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Geismar, Eduard

(204 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Feb 12, 1871, Randers, Denmark – May 14, 1939, Copenhagen) served as a pastor in Copenhagen from 1899 until 1921, when he became professor of systematic theology. Sensitized by the Student Christian Movement and the Church's Urban Office for Social and Political Questions, he took an active part in founding Danmarks Retsforbund (Justice Party/Single-Tax Party), a party backing social reform. Influenced by S. Kierkegaard, he espoused an ethics of the individual conscience bound by its relationship with God, but he understood this conscience as demanding a commitment to society and the Church; he rejected the notion that the Christian ethos was substantially autonomous. In the 1…

Teleology

(3,738 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Hewlett, Martinez J. | Angehrn, Emil | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. The Concept The word teleologia was a neologism coined in 1728 by C. Wolff (

Order

(2,247 words)

Author(s): Kather, Regine | Sieckmann, Jan-R. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Law – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy The concept of order (Gk τάξις/ táxis, κόσμος/ kosmos; Lat. ordo) is employed in natural philosophy, epistemology, and cultural anthropology. It refers to an arrangement of elements that stand in a particular relationship to one other and form the structure of a larger whole. The concept of order is particularly fundamental to cosmology: for Hesiod, the genesis of the cosmos takes place within “theogony,” and for Plato ( Tim.) through the transition from an undifferentiated primal state to a whole structured by various elements and liv-¶ ing beings. For Heraclitus, the continually occurring process of becoming is structured by the sudden exchange of opposites and thus by the logos. A primordial human experience is that no life is possible in total chaos. In De Anima and Historia Animalium, Aristotle undertook the first systematic classification of the various living beings within an ascending hierarchy according to the criterion of increasing consciousness, thereby specifying a principle in the organization of the cosmos. For many medieval authors, the human being represents a microcosm within a macrocosm that is ordered “according to measure, number, and weight.” The motif of the “chain of beings” was still employed by G.W. Leibniz; it was finally abandoned to oblivion only against the background of the theory of evolution, which shifted the focus of attention to the ermergence of new forms. Countering an initial overemphasis on the role of chance in the natural sciences, it became evident from this perspective, too, that the survival of the individual living being requires a high degree of internal organization and correlation with other living beings within an ecosystem. As a consequence of the ecological crisis, the order of nature as a prerequisite for the possibility of human life, and thus also of cognition, has again become a…

Human Dignity

(1,961 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Historical Background – II. Theology I. Historical Background 1. Important terminology of modern legal culture was formed in antiquity: natural law , freedom , equality , justice , etc. Some terms, however, appeared in a different context in antiquity, or were less central and widespread than in the modern period. This is true of human rights ( ius humanum), freedom of religion (

Dogmatics

(10,340 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Lange, Dietz
[German Version] I. History – II. Systematics – III. Glaubenslehre (Doctrine of the Faith) I. History The term “dogmatics,” first used in the 17th century, r…

Media

(1,138 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Grethlein, Christian
[German Version] …

Ethos

(716 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The word ethos combines the meanings of Gk ἔϑος/ éthos (“custom”) and ἦϑος/ ḗthos

Voluntarism

(950 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Schröder-Field, Caroline
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion Voluntarism is a descriptive category in the history of ideas and society that came into use in Germany in the 1880s (first by F. Tönnies, VWPh 7, 1883, 169), and from there spread to the French- and English-speaking worldareas. The term can be applied to very different historical phenomena: to the behavior of individuals or groups, metaphysical views, and psychological models (Psychology). In politics it denotes procedures, attitudes, plans and programs that, regardless of current c…

Dignity

(409 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] renders the Latin dignitas and, like it, refers to a relationship, the unity of the being of “a” for “b” and the determination of “b” by “a,” that is: the being of the one who has dignity for his addressee and, at the same time, the latter's being as determined by the being of the one who has dignity for him. Three elements of this relationsh…

Self-assertion

(415 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Self-assertion can involve (1) individuals and (2) groups. 1. Self-assertion of an individual person is his or her effort to maintain the constitution he has achieved in the course of his personal formation as a self, guided and motivated a particular self-image, endowed with certain faculties of experience, processing of experience, and action, against demands for change made in the course of his development from the dimension of his relationship to the environment, his self, and the wor…

Interim Ethics

(403 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] If there are objective or subjective reasons to regard a life-orienting certainty concerning the nature (essence), origin and destiny of the world and humanity and the rules of action derived from it as valid for only a limited time, one speaks of an interim ¶ ethics. More properly, it should be referred to as an interim ethos or an interim morality. Examples include (a) the ethos of Jesus and (b) the “provisional morality” of R. Descartes ( Discours de la méthode, 1637; ET: Discourse on Method, 1960). a. A. Schweitzer first described Jesus' ethos as an “interim eth…

Certainty

(3,343 words)

Author(s): Künne, Wolfgang | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy Certainty may be either objective or subjective (Goclenius: certitudo rei cognitae or certitudo hominis cognoscentis). Objective certainty is expressed by “It is certain that p,” subjective certainty by “The epistemic subject S is certain that p.” Objective and subjective certainty are logically independent: one can be certain that p although it is not certain that p; and it can be certain th…

Morals

(937 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The term “morals” designates all aspects of a rule-complying and thus relatively stabilized form of interaction that is founded on motivating and guiding certainties (or convictions) and, accordingly, on affective pursuits and interests with the fundamental decisions resulting therefrom. As such, it is equivalent to “ethos” (though emphasis on the individual may be stronger than in the social focus of “ethos”); there is a corresponding equivalence between “moral philosophy” and “e…

Briefs, Goetz Anton

(240 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Jan 1, 1889, Eschweiler– May 16, 1974, Rome) was a sociologist and economist. Beginning in 1913, he taught at the Universities of Freiburg and Würzburg, beginning in 1926, at the Technical University of Berlin. He emigrated to the USA in 1934, was guest professor at the Catholic University in Washington DC until 1937, from them until 1962 (wh…

Coercion

(357 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Lat. coercitio) takes place when a certain type of behavior is forcibly imposed upon a person against his/her declared will. “Means of coercion” are the embodiment of all instruments that are available for this purpose. The availability of such means is indispensable for the state if it is to fulfill its fundamental task of maintaining the peace. The latter requires it to enforce compliance with the legal order, especially on the part of t…

Self-control

(369 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Gk σωϕροσύvη/ sōphrosýnē, ἐγκράτεια/ enkráteia; Lat. temperantia, moderatio, continentia, imperium in semetipsum; Ger. Selbstbeherrschung; Fr. maitrise de soi) means mastery (Dominion) over oneself, exercised by the self. As in outward relationships between persons, rule or dominion means the effective control of an inferior will by a superior will within an individual’s personhood. With variations in terminology, self-control has been a theme of the theory of virtues in philosophy and theology, …

State

(4,704 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Terminology The word state with its various cognates came into use in the Romance languages in the 16th century and was used in German ( Staat) by the end of the 18th. It expresses the notion of the socio-historical “state” or “condition” of a body politic – more specifically the state of physical security ensured for this body by the authority effective and recognized within a “national population” living in its “national territory” (Georg Jellinek [1851–1911], Allgemeine Staatslehre, 1900). Domestically the authority reliably governs the outward relati…

Self-interest

(343 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The concept of “interest” in its civil and economic sense is rooted in Roman law (indemnification, benefit, advantage, value). Extended to include political action and its goals, in the 16th century it became a general designation of the motives governing the actions of competing individuals or collectives pursuing the goal of their own advantage. Finally (since T. Hobbes) it became the designation of the natural motivation of all possible action, with the goal of the actant’s self-preservation. Late Scholasticism and Christian moral philosophy questioned…

Tradition

(8,661 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin | Hezser, Catherine | Liss, Hanna | Schröter, Jens | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies In general usage, tradition (from Lat. transdare/ tradere, “hand on, transmit”) connotes retention and safeguarding, understood as a conservative handing down of mores, customs, norms, rules, and knowledge. The emphasis is on continuity with the past. Jan Assmann interprets tradition as an exemplary case of “cultural memory,” an enduring cultural construction of identity. In religions appeal to tradition is a prominent element justifying interpretations, practices, clai…

Culture

(7,222 words)

Author(s): Laubscher, Matthias Samuel | Moxter, Michael | Recki, Birgit | Haigis, Peter | Herms, Eilert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Philosophy – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. Ethics – VI. Culture, Art, and Religion – VII. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies The word “culture” derives from Latin cultura, “tilling of land”; since antiquity it has been used metaphorically for cultura animi, “cultivation of the mind,” and for status culturalis, the desirable refinement contrasting with the human status naturalis. Since the Enlightenment, the word has taken on different meanings. In the European context, culture co…
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