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Afterlife

(2,000 words)

Author(s): Hölscher, Lucian | Sparn, Walter
1. Term Ideas about life after death are to be found among nearly all peoples and in nearly every era. Yet, like its counterpart Diesseits (“this life”), the term Jenseits (“afterlife”, literally “the beyond”) in German has only existed since the turn of the 18th century. The noun Jenseits is only found, sporadically, in sources from the late 18th century, e.g. in the exclamation in Schiller’s Die Räuber (1781; The Robbers): “Sei wie du willst, namenloses Jenseits, wenn ich nur mich selbst mit hinübernehme” (“Be what you will, nameless World Beyond, as long as…
Date: 2019-10-14

Lutheranism

(2,829 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter
1. Definition, origin, and profileThe term  Lutheranism (German  Luthertum) was coined in 1544. Like the more common terms  die LutherischenLutherani, Lutheranismus, and so on, it was originally a pejorative exonym, implying the charge of heresy, applied to the adherents of the Reformation, who since the activities of Martin Luther in 1517 had been vigorously flexing their ecclesiastical and political muscles. Luther himself disliked the expression  Lutheran; therefore the churches that reorganized themselves on the basis of regional church orders (begin…
Date: 2019-10-14

Atheism

(2,127 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. Terminology The word atheism (from Greek átheos, “without  God”, “godless”) denotes both a complex variety of interpretations of the world and life-designs shaped by conscious rejection of the existence of one or more gods, transcendent beings, or powers (positive atheism) and a conscious denial of the earthly influence of such gods or powers, while simultaneously recognizing the theoretical possibility of their existence (negative atheism). Terms such as “God,” “creator,” “absolute,” “supreme being…
Date: 2019-10-14

Person

(3,976 words)

Author(s): Schaede, Stephan | Sparn, Walter | Hofer, Sibylle
1. Philosophy and theology 1.1. Definition and cultural contextThe word person (Latin  persona) originates from ancient theater, where it was used to indicate the mask worn by an actor and hence also the identity of his role; in institutional contexts, the word was transferred to the individual holder of rights and duties, as well as to political and (since the Middle Ages) ecclesiastical officials and dignitaries. In grammar, the word is used for the three possible speakers of a verb, that is, the 1st, 2nd…
Date: 2020-10-06

Sacrament

(6,920 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Walter, Peter | Nüssel, Friederike | Wasmuth, Jennifer
1. Introduction 1.1. General considerationsIn the early modern period, sacraments were part of the religious practice of all Christian churches, albeit with varying emphases and interpretations. Nevertheless, all believed that the celebration and administration of the sacraments, like the proclamation of the word of God, was central to the Christian church, and that sacraments, though performed by human beings, provided a place where the promise of Jesus Christ to be present with his flock was fulfi…
Date: 2021-08-02

Fundamentalism

(1,342 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. The term The term  fundamentalism is a product of the religious conflicts in North American during the early 20th century. It is relevant to the early modern period because the exploration of late modern religious conflicts can contribute to a better understanding of the religious conflicts, confessional antagonists, and theological controversies over the construction of religious identity typical of Eurpean societies in the early modern period.The term was coined around 1920 in the context of the religio-political conflicts between competing groups with…
Date: 2019-10-14

Palingenesis

(1,448 words)

Author(s): Thiede, Werner | Sparn, Walter
1. ConceptPalingenesis (Greek palingenesía, Latin  renascentia, German  Wiedergeburt, literally “rebirth”) in the early modern period was mostly the Christian metaphor for the (singular) process of a spiritual birth of a person comparable to their physical birth, that is, second birth, a prerequisite for eternal life. The origins of the concept in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (Jo 3) were remembered, and like the Pauline formula of “new creation,” it was from the outset associated with the act of …
Date: 2020-10-06

Apocalypticism

(2,218 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter
1. Terminology and background 1.1. Apocalypticism and apocalypseThe term “apocalypticism” (German  Apokalyptik) was introduced in 1820 by the theologian K.I. Nitzsch for the conviction and conduct that views the coming course of the world as a sequence of dramatic events that expand to become a cosmic catastrophe, bring the world and time to an end. Such Weltanschauungen assume that: (1) the fate of the humankind is a part of cosmic history, which in turn has human history as its focus; (2) the drama of this history is governed not only by human v…
Date: 2019-10-14

Predestination

(2,010 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter
1. Definition, motives, problemsPredestination, God’s “preordination” of individuals to eternal salvation, was a central concept for early modern theology but also for metaphysics, though it was subject to radical criticism with the coming of the Enlightenment. It was introduced by Augustine ( De praedestinatione sanctorum, “On the Predestination of the Saints”; 428/429) on the basis of biblical texts (Rom 8:29f.; Eph 1:5). Going beyond the Stoic notion of  providentia (providence), that is, the governance of the world as a whole by a god, the doctrine of…
Date: 2021-03-15

Protestantism

(2,626 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. The term and its historical contextThe collective singular noun Protestantism and its French equivalent  protestantisme were already in use in the 16th century; the German  Protestantismus did not come into use until the 18th century. The term refers to the protest and reform movements of the 16th-century Reformation and denotes all the Christian churches, free churches, and groups that emerged from it, most of which appealed to the Reformers Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Bucer, Huldrych Zwingli, and Jo…
Date: 2021-03-15

Progress

(2,200 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Walther, Gerrit
1. The termThe English noun  progress (in the sense of advancement or improvement; from Latin progressus via Old French  progres) came into use around 1600. Like its equivalents (French  progrès, German Fortschritt, Italian  progresso), it denotes the specifically early modern view of historical movement and change in contrast to earlier concepts of movement such as journey, growth, and development. It is true, though, that the related Latin roots ( progressusprofectus, processus) can mean the change of things for the better; both classical cosmology, based …
Date: 2021-03-15

Music, ecclesiastical

(7,037 words)

Author(s): Kremer, Joachim | Sparn, Walter | Fischer, Michael | Petzoldt, Martin | Totzke, Irenaeus
1. IntroductionThe term ecclesiastical or church music encompasses all music that is heard within Christian churches. This purely functional sense implies no musical genres or stylistic properties. The abundance of manifestations of music in the Catholic (see below, 5.2.), Protestant (see below, 5.3.), and Orthodox churches (see below, 5.4.) precludes an absolute definition valid across the whole of history. Using the term “spiritual music” makes matters no easier, for spiritual music need not be…
Date: 2020-04-06

Church year

(3,111 words)

Author(s): Grethlein, Christian | Sparn, Walter | Petzolt, Martin | Bärsch, Jürgen
1. Introduction The term “church year,” probably first attested (as German Kirchenjahr) in the postil of the Lutheran pastor Johannes Pomarius (Magdeburg 1585) (see below, 4.1.), denotes the annual cycle of Christian festival and holiday. In the rhythm of the week and year, the church celebrates the memory of Jesus Christ (year of the Lord) [1], with the celebration of the saints’ days (Name day) taking a secondary role (year of the saints).The core and “origin” of the year was the Sunday on which the key events of Easter are celebrated (Passion Week) in the fe…
Date: 2019-10-14

Metaphysics

(3,425 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Schmidt-Biggemann, Wilhelm
1. DefinitionMetaphysics (Middle Latin  metaphysica, from Greek  ta metá physiká, “the [works traditionally arranged] after the Physics [in the Aristotelian canon]”) has since Greco-Roman antiquity been the traditional name for a theoretical discipline that deals not with individual objects as such, but with everything that is and can (therefore) be thought about: the Sein alles Seienden (Heidegger: the "being of all that is being"). Since Aristotle, then, metaphysics has been regarded as the “primal philosophy”, that is, the guiding discipline of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Mysticism

(3,883 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Leppin, Volker | Bryner, Erich | Grözinger, Karl Erich
1. IntroductionThe noun mysticism, a general term dating from the 17th century, eluded all attempts of students of religion and the psychology of religion to define it in the 19th and early 20th century [1]; [3]; [5]. More recent researchers therefore use it only as a heuristic term for highly diverse phenomena of an intense individual experience of bonding or union (Latin  unio mystica) with God, the divine, the holy, etc. – always in specific cultural and social contexts. These phenomena are never accessible directly, since we know of them only through (…
Date: 2020-04-06

Body and soul

(2,099 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Wolff, Jens
1. Terminology and traditions At the beginning of the early modern period in Europe, the human experiences that give rise to belief in an asymmetrical duality of body and soul (sleep, dreams, ecstasy, grief, death, and childbirth [9]) had coalesced metaphysically, anthropologically, and epistemologically [12. ch. III and V]. What happens to individuals after their bodily death? How do animate beings differ from inanimate beings and from dead matter? How specifically is the cognitive element of the soul, the mind (Geist), related to the …
Date: 2019-10-14

Church architecture

(5,877 words)

Author(s): Fürst, Ulrich | Strohmaier-Wiederanders, Gerlinde | Sparn, Walter | Faensen, Hubert
1. Introduction Theological and pastoral concepts continued to define early modern Church architecture that had shaped Christian sacral architecture since its very earliest days. The church was a meeting-place for the congregation that had to fulfill a function as the real venue and crucible of the divine service (Worship). Spatial forms and fittings had to support liturgical procedures and make their content available to experience. Still, changing cultural parameters and profound religious and c…
Date: 2019-10-14

Christology

(3,146 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter
1. SignificanceThe theological term  Christology, coined in the 17th century, denotes normative reflection (Dogma) on the person and work of Jesus Christ and his enduring religious significance. This intellectual image of Christ in Christology is one among many, for devotion to Christ always found expression in symbolic, literary, visual, musical, and theatrical forms as well. Despite reciprocal influences, however, these images of Christ (Jesus Christ; Iconography) by no means always conformed to t…
Date: 2019-10-14

Infinity

(3,304 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Scholz, Erhard
1. Metaphysics 1.1. Concept and prior historyThe term “infinity” (French infinité; German  Unendlichkeit) is often used figuratively (metaphorically) to denote very large or unknown values (“infinite depths of the ocean”), so that its literal use has faded into the background. “The infinite” (Latin  infinitum, Greek  ápeiron, “the boundless”, “the indeterminate”) in the strict sense, however, has since the first days of Greek philosophy been a precise term in both mathematics and metaphysics contrasted with the “finite.” What was often unc…
Date: 2019-10-14

Church interior

(2,275 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier-Wiederanders, Gerlinde | Sparn, Walter
1. DefinitionLike the sacral building itself (Church architecture), the church interiors in early modern Europe were all clearly recognizable as Christian. The most important features were the altar (or a table replacing it; see Altar design), font, and pulpit or lectern; from the late Middle Ages on, there was also an organ (initially in the larger churches, in the 19th century even in the smallest village churches; Organ music), as well as movable or permanent seating, e.g. choir stalls in mona…
Date: 2019-10-14
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