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Dechristianization

(748 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
The term déchristianisation (German  Dechristianisierung) emerged in the late 18th century in the context of religious and political debates on the French Revolution (1789). It came into use there as a slogan denoting the initially spontaneous violence of groups of petite bourgeoisie against the Roman Catholic Church and its clergy, the sacking of church property, and the pillaging of churches, other ecclesiastical buildings, and art treasures (Iconoclasm). Supporters of the Revolution also used th…
Date: 2019-10-14

Disenchantment of the world

(812 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
The term disenchantment, documented from the 18th century, came into the languages of the modern science of culture through Max Weber in particular. In the famous essay, “Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus” (“The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”) the Heidelberg scholar spoke in 1904/05 of the “great religio-historical process of disenchantment of the world,” which had begun in ancient Jewish prophecy and had culminated in the hard, this-worldly asceticism of P…
Date: 2019-10-14

Anticlericalism

(1,049 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
1. Middle Ages and early modern period In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, we already find harsh criticism of the clergy among both the educated classes and the various social groups of the “common people.” On religious grounds, for the sake of the true faith, the “monks” and “priests” were accused of a double moral standard, high-handedness, greed, and concupiscence. The wealth of many monasteries, the relatively comfortable and often luxurious lifestyles of many occupants of benefices , w…
Date: 2019-10-14

Atheism

(2,127 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. Terminology The word atheism (from Greek átheos, “without  God”, “godless”) denotes both a complex variety of interpretations of the world and life-designs shaped by conscious rejection of the existence of one or more gods, transcendent beings, or powers (positive atheism) and a conscious denial of the earthly influence of such gods or powers, while simultaneously recognizing the theoretical possibility of their existence (negative atheism). Terms such as “God,” “creator,” “absolute,” “supreme being…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fundamentalism

(1,342 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. The term The term  fundamentalism is a product of the religious conflicts in North American during the early 20th century. It is relevant to the early modern period because the exploration of late modern religious conflicts can contribute to a better understanding of the religious conflicts, confessional antagonists, and theological controversies over the construction of religious identity typical of Eurpean societies in the early modern period.The term was coined around 1920 in the context of the religio-political conflicts between competing groups with…
Date: 2019-10-14

Autonomy

(2,788 words)

Author(s): Lehmann-Brauns, Sicco | Hofer, Sibylle | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
The term autonomy (from Greek autonomía, “self-determination, independence”) appeared for the first time in German (as Autonomie) in the context of the confessional and constitutional disputes following the Peace of Augsburg (1555) [3]. Its earliest use in English (with reference to states) dates from the 1620s. It arrived at its various semantic levels in the history of philosophy, law, and religion during the early modern period. As a legal term, it initially meant freedom from interference by the authority of the state, esp…
Date: 2019-10-14