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Syncretism

(5,112 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Hutter, Manfred | Auffarth, Christoph | Leicht, Reimund | Roxborogh, John | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The word syncretism in its broadest sense denotes any blend or combination of diverse cultural phenomena. This usage derives from an apparently reasonable but false etymology: syncretism is commonly derived from the Greek verb συνκεράννυμι/ synkeránnymi, “mix.” In fact, however, it is a neologism coined by Plutarch ( Mor. 490b), who called the way Cretans came together in the face of external enemies synkretismos. Erasmus of Rotterdam than borrowed the term and introduced it into the language of Christian theology. In theology th…

Symbols/Symbol Theory

(9,049 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard | Recki, Birgit | Schlenke, Dorothee | Biehl, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Use of the Greek word σύμβολον/ sýmbolon in a sense relevant to religious studies is attested quite early in the history of European religions; Dio of Prusa (1st/2nd cent. ce), for example, used it in his speech on Phidias’s statue of Zeus in Olympia ( Oratio 12.59). In this context, the Greek term reflects the problem posed by images of the gods: what is intrinsically inaccessible to human vision (Vision/Intuition) is somehow to be represented visually. In religious studies, especially in the phenomenology of religion, the concept of sy…

Eclecticism

(769 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Albrecht, Michael
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. Philosophy I. Comparative Religion The term “eclecticism” denotes philosophical or religious systems in which elements of various provenance have been deliberately combined; it was already used in this sense by ancient writers (Diogenes Laertius; cf. II below). In modern usage, the term usually carries a negative connotation, based on the assumptio…

Demonic, The

(2,174 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Sparn, Walter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Dogmatics – III. Philosophy of Religion I. Religious Studies R. Otto used the concept of the demonic in close association with the concept of the numinous, which occupied the center of his theory of religion. The essence of the numinous includes the element of the tremendum, the unnerving or unsettling elemen…

Hope

(4,048 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Kaiser, Otto | du Toit, Andrie | Beißer, Friedrich | Moxter, Michael
[German Version] I. Religious Studies / History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Dogmatics – V. Ethics I. Religious Studies / History of Religions Various versions of the Greek Prometheus myth characterize hope (