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(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…


(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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…


(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


(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


(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


(6,418 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Walter, Peter | Nüssel, Friederike | Wasmuth, Jennifer
1. Einleitung 1.1. AllgemeinIn der Nz. gehören S. zur relig. Praxis aller christl. Kirchen, wenngleich mit unterschiedlichem Gewicht und in unterschiedlichem Verständnis. Gemeinsam ist jedoch der Glaube, dass die Feier der S., wie die Verkündigung des Wortes Gottes, zum Wesen der christl. Kirche gehört und dass S., obwohl von Menschen vollzogen, der Verheißung Jesu Christi Raum geben, seiner Gemeinde nicht nur geistig, sondern auch leibhaft erfahrbar gegenwärtig zu sein und sie an dem ewigen Heilsg…
Date: 2020-11-18


(2,763 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike | Walter, Peter | Wasmuth, Jennifer
1. BegriffObwohl D. der Sache nach schon von altkirchlichen Theologen wie Origenes (3. Jh. n. Chr.) betrieben wurde, bürgerte sich der Begriff D. (lat. theologia dogmatica, von griech. dogmatik椃, »die die kirchliche Lehre – dógma – betreffende Lehre«, also »Theologische Lehre«, »Glaubenslehre«) erst in der Theologie des 17. Jh.s ein. In der Frühaufklärung bot J. F. Buddeus in seiner enzyklopädischen Einführung in die Theologie (1727) erstmalig eine Definition [11]: Unter D. sei der Teil der Theologie zu verstehen, welcher die aus der Bibel gewonnenen heilsnotwendigen Glauben…
Date: 2019-11-19


(1,228 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
1. Zur Entwicklung des BegriffsA. bezeichnet das Unternehmen, den Wahrheitsanspruch der christl. Religion gegenüber kritischen Einwänden zu verteidigen. Da zur geschichtlichen Entwicklung des Christentums von Anfang an die Auseinandersetzung mit anderen Religionen gehörte, wurde die Aufgabe der A. schon in urchristl. Zeit als notwendig angesehen (1 Petr 3,15). Dabei galt es nicht nur, für die Legalität der christl. Religion einzutreten, sondern auch die Plausibilität des christl. Glaubens vor dem Forum philosophischen Denkens zu demonstrieren. Dieser …
Date: 2019-11-19


(1,142 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike | Walter, Peter
1. DefinitionÄhnlich wie im antiken, altkirchlichen und scholastischen Sprachgebrauch wird der Begriff D. (griech.; »Lehrsatz«) in der Nz. zur Bezeichnung von Lehren und Schulmeinungen unterschiedlichen Inhalts gebraucht. Dabei können sowohl die allgemein als wahr geltenden kirchlichen Lehren als auch umstrittene philosophische Schulmeinungen und sogar christl. Irrlehren als D. etikettiert werden. Da der Begriff somit durchaus abwertende Bedeutung haben konnte, ist zu verstehen, dass die in der christl. Theologie des lat. Westens als verbindlich angesehenen Gla…
Date: 2019-11-19


(825 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
1. BegriffDer Begriff der H. (lat. ordo salutis) wurde in der evang. Theologie geprägt und in der Folgezeit bis ins 19. Jh. vornehmlich in der evang. Dogmatik verwendet. Er bezeichnet die systematische Zusammenfassung der verschiedenen Aussagen der Bibel über die Wirksamkeit des Heiligen Geistes, durch die der einzelne Mensch zur Teilhabe an dem in Jesus Christus geschenkten Heil geführt wird. In der reformierten (calvinistischen) Tradition begegnet er bereits in der Mitte des 16. Jh.s bei dem schweizer. Reformator Heinrich Bullinger [8. Bd. 4, 225], auf lutherischer Seite …
Date: 2019-11-19
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