different emphases, it implies a new Trinitarian foundation for the understanding of missions (cf. opera and missiones in the context of the “economic Trinity”). For, in distinction to ecclesiocentric mission concepts, the Triune God is to be understood as the real “subject” of mis…

Original State

(3,622 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Arneth, Martin | Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Myths of an original state are usually associated with cosmogonic and anthropogonic (Anthropogony) myths concerning the origins of the world, life, animals, and human beings, for the original state refers to a primal age (Protology) before all time, falling between creation and history. Many religious traditions describe a h…

Exorcism

(1,855 words)

Author(s): Figge, Horst H. | Kollmann, Bernd | Streib, Heinz | Mitchell, Nathan D. | Grünschloß, Andreas
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. New Testament – III. Practical Theology – IV. Liturgy – V. Missiology I. Comparative Religion Exorcism, latinized from the Greek ἐξορκίζεῖν/ exorkízein, literally “to conjure out,” consists of procedures aimed at removing psychic, social, or material disruptions that are attributed to the presence of undesirable spirits. Exorcism is accordingly practiced worldwide and represents an integral cultic constituent of most religions. In the consciousness of the participants, it is directed against evil, malevolent, or only poorly informed beings that can be brought to abandon their negative influence through persuasion, threat, or conviction. Where exorcism is performed on account of possession (with the variant of the expulsion of the devil), the exorcist enters into direct communication and, if need be, interaction with the spirit (Demons and spirits) which manifests itself through the body of a victim. From a psychological point of view, the aim of the ritual is to reintegrate those parts of the psyche that have separated from the person's “own” ego and become autonomous. In other cases, especially the exorcism of animals, objects, and situations, it is essentially a matter of a change in the attitude of the participants, through which the focus on the experiencing of disruptive spirits is removed and ascription to other causes becomes possible. A successful exorcism requires not only competence on the part of the exorcist, itself the result of training and experience, but above all social power. This d…

Faith

(25,125 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Schulz, Heiko | Kaiser, Otto | Hooker, Morna D. | Jüngel, Eberhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Old Testament – III. New Testa…

Human Beings

(18,165 words)

Author(s): Gregersen, Niels H. | Grünschloß, Andreas | Figal, Günter | Janowski, Bernd | Lichtenberger, Hermann | Et al.
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences and Psychology – II. Religious Studies – III. Philosophy – IV. Old Testament – V. New Testament – VI. Church History – VII. Dogmatics and Ethics – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Natural Sciences and Psychology 1. Evolution From the perspective of the natural sciences, the theory of evolution offers the most comprehensive framework for understanding human beings. It views the human species as a late product of a biogenetic process that began with the origin of life (VI) on earth some 3.8 billion …