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(1,271 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] The concept of duty found its most prominent formulation in I. Kant's ethics. However, along with the concepts of the virtues and goods, it has always (Stoics, Cicero) belonged to those three central ethical concepts (Ethics) that have as their object the characteristic features of all action relevant to ethical judgments. The ques…


(2,915 words)

Author(s): Gephart, Werner | Schütt, Hans-Peter | Schlapkohl, Corinna | Stroh, Ralf | Mette, Norbert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics – V. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Identity is not in the classical repertoire of religious studies and the sociology of religion. But the central problem of social identity, formulated as a question, makes its religious significance obvious: “Where do we come from?” is answered by creation (I) myths that refer to an original identity; “Who are we?” and “Where are we going?” are answered by religious promises and conc…

Conflict of Duty

(604 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] For reasons of principle pertaining to the foundations of ethical theory, the acute experiencing of a so-called “conflict of duty” can only be acknowledged and taken up by theory through the conceptions of a specific type of ethics, while the majority of ethical systems are bound to classify it as something that merely appears to be a conflict. This has to do with the fact that the concept of duty unfolds the paradigm of the tasks which our exist…


(340 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] In its broadest sense, the variously used notion of “competence” refers to the ability to lead a responsible and self-determined life in all practical aspects of one's conduct of life. Basic competence, however, manifests itself only belatedly and indirectly in outwardly discernible actions, so-called “performance” (Noam Chomsky). Its foundation consists more of an inner constellation which proves capable of handling all situations in an emotiona…


(881 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf | Greger, Reinhard | Schmälzle, Udo Friedrich
[German Version] I. Social Ethics – II. Law – III. Practical Theology and Education I. Social Ethics Mediation (Lat. mediatio) strives for nonjudicial conflict resolution between disputing parties through the reconciling work of neutral third parties, who, in the course of their moderating and de-escalating activity, seek to activate the potentials for conflict resolution that are present but hidden in the disputing parties. Mediation aims at agreement as the satisfactory conclusion of a conflict in contrast to…

Competence (Authority)

(134 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] For long periods of time, the word competence (or competency) denoted a person's means of subsistence. From the 17th century onward, it has been used systematically in its technical legal sense ¶ of responsibility or jurisdiction and has become a standard technical administrative term in the context of the modern state with its division of functions. Competence defines the responsibilities and mandates of organs of state, agencies, and other administrative bodies – including private entities…


(8,783 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Xella, Paolo | Ego, Beate | Niebuhr, Karl-Wilhelm | Lehmkühler, Karsten | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History of Scholarship – III. Ancient Near East – IV. Old Testament and Early Judaism – V. New Testament – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Christianity – VIII. Liturgical Practice – IX. Ethics I. Religious Studies 1. Concept The word “cult” comes from Lat. cultus. Cicero ( De senectute 56) uses the phrase cultus deorum in the sense of “worship of the gods.” It invariably refers to acts of “care and tending”; in secular contexts the word denotes agrarian work (cf. agriculture). There are analogous words in other ancient languages…

State Systems

(797 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] A state system is the external structure of state governance and the external organization of the execution of governance. The Aristotelian system has influenced all later theories. It arranges the forms of state according to the number of rulers – one ruler, a few rulers, or many rulers (Arist. Pol. 1278b - 1301a). All of these forms of state face the alternative of either ¶ serving the common good or the self-interest of the rulers. This gives rise to the following positively regarded forms of state and their corresponding corrupt versions:…

Political Science

(2,486 words)

Author(s): Bleek, Wilhelm | Adam, Armin | Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] I. Terminology Both the name of the academic discipline and the understanding of what it studies have been subject to several historical transformations. Classically politics was understood as the normative good order of society; in the early and later modern period, the focus shifted to ¶ the empirical analysis of power and sovereignty (Dominion) as the characteristic subject matter of politics. In its earlier phase, no distinction was made between the academic discipline and its object of study; when the discipline was rees…


(323 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] ( restitutio) is the removal of damage to another’s property by compensation, replacement or reimbursement. In general, the one guilty of the damages or his or her legal successor (cf. the German-Israeli restitution agreement) owes compensation to the one damaged or his legal successor. In a few areas of life particularly subject to damage (e.g. driving), legislative criteria provide that compensation will reliably be made even if the injuring party should not have the necessary me…

Ethics of Duty

(274 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] The ethics of duty or deontological ethics (Deontology) offers a systematic presentation of the internal logic of rational action and the regular interdependencies between actions and differs in this way from a teleological ethics oriented toward the result of the action (Ethics of goods). The reference point of systematization, in this regard, is either (a) a purely formal …


(3,758 words)

Author(s): Hock, Klaus | Janowski, Bernd | Günter, Röhser | Stolina, Ralf | Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Religious Studies While (re)conciliation as an instrument for reaching an amicable settlement in a lawsuit has echoes of the legal ¶ dimension of expiation, the meaning of expiation (appeasement, pacification) refers first of all to the (re)establishment of an undisturbed state or of a “sound” relationship. In contrast to atonement (Re…


(260 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] (tutiorism). The term probabilism (Lat. probabilis) denotes in ethics a theory about conflict situations in which no morally preferable decision can be taken within the scope of absolutely incontestable and unambiguous convictions, but only on the basis of merely probable principles. Probabilism is developed either as a theory for solving individual and strictly limited problematical cases, where there is a lack of clarity as to which ethical principles should be adduced, or it is assu…

Life, Form of

(462 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] In the biological sense, the term “life form” can refer to any conceivable form of life (plant, animal or human); however in the narrower anthropological or ethical sense, the more appropriate expression is “form of life,” which serves as an umbrella term for the various manifestations of specifically human life. The term is used in the latter sense, which is also the sense in which it is used (as Lebensform) in the history of philosophy, by F.D.E. Schleiermacher in his Psychologie. Here form of life means the specific shape of human society in its dependency…


(3,474 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Amjad-Ali, Charles
[German Version] I. Concept The term revolution (from Lat. revolvere, “turn over”) denotes a sudden qualitative change of existing circumstances and processes, a change that does not just affect individual elements – like the replacement of government personnel in a coup – but brings change of the overall system. The term was used originally in astronomy for the orbit of a heavenly body. Since the early modern era, has been used to refer to changes that overturn the political system, but this definition …


(385 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] is the absolute (Death) or partial (e.g. divorce) loss of a person’s possibilities for shaping his or her relationship with another person or a complex web of relationships (Interaction). Separation can be ¶ incurred without any active involvement or brought about deliberately, but it never nullifies the fact of having once been in a mutual relationship. Even the absolute separation of death does not erase the former relationship totally but merely transforms it. Death does put an absolute and final end to all on…


(293 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] At an essential level, humans rely on cooperation with other humans. In a broad sense, an exchange takes place – whether consciously or not – in any interaction (exchange of ideas, affections, or animosities). In this sense, exchange is the experiential participation and sharing of the interactants in their individual personal lives. In a more restricted sense, i…

Social Ethics

(124 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] Social ethics deals with the proper ordering (Order) of human coexistence – as intended, because it respects the transcendental conditions of the conditio humana. It is the indispensable counterpart to individual ethics, which examines the intended form of an individual’s life praxis. Since both social and individual ethics seek to unravel the ethical implications of one and the same transcendental concept of the conditio humana, they cannot be at odds within a single fundamental anthropological conception. Conflict can arise only between diff…

Enthusiasts (Schwärmer)

(1,356 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker | Enns, Fernando | Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. Church History The term “enthusiasts” ( Schwärmer) is not a historiographic category but a theologically evaluative term for a type of piety that by false appeal to the Holy Spirit (Spirit/Holy Spirit) pays inadequate regard to the extra nos of Christian salvation. Luther, along with T. Müntzer and A. v. Karlstadt, shaped its usage in the dispute with the Zwickau …