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(2,940 words)

Author(s): Beinert, Wolfgang | Felmy, Karl Christian | Birmelé, André
[German Version] I. History – II. Systematic Theology I. History The term “Mariology,” used to refer to theological interest in the Mother of Jesus Christ (Mary) − and to the systematic subdiscipline of dogmatics that developed out of this interest − first appeared in the title of the work Summa sacrae Mariologiae by Placido Nigido (Palermo 1602, 21623); the variant “Marialogy” was introduced by Vincent Contenson (see below) in 1669. Thereafter, the concept disappeared until the 19th century. The matter itself has, for christological reasons, been t…

Conciliar Theory

(1,651 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Hans | Wohlmuth, Josef | Birmelé, André | Becker, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Dogmatics – III. Church Law I. Church History Conciliarism (conciliar theory) is the doctrine that the general council is the highest ecclesial authority such that even the pope is subject to its supremacy. Its roots lie primarily in the discussions of medieval canon law concerning the relationship between papal immunity and responsibility. A discussion concerning the relationship of the infallibility of the church promised Peter (Matt 16:18) to …

France, Theology in

(2,551 words)

Author(s): Birmelé, André
[German Version] I. 19th century – II. 20th century I. 19th century Not until the 19th century did a distinctive French theology appear. French theology of the 19th century reflects the memory of the French Revolution (1789) as well as the unanswered questions of the Enlightenment (Voltaire, D. Diderot, J.-J. Rousseau). 1. Catholic Theology For the Catholic Church, the new situation meant the end of Gallicanism, which had long united church, theology, and state against the Roman papacy. In 1791 Pius VI condemned the principles of the Revolution, …

Pay and Reward

(2,609 words)

Author(s): Birmelé, André | Oechsler, Walter A.
[German Version] I. Dogmatics That human beings should receive payment as agreed remuneration for labor is in line, according to Old Testament law, with the will of God (Gen 29:15; Deut 24:14f.; Zech 8:10). The New Testament knows that laborers are worthy of their hire (1 Tim 5:18; cf. Luke 10:7; Matt 20:8). When the rich withhold or delay payment, this is a sin crying out before God (Jer 22:13; Jas 5:4). The NT recognizes “payment for unrighteousness” as punishment for an act of betrayal (Acts 1:18), or for dishonest and grasping money-making (2 Pet 2:13, 15). In a figurative sense, paymen…


(2,452 words)

Author(s): Brüske, Martin | Felmy, Karl Christian | Birmelé, André
[German Version] I. Catholic Theology – II. Orthodox Theology – III. Protestant Theology I. Catholic Theology The semantic field of mysterium in Catholic theology exhibits two characteristic poles; though they cannot be separated, there is some tension in their relationship. One pole is the dialectic of God's revelation and hiddenness in his action of revelation and salvation. This semantic pole has its roots in the biblical use of the term (esp. in the Pauline, deutero-Pauline, and trito-Pauline ¶ material), but it is still dominant in formal scholastic usage in the 1…


(573 words)

Author(s): Birmelé, André
The term “oikoumene,” from the present passive participle of the Gk. verb oikeō, “inhabit,” and used from the time of Herodotus (d. between 430 and 420 b.c.), means “the inhabited earth.” In the 20th century the Swedish archbishop N. Söderblom (1866–1931) was the first to use the term to describe the work of reconciling and uniting the separated churches (Reconciliation). The term caught on and resulted in its present use in the ecumenical movement (Ecumenism, Ecumenical Movement). In a basic study of the history and meaning of the term “ecumenical” (1953), W. A. Viss…


(3,257 words)

Author(s): Birmelé, André | Monsarrat, Jean-Pierre
1. The Church in France It is hard to say how many of the nearly 60 million people in France belong to a church, for official statistics do not list church membership. The largest church, the Roman Catholic, is uncertain of its own precise membership. There are no church taxes (Church Finances), nor is there legal membership (Church Membership). If we take baptism as a standard, then most people (80 percent) belong to the church. Even anticlericalists want their children baptized, and the church does…