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Sacred and Profane

(2,506 words)

Author(s): Kippenberg, Hans G. | Otte, Klaus
1. Religious and Biblical Aspects 1.1. Religious, Psychological, and Sociological The terms “sacred” and “profane” are significant in the vocabulary of comparative religion (Religious Studies). When the 19th century found that we do not encounter ideas of God always and everywhere, but that God “is a late comer in the history of religion” (G. van der Leeuw, Religion, 104), a new and universally applicable term for religion was needed. In 1871 E. B. Tylor (1832–1917) thought that a belief in spiritual beings might be a suitable minimal definition (chap…

Happiness

(1,454 words)

Author(s): Otte, Klaus
1. Definition Both linguistically and materially, it is hard to define “happiness” and related terms such as “(good) fortune,” as many interdisciplinary attempts show (e.g., Was ist Glück? Ein Symposion). Some have emphasized that, while happiness may fulfill desires and longings, it is not at the disposal of the will and cannot be attained by us (U. Hommes, in F. G. Jünger et al., 242). A. Gehlen finds happiness only in acquisition, not in possession (ibid., 29). We can grasp it plainly in terms neither of past nor of future. As M. Freund says, we are all the seman…

Speculative Theology

(1,265 words)

Author(s): Otte, Klaus
1. Speculative theology, often connected with German idealism, has a much earlier origin. K. Rahner (1904–84), distinguishing it from positive theology in the Roman Catholic sphere, points back beyond the historical framework to a universal religious and theological foundation. Part of speculation as a scientific method is that, on the basis of a supposed dialectic of being, a counterpart, as in a mirror (speculum), is always thought of not just in a historically comparative way but in a dynamic and cognitive way that sheds light on being itself (Cognition)…

Last Judgment

(1,058 words)

Author(s): Otte, Klaus
1. Term The term “last judgment,” based on the “last times” of 2 Esdr. 7:73, is used for the last and definitive consummation of history. It is also called the universal judgment, for it pertains to all, both good and bad. It is the judgment of Christ insofar as it brings into play his nature and his action. Since the last judgment is not the mere completion of an immanent process but is subject primarily to the sovereignty of God, it is also called the judgment of God. 2. Bible 2.1. There is as yet no monographic account of the last judgment in the OT. Exposition of the OT tries to …