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(5,784 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Preul, Reiner | Schweitzer, Friedrich | Leschinsky, Achim
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. History – III. Philosophy – IV. Philosophy of Religion, Dogmatics, Ethics – V. Practical Theology and Education – VI. Social History I. Terminology This article deals with formative education, corresponding to the German term Bildung (cf. Fr. formation). (The related article education deals with the subject area of Erziehung, covering education and training. Bildung or formation may be considered more general, with cultural overtones, while Erziehung places more emphasis on schooling.) ¶ Even in its earliest form, OHG bildunga (“creat…

Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat

(527 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] (baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu; Jan 18, 1689, La Brède – Feb 10, 1755, Paris), prominent political philosopher of the Enlightenment. The publication of his Lettres persanes (1721; ET: Persian Letters, 1722; many later ¶ eds.), a satirical epistolary novel criticizing conditions in France from a fi…

Tocqueville, Alexis de

(287 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] ( Jul 29, 1805, Paris – Apr 16, 1859, Cannes), major French political thinker. He recorded his insights during an extended stay in the United States in a comprehensive series of studies De la démocratie enAmérique (4 vols., 1835/1840; ET: Democracy in America, trans. A. Goldhammer, 2004 [Politics: III, 3]), which immediately made him famous. In them he examines both the Constitution and the institutions of the country as well as the customs, beliefs, and manners of its citizens. The work is more than a description of co…


(266 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg

Natural Law

(5,543 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Herms, Eilert | Hock, Klaus | Link, Christoph
[German Version] I. Philosophy Natural law is the essence of the legal norms that claim to be binding on all human beings, independent of positive laws and conventions. The term goes back to the distinction between nature( phýsis) and law ( nómos; Law/Natural law), put forward by the Sophists of the 5th century bce in order to challenge the traditional positive laws. According to Antiphon, the precepts of such laws are arbitrary, whereas the precepts of nature, which articulate individual benefit, are necessary (DK, frgm. B 44). Plato presents a variant on the Sophist view in the figure of Callicles (

History/Concepts of History

(12,750 words)

Author(s): Rudolph, Kurt | Görg, Manfred | Schlüter, Margarete | Römer, Nils | Cancik, Hubert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ancient Near East and Israel – III. Judaism – IV. Greece and Rome – V. New Testament – VI. Church History – VII. Dogmatics – VIII. Ethics – IX. Philosophy I. Religious Studies History is a major aspect of the study of religion. Apart from its roots in the Enlightenment idea of tolerance, it owes its scholarly development to the historicism of the 19th century. As a result, the expression h…


(3,762 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Leukel, Perry | Otto, Eckart | Wengst, Klaus | Strohm, Christoph | Link, Christian | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies


(4,291 words)

Author(s): Langewiesche, Dieter | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Zenkert, Georg | Gräb, Wilhelm
[German Version] I. History – II. Philosophy – III. Social Sciences and Ethics – IV. Religion I. History 1. General Since the 18th century, European liberalism has fought for a civil society, demanding three kinds of civil rights: (1) equality before the law, guaranteed by the rule of law; (2) equal opportunity for political participation, made possible by the right to vote and free access to the public arena; (3) provision of basic social opportunities. Legal equality was the first of these demands put forward and satisfied, followed by political equality. Whether and …

Burke, Edmund

(131 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] (Jan 1, 1729, Dublin – Jul 9, 1797, Beaconsfield), British politician and publisher, who with effective rhetoric defended the interests of the American colonies. Burke came to prominence as the author of an empiricist-sensualist aesthetics ( A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, 1757). With his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) he became a leading critic of …


(3,097 words)

Author(s): Stroumsa, Guy G. | Casadio, Giovanni | Zenkert, Georg | Dierken, Jörg
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Philosophy – IV. Philosophy of Religion and Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Thomas Hyde seems to have coined the term dualism, which he used in his Historia religionis veterum Persarum (Oxford 1700) to describe the essential theological objectives of Zoroastrianism (Zarathustra/Zoroastrianism). The term comes into Western European languages between the mid-18th and the mid-19th century. It refers to a doctrine that postulates the …

Mill, John Stuart

(420 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] (May 20, 1806, London – May 8, 1873, Avignon), English philosopher, famous as the polymath author of influential works on logic, moral philosophy, economics, and politics. His authoritative study on the methodological principles of scientific research ( A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, 1843) stands in the tradition of English Empiricism, pioneered by D. Hume, which Mill, inspired by A. Comte, developed into an English variant of Positivism. His program represents a critique of Rationalism and pure specula…

Philosophy, Political

(531 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] Political philosophy is a discipline within philosophy that focuses on the ordering of human life in community. Plato provided its crucial initial stimulus, while Aristotle was responsible for laying its systematic and methodological foundations. Political philosophy has its own field of study: human interaction and the constitution of different forms of community. According to Aristotle, it rests on methodological principles that differ from those of theory, for political philoso…


(1,829 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term first appears in controversies about Italian Fascism, but in theoretical discussions it is a…

Marx, Karl

(605 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] (May 5, 1818, Trier – Mar 14, 1883, London), socialist theoretician, co-founder with F. Engels of historical materialism (see also Marxism). In his philosophical thinking Marx was particularly indebted to G.W.F. Hegel and the left-wing Hegelians, from whom, however, he soon distanced himself. Marx found his own perspective above all by thorough investigation of L. Feuerbach's criticism of religion. Against Hegel's interpretation of the Christian religion, Feuerbach held that human…


(1,490 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Sparn, Walter | Stock, Konrad | Dober, Hans Martin
[German Version] I. Philosophy - II. Dogmatics - III. Ethics - IV. Practical Theology I. Philosophy The term “alienation,” made particularly prominent through the influence of Marxist literature, takes its philosophical sense from the work of G.W.F. Hegel. Etymologically, it derives from Lat. alienatio and Gk. ἀλλοτρίωσις/ allotriōsis. Besides …

Optimism and Pessimism

(1,311 words)

Author(s): Gilhus, Ingvild Sœlid | Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Optimism (from Lat. optimus, “best”) and pessimism (from Lat. pessimum, “worst”) are used in the history of religions to characterize attitudes towards the world and this life. Some reli…


(2,620 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] I. Concept – II. History and Theoretical Development – III. Current Situation and Evaluation I. Concept Ever since its first appearance, the concept of Marxism has stood less for a fixed teaching than for a movement within the various socialist groupings. It is accordingly cha…

Natural Condition

(553 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Lohmann, Friedrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy The natural condition is to be understood as a state of pre-political individual freedom…


(15,718 words)

Author(s): Grethlein, Christian | Zenkert, Georg | Harich-Schwarzbauer, Henriette | Fox, Michael V. | Klauck, Hans-Josef | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Philosophy – III. Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. Bible – V. Church History – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology and Pedagogy – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Concept Traditionally, “education” has denoted the intentional interaction of adults with the younger generation in order-usually-to influence them positively; whether it makes sense to speak of education when negative goals are deliberately pursued is disputed. In societies with stable structures, which change very slowly in ways that are not perceptible to the mem…

Comte, Auguste

(434 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] (Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier; Jan 19, 1798, Montpellier – Jul 5, 1857, Paris), French philosopher and sociologist who acted as secretary to C.H. de Saint-Simon and as an examination coach in Paris, and who became known primarily through his public lectures. Comte is the founder of modern sociology, which owes him both its name and its systematic definition, and is considered one of the leading representatives of positivism along …

Community and the Individual

(5,279 words)

Author(s): Williame, Jean-Paul | Görg, Manfred | Popkes, Wiard | Zenkert, Georg | Thomas, Günter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Philosophy – V. Dogmatics – VI. Sociology, Ethics – VII. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies


(2,465 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Herms, Eilert | Seiferlein, Alfred
[German Version] I. Philosophy In philosophical usage, the term power is perhaps more protean than any other. Its spectrum of meanings extends from subtle influence to threat backed by naked violence; it therefore encompasses such diverse phenomena as intellectual and spiritual power, the modern media, the economy, technology, political institutions, and military might. These attributions are arbitrary until the ¶ term is defined more precisely. Power is defined too broadly as possession of technical or technological tools and the ability to employ them…


(494 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Lohmann, Friedrich
[English Version] I. Philosophisch Unter N. ist ein Status vorpolit. individueller Freiheit (: V.) zu verstehen. Der Begriff hat seine Wurzeln in der antiken Philos., kommt aber erst im Kontext des neuzeitlichen polit. Denkens zu einer prominenten Rolle als Interpretament der normativen Grundlagen von Gesellschaft und Staat. Die Kategorie dient insbes. im Zusammenhang des Naturrechts als Mittel, um von den konkreten sozialen Verhältnissen zu abstrahieren und eine Basis für die Beurteilung und Legit…


(251 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[English Version] Tocqueville, Alexis de (29.7.1805 Paris – 16.4.1859 Cannes), bedeutender franz. Staatstheoretiker. Seine während eines ausgedehnten Aufenthalts in den USA gewonnenen Einsichten legte T. nieder in den umfassenden Studien »De la démocratie en Amérique« (4 Bde., 1835/1840 [Politik: III.,3.]), die ihn schlagartig berühmt machten. Er untersucht dort sowohl die Verfassung und die Institutionen des Landes als auch die Sitten, Überzeugungen und Gewohnheiten seiner Bewohner. Das Werk biete…


(1,209 words)

Author(s): Gilhus, Ingvild Sœlid | Zenkert, Georg
[English Version] I. Religionsgeschichtlich O./P. (von lat. optimum, das Beste und pessimum, das Schlechteste) sind in der Religionsgesch. verwendete Termini, um Haltungen gegenüber der Welt und dem Leben zu charakterisieren. Einigen Rel. wie z.B. dem Judentum wird eine positive Sicht des Lebens zugeschrieben, anderen eine pessimistische. Zu letzteren zählen die in Indien vom 7. – 5.Jh. v.Chr. entstandenen Rel. (upaniṣadische Rel. [Upaniṣaden], Jinismus und Buddhismus). Auch dem Neuplatonismus un…


(1,528 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[English Version] I. Philosophisch Der Begriff taucht erstmals auf in den Auseinandersetzungen um den ital. Faschismus, wird aber in der Theoriebildung auch auf den Bolschewismus (Kommunismus [und Bolschewismus]) bezogen (s.u. II.). Mit der Machtergreifung der Nationalsozialisten (Nationalsozialismus) rückt er in das Zentrum politiktheoretischer Aufmerksamkeit. Die Konjunktur des Begriffes verdankt sich der Erfahrung, daß die traditionellen Kategorien der Tyrannis und der Despotie die im 20.Jh. auf…

Philosophie, politische

(513 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[English Version] . Der Begriff der polit. Philos. bez. eine Disziplin der Philos., die das geordnete menschliche Zusammenleben thematisiert. Ihren entscheidenden Anstoß erhielt sie von Plato, während Aristoteles die syst. und methodische Grundlegung zu verdanken ist. Polit. Philos. bezieht sich auf ein eigenes Sachgebiet: das menschliche Handeln und die Verfassung der unterschiedlichen Gemeinschaften. Sie beruht nach Aristoteles auf methodischen Prinzipien, die von denen der Theorie verschieden s…


(4,848 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Herms, Eilert | Hock, Klaus | Link, Christoph
[English Version] I. Philosophisch Das N. gilt als Inbegriff derjenigen Rechtsnormen, die unabhängig von positiven Gesetzen und Konventionen für alle Menschen Verbindlichkeit beanspruchen. Der Ursprung des N. liegt in der Unterscheidung von Natur (phy´sis) und Gesetz (no´mos; Gesetz/Naturgesetz), die von der Sophistik des 5.Jh. v.Chr. veranschlagt wird in der Absicht, die tradierten positiven Gesetze in Frage zu stellen. Nach Antiphon sind die Gebote der Gesetze willkürlich, die der Natur dagegen, …
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