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Two Natures Doctrine

(1,133 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] The starting point for the emergence of the two natures doctrine in the Early Church was the question how to understand and speak about the incarnation of the Son of God as the basis for human redemption from sin and reconciliation (Reconciliation/Atonement) with God. Against docetic positions (Docetism), it was necessary to emphasize the true humanity of Jesus Christ. At the same time, it was important to insist on the full divinity of Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God, so as to be able to understand him as a revealer of God (Christology: II). Important foundations f…

Loci Method

(393 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] The “loci method” refers to the summarizing description of a specific subject area by means of the general or basic concepts (Gk topoi, Lat. loci) that have become traditionally associated with the respective topic. It is rooted in the classical theory of topics elaborated by dialectics and rhetoric. Drawing on the ancient rhetoricians and the writings of R. Agricola and Erasmus of Rotterdam, Melanchthon, in his Rhetoric (1519), advised students to use the loci method for the clear structuring of the subject matter. In his Loci communes rerum theologicarum (1521), he…

Kähler, Martin

(1,222 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] (Jan 6, 1835, Neuhausen, near Königsberg (Kaliningrad) – Sep 7, 1912, Freudenstadt). Kähler, the son of a Lutheran pastor, grew up in Neuhausen, near Königsberg, and after 1841 in Preussisch Holland (Pasłęk). At his father's request, he began to study law at Königsberg but soon shifted to theology. In 1853 he went to Heidelberg, where R. Rothe awakened his interest in systematics. He continued his studies in Halle with Julius Müller and F. Tholuck, who encouraged and heavily influ…

Semler, Johann Salomo

(808 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] (Dec 18, 1725, Saalfeld – Mar 14, 1791, Halle). I. The son of a Lutheran pastor, Semler began his theological studies in Halle in 1743, passing his master’s examination in 1750. His most important teacher was S.J. Baumgarten, who got him interested in history and introduced him to the Lutheran confessional tradition. After a brief stint teaching at the Coburg Gymnasium, Semler was appointed professor of history and Latin poetry at the University of Altdorf. In 1753 he accepted a call to th…


(2,174 words)

Author(s): Weßler, Heinz Werner | Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Developed during the European Enlightenment and in a Christian context, the concept of theism serves to characterize religious beliefs. While the concept of deism denies any lasting relationship between God and world, and atheism even denies the very existence of God, theism upholds the notion of an interaction between God and the world created by him, between the divine person and the individual human being. This expression, which is not only shaped by a Christi…

Son of God

(2,958 words)

Author(s): Zeller, Dieter | Karrer, Martin | Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Son of God as a title applied to an individual must be distinguished from children of God (Child of God) applied to several individuals or a group (e.g. the Israelites). The New Testament title alludes to Davidic messiahship, based on 2 Sam 7:14a (Messiah: II, 2), where God promises Solomon fatherly oversight and appoints him as his representative on earth. Ps 2:7 (cf. Pss 89:27f.*; 110:1–3) uses that text to assert the worldwide dominion of the king of Israel. The “begetting” a…

Unions, Church

(3,878 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike | Best, Thomas F. | Winter, Jörg
[German Version] I. Germany and Europe The term “church unions” refers to mergers of churches of previously separate confessions. They take place at the institutional level, are based on a common foundation of confession of faith and doctrine (II), and have a common office. In Europe, on the one hand, there are various Eastern churches (Unions with Rome) united with Rome that belong to the Roman Catholic Church and acknowledge the primacy of the pope, but have retained their Orthodox liturgy and spiri…

Unio Mystica

(1,258 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Nüssel, Friederike | Radtke, Bernd
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion The phenomenon of unio mystica within mysticism is of interest to the philosophy of religion because recent analytical approaches in religious studies and the psychology of religion permit a more precise assessment of the philosophical issues involved, and also because it brings to light (so much better) a philosophically discussable connection between religious behavior or experience and rational cognition (Epistemology). Although the term itself is not always u…


(6,151 words)

Author(s): Schubert, Anselm | Knuth, Hans Christian | Grundmann, Christoffer H. | Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] I. Denominations: Lutheran Churches in History – II. Lutheran Churches Today – III. Statistical Survey – IV. Missions – V. Ecumenism I. Denominations: Lutheran Churches in History 1. General Lutheranism denotes that portion of Christianity that traces its historical and theological origin to the Reformation of Martin Luther and uses his works as its theological foundation. The Latin terms Lutherani and Lutheranismus were coined originally by Roman Catholic opponents of the Reformation movement in order to identify it as heretical (firs…