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(3,477 words)

Author(s): Jödicke, Ansgar | Sparn, Walter | Koch, Traugott | Seiferlein, Alfred | Weismayer, Josef | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Piety (recently often also “spirituality”) is understood, first, as the forms of expression of lived religiosity; research in this area is particularly the subject of folklore studies and church history for the idividual, secondly, piety has to do with particular qualities of feeling, such as reverence, with which the psychology of religion (Gruehn, Sundén) is concerned. Objective and subjective components are combined in various ways in the historical developme…


(168 words)

Author(s): Weismayer, Josef
[German Version] (Gk. ἀκηδία/ akēdia) originally meant “indifference, apathy.” From the fourth century on, monastic spirituality used the term to denote the fundamental temptation of a monk: spiritual surfeit that finds expression in melancholy and inward desolation. Athanasius was the first to associate acedia with the “noonday demon” (Ps 91:6). The classic description of acedia is that of Evagrius Ponticus, who lists it among the eight evil “thoughts” ( logismoi). Cassian transmitted to western spirituality Evagrius's schema of eight…

Self-surrender in Catholic Mysticism

(214 words)

Author(s): Weismayer, Josef
[German Version] The term Gelassenheit (“self-surrender, resignation”) first appears in German mysticism (III, 3.b; Meister Eckhart, J. Tauler, H. Suso) in the context of mystical experience. It refers to an attitude resulting from an action: the individual must surrender ( lassen) in order to become serene ( gelassen). The word has a second meaning, too: “letting go” ( loslassen) everything that binds the individual, everything he is fixated on; it is associated also with abandoning ( überlassen) oneself to God. Tauler includes Gelassenheit in a series with seclusion ( Abgeschieden…

Edifying Literature

(3,117 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Weismayer, Josef | Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] I. To the Reformation – II. Modern Era – III. Present I. To the Reformation The term “edifying literature” (or “devotional literature”) embraces all Christian literature that is not liturgical, juristic, merely informative, or scholarly (history, theology) but is meant to edify and encourage piety and Christian conduct. But the boundaries distinguishing e…