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(1,557 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
1. Early church Confession of faith in the Triune God is one of the characteristic marks of the Christian faith. The term  Trinity (or  Triunity) is derived from Latin  trinitas (triad, threeness). It is far from being simply a belated addendum to a general notion of God; from the Christian perspective, it is impossible to speak of God at all otherwise than as Father, Son, and Spirit. Behind this language is the conviction of God’s full presence in the person of Jesus Christ and the work of the Spirit (Greek  pneúma, Latin  spiritus). That creates the intellectual challenge of …
Date: 2022-11-07

Creation, doctrine of

(1,701 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
1. IntroductionBelief in the divine creation of the world is part of the common heritage of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In all three religions, the relationship between God and the world is determined by the idea of creation. The accent here is on the difference between creator and creature, as expressed on the one hand in the doctrine of the original “creation from nothing” (Latin  creatio ex nihilo) and on the other in that of God's ongoing preservation of creation ( conservatio mundi). More precisely, the following fundamental concerns can be discerned, which…
Date: 2019-10-14

Unio mystica

(819 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
1. DefinitionThe phrase unio mystica (mystical union) denotes the ecstatic experience of the unification of the finite self with the divine. Although the expression itself derives from the Christian tradition, it describes a phenomenon that extends far beyond the boundaries of Christianity: the transient exceptional state of a unification with a transcendent divine (Transcendence/immanence), erasing the boundaries of the individual self, experienced as a passive, intuitive event despite all ascetic …
Date: 2022-11-07


(823 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
In the first instance, theism denotes the general conviction of the existence of a deity transcending the world (Transcendence/immanence). In substance such ideas are already found in classical philosophy. In this broader sense, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be considered theistic religions. The term itself, however, was a coinage of the early Enlightenment and did not acquire a clearly defined meaning until the 18th century. In the background was the conflict with positions of skepticism and…
Date: 2022-11-07


(983 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
Models of religious philosophy are called pantheistic (from Greek pan, “all”;  theós, “god”) when they posit the relationship between God and the world in terms of a unity of all things (Religion, philosophy of). A transcendental creator god (Transcendence/immanence) gives way to an immanent world principle, and the theistic view of God as a personal, sovereign counterpart to the world is abandoned in favor of that of a divine principle that pervades the world and is expressed in it. During the Enlightenm…
Date: 2020-10-06


(908 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
1. DefinitionThe concept of unbelief is defined in its content and semantics by its opposite, the concept of belief or faith. The latter in turn comprises two structural elements. Ever since Augustine, it has been usual to distinguish between the content of faith (Latin  fides, quae creditur) and the act of accepting it ( fides, qua creditur) – in other words, between an element of objective content and an element of personal performance. This opens the possibility of analyzing the concept of unbelief similarly and distinguishing two forms: abstent…
Date: 2022-11-07


(3,029 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
1. DefinitionThe term  redemption has the literal legal meaning of “releasing” an object (Res) or person. Figuratively, it means deliverance from a state of existential distress and destitution to a state of longed-for salvation. Hope for redemption is thus an essential basic element in the formation of religious tradition, although not all religions tie their idea of salvation to prior redemption. There are also notions of national, political, and social redemption that are either associated with religious motifs or can appear as competing theories of salvation.With refere…
Date: 2021-03-15

Natural theology

(1,271 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin
1. BackgroundThe term natural theology goes back to pre-Christian Greek philosophy, where – distinguished critically from mythical theology and political theology – it denoted philosophical knowledge of God appropriate to the divine nature. Early Christian theology adopted this tradition but also went beyond it by referring to the knowledge of God acquired through revelation. But while Augustine, for example, still assumed that the Christian doctrine of God coincides with the true form of natural th…
Date: 2020-04-06


(4,753 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin | Schlinker, Steffen
1. Theological, confessional, and historical aspects 1.1. Preliminary RemarksReflection on the nature of the church (ecclesiology, from Lat. ecclesia, Greek  ekklesía, “assembly”) was an element of Christian theology from the very outset. Already the early church but especially the Middle Ages witnesssed debates over the relationship between spiritual and secular authority as well as the priority of popes and councils. Nevertheless it was not until the early modern era that a separate area of dogmatics was developed with the technical name  ecclesiology. The division of th…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,625 words)

Author(s): Scholz, Oliver R. | Laube, Martin
1. DefinitionHermeneutics in the narrow sense means the theory (or art) of interpreting texts, in the broad sense the general theory of understanding and methodology of interpreting meaningful structures of all kinds (symbols, texts, images). Interpretation is a purposeful activity, which is necessary when something is not immediately understood; its primary goal is to arrive at a correct understanding. Hermeneutics attempts to guide this activity systematically and judge its conclusions rational…
Date: 2019-10-14


(7,822 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin | Reichmuth, Stefan | Kummels, Ingrid | Rüther, Kirsten
1. Christianity 1.1. Preliminary noteOne of the unique aspects of Christianity is that from the very outset it developed a theology, and in order to explicate its own faith made use of the conceptual tools of contemporary (i.e. Greek and Roman) philosophy. This interweaving of theological and philosophical thought was constantly reflected quintessentially in the doctrine of God. A series of fundamental tensions pervaded the development of the idea of God even in the early modern period. These includ…
Date: 2019-10-14