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(1,300 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
1. Development of the concept The term “apologetics” denotes the enterprise of defending the truth claim of the Christian religion against critical objections. Since the historical development of Christianity included debate with other religions from the very outset, the task of apologetics was already considered necessary in the New Testament period (1 Pet 3:15). It was important not only to champion the legality of the Christian religion but also to demonstrate the plausibility of the Christian fai…
Date: 2019-10-14

Order of salvation

(888 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
1. DefinitionThe term order of salvation (Latin  ordo salutis) was coined in Protestant theology, and until well into the 19th century it was used primarily in Protestant dogmatics. It denotes the systematic summary of the various statements of the Bible about the activity of the Holy Spirit through which the individual (Humankind, human being) is brought to participate in the salvation given to humanity via Jesus Christ. In the Reformed (Calvinist) tradition, it appears already in the mid-16th century in the works of the Swiss Reformer Heinrich Bullinger [8. Vol. 4, 225]; on t…
Date: 2020-10-06

Ministry (ecclesiastical)

(1,330 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
1. OverviewThe Christian churches understand the teaching office as the commission to proclaim the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ committed to them by the Apostles. Associated with this commission is the task of seeing that the message is not distorted. Therefore the teaching office includes the organized exercise of the commission to proclaim the Gospel and attention to correct teaching. The question of the understanding and appropriate configuration of the teaching office has been behind…
Date: 2020-04-06


(6,920 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Walter, Peter | Nüssel, Friederike | Wasmuth, Jennifer
1. Introduction 1.1. General considerationsIn the early modern period, sacraments were part of the religious practice of all Christian churches, albeit with varying emphases and interpretations. Nevertheless, all believed that the celebration and administration of the sacraments, like the proclamation of the word of God, was central to the Christian church, and that sacraments, though performed by human beings, provided a place where the promise of Jesus Christ to be present with his flock was fulfi…
Date: 2021-08-02

Theological encyclopedia

(1,626 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
1. Overview The emergence of the encyclopedic treatment of theology, one of the signature events in the early modern history of theology, was due in part to the Humanists’ interest in comprehensive, historically grounded education (Bildung), which Protestant and Roman Catholic theologians responded to in confessionally different ways in the 16th century. At the same time, the criticism of the traditional basis and exercise of the church’s theological teaching authority by cha…
Date: 2022-11-07


(1,175 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike | Walter, Peter
1. DefinitionThe term  dogma (Greek: “tenet, proposition”) in early modern usage, as in antiquity, the early church, and scholasticism, was used to denote doctrines and opinions of diverse content. The label can be applied to both church doctrines generally accepted as true and to disputed philosophical opinions, and even to Christian heresies. Since the term could definitely have a pejorative sense, it is understandable that until well into the early modern period the Christian theology of the Lat…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,510 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
1. Definition In Judaism and Christianity, faith denotes the relationship to God as Creator, sustainer, and goal of human life that conforms to human destiny. In both the Jewish and the Christian tradition, the early modern development of the concept of faith depended critically on the philosophical formation of theology in the Middle Ages and the various evolving constellations of piety. (On the understanding of faith in Judaism and the specific differences between the Jewish and Christian concepts, see also Jewish theology).Friederike Nüssel 2. Christianity 2.1. Refor…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,905 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike | Walter, Peter | Wasmuth, Jennifer
1. DefinitionAlthough theologians in the early church like Origen (3rd century CE) engaged  de facto in dogmatics, the term dogmatics itself (Latin  theologica dogmatica, from Greek dogmatikḗ, “teaching regarding the church’s teaching –  dógma – i.e. “theological teaching, doctrine”) did not gain currency until the theology of the 17th century. During the early Enlightenment, J.F. Buddeus was the first to offer a definition, in his encyclopedic introduction to theology (1727) [11]: the term  dogmatics denotes the portion of theology that explains and demonst…
Date: 2019-10-14