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(3,885 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta
Transmittal of Religion 1. Religions are complex, culturally conditioned systems of communication and symbol. Their ‘messages’ (of the will of God, of the gods, of the ancestors) and their signs are often accessible to and interpretable by only a few specialists. Religions therefore need to shape and develop certain strategies of transmittal. This means that, even per se, → communication has a medial aspect of conveyance of information, of coordination, and of articulation. Media (whether human or …

Unification Church

(1,339 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta | Kehrer, Günter
The Beginnings 1. The Unification Church, popularly known under the designations ‘Moon Sect,’ or even ‘Moon Movement,’ stands among the new religious movements (→ New Religions). It emerged from elements of → Confucianism and Korean → Protestantism. Its founder is Sun Myung Mun (in English, ‘Moon,’ whence the coarse name for his followers, ‘Moonies’), whose family stems from Chon-gin (North Korea). In 1930, the family converted to Presbyterianism, when Moon was just ten years old. As early as 1936…


(1,016 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta
Elements of Televangelism 1. ‘Tele-church,’ or ‘electronic church,’ designates a North American phenomenon, and denotes the evangelization of believers, with the assistance of the medium of television, by preachers who are usually from the conservative Protestant camp. This programming is the basis of another term, ‘televangelism.’ Various elements are presupposed for this special form of interior missionizing, or, better, ‘awakening.’ The principal elements in question are: • A special religious tradition is supported by a particular conceptualization of salvatio…


(153 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta
The microcosm/macrocosm analogy regards the human being as a ‘little world’ and as an image of the ‘big world’ (the cosmos) that stands in relationship with it or is influenced by it (thus, by way of example, that certain constellations of stars determine human destiny; → Astrology). Various religions, and Weltanschauung traditions, host a conception of these chains of laws: by way of example, in → Buddhism and → Lamaism they are present in the correspondences of the cosmos or stars and the energy channels in the human body; they also prevail i…


(658 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta | Hartmann, Stefan
The question of the meaning of this world's → evil—of natural evil (natural catastrophes), of moral evil, in the sense of war and crime, and of personal suffering (hunger, disease, death)—is encountered by every human being. It seems to have become fundamental for personal meaning. Thus, for some religions, the fact that there is such a thing as ‘bad’ poses problems of no little significance. How is a good and caring God to be reconciled with blind fate, and evil? The believer feels frequently e…


(679 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta
The concept ‘oracle’ (from Lat., oraculum; from orare, ‘to speak’) is strongly marked by the ancient system of prophecy. It designates, as a way of entering into contact and → communication with gods or powers, two meanings: (1) the ‘verdict,’ or answer of the deity to a concrete question, usually posed in a received formulation; and (2) the place where this sentence is pronounced, usually in ‘sacred’ locales, such as springs or glades. Thus, oracles are always the phenomenon of a particular place (as …


(1,203 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta | Kehrer, Günter
Foundational Myth: The Book of Mormon 1. a) The Mormon Church (official name: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), founded on April 6, 1830 in New York State, can be regarded as a part of the Second Great Awakening movement in the United States. Its founder, Joseph Smith (1805–1844), claimed to have been visited for the first time in 1823 by the angel Moroni, who spoke to him of the “Golden Tablets.” These, Smith averred, contained the message of the Bible in all its length and perfection. Smith indicated this message in the Book of Mormon, which, along with the Bible, became the …


(162 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta
The fool, as ‘fool pope’ and ‘boy-bishop’ (or ‘ass-bishop’), was closely connected with Christmas (‘feast of the innocent children’). He was at once a figure of protest and a symbol of Christ, who entered Jerusalem on an ass, and later was crowned as ‘king of fools.’ Thus, in the Middle Ages the fool functioned as antitype of the ruler (the fool-scepter presented a contrast with the ruler's staff); as part of a ‘topsy-turvy world,’ he might ‘tell the truth’ (as still today, in the European carni…


(713 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta | Kehrer, Günter
1. The concept charisma (Gk., ‘kindness,’ ‘complaisance,’ ‘gift’; from cháris, ‘amiability,’ ‘charm,’ ‘benevolence,’ ‘physical attractiveness’), has undergone a change of meaning in its history. Originally it is to be traced back to the Apostle Paul, who used it in strong dependence on the Christian gifts of ‘grace’ (such as prophetical speech, instruction and admonition, mercy), and on offices or responsibilities. This notion does not address particular qualities of the individual, but the concept that …


(2,582 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta
Religion and Television 1. Between appropriation and criticism: The Christian churches have always made use of the various means available to them for the extension of their concerns, in every phase of the development of cultural techniques. They have not failed to participate in the emergence of television as the principal transmitter of social and cultural identity, and vehicle of everyday culture. In Germany, it was only six months after the first experimental radio broadcast of a popular concert on…