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(1,257 words)

Author(s): Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion Possibility is one of the logical and ontological modalities, alongside impossibility, necessity, and contingency. Among these modalities, possibility has a fundamental significance when (in contrast to I. Kant and the Kantian tradition) it is not understood as a concept complementary to contingency and necessity but as their (common) basis. This presupposes or implies that possibility be understood not as mere possibility in contrast to reality but as itself an aspect of reality, according to which two statements a…


(4,604 words)

Author(s): Hermsen, Edmund | Käppel, Lutz | Dautzenberg, Gerhard | Härle, Wilfried | Mokrosch, Reinhold
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Greco-Roman Antiquity – III. New Testament – IV. Dogmatics and Ethics – V. Practical Theology I. History of Religion The original meaning of the word, (divine) “joint knowledge, knowledge, consciousness, and self-consciousness” (Gk syneídēsis, Lat. conscientia), had already changed in antiquity to refer to an evaluative consciousness of one's own actions. Western philosophical and theological discourse formed various metaphors: the internal; the inner voiced ( daimónion; daimon), also interpreted as the voice …

Activity and Passivity

(1,353 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion and Fundamental Theology – II. Dogmatics I. Philosophy of Religion and Fundamental Theology From the perspective of fundamental theology, the relationship between activity and passivity thematizes the constitution of the christian certainty of Dasein. Its theoretical description in terms of consciousness or personhood must be examined for its ontological presuppositions and understood within their framework. Only …


(458 words)

Author(s): Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] – derived from Gk τὸ δἑον, “the ought-to-be” (in contrast to what is), that which is necessary, the duty – is a term first used by J. Bentham (1834), and it referred in a broad sense to the doctrine of the morally good in terms of his utilitarian ethics (Utilitarianism). Until today, deontology has been applied in this broad sense within deontic logic (by Wright, ¶ Kalinowski, Lenk). With the aid of the deontic operators or functors (e.g. O [=obligatory], P [=permissible], F [=forbidden]), …

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 …


(961 words)

Author(s): Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion I. Philosophy Modalities can be understood ontologically as the ways in which things are or happen, or else logically as the ways in which a statement claims to be true. Modalities can also be applied to actions (Deontology). It is possible furthermore to distinguish between temporal, causal, and physical modalities. From the 20th century, philosophical interest largely focused on the logical meaning of modalities, and developed various systems of modal logic from this position while drawing …

Ethical Judgments

(392 words)

Author(s): Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] in the broader sense are as old as ethics itself, the discipline which justifies and validates the norms, criteria, and principles on the basis of which actions (Action: III) are considered to be good, or right, or worthwile. In addition to this general understanding of ethical judgments, there are of course always ethical judgments relating to specific problems and situations. Ethical …

Potestas dominativa

(164 words)

Author(s): Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] In CIC/1917 (c. 501, §1), potestas dominativa denotes domestic authority within a monastic community; it is not true jurisdiction ( iurisdictio). It ¶ is vested in superiors and chapters by the constitutions of the various orders and the universal laws governing members of the community. In an extended sense, it is also understood as the authority parents have over their children. Potestas dominativa can be combined with power of governance, both sovereign (e.g. the higher superiors of exempt clerical institutes) and simple (e.g. a priest se…

Golden Rule

(739 words)

Author(s): Becker, Hans-Jürgen | Thom, Johan C. | Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] I. Ancient Judaism – II. New Testament – III. Ethics I. Ancient Judaism An ethical maxim widespread in pagan popular philosophy, the Golden Rule is also found, in negative and positive formulation, in ancient Judaism: Tob 4:15 “Whatever you hate, do to no man”; 2 Enoch 61:1 “What anyone wishes for themself, they should do for every other living thing”; and e.g. Arist 207; Sir 31:15; in Rabbinic literature ARN B 26 (under the name of Aqiva (Akiba) ben Joseph), further usage in ARN B 29; b. Ketub. 72a etc. In b. Šabb. 31 a, Hillel responds to a request from a non-Jew to…


(550 words)

Author(s): Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] The term “apostolicity,” which derives from the title “apostle” via the adjective “apostolic,” denotes accord with the apostles or origination with the apostles. These differing interpretations are related to confessional differences. The debate is focused on the church's apostolicity, which since the end of the 4th century (along with its unity, sanctity, and catholicity)– through the influence of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed ( BSLK 27, DH 150) – came to be a standard element of Christian creeds ( DH 42, 44, 46, 48, 60), to which the …