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Sociology of Religion

(3,128 words)

Author(s): Laeyendecker, Leo
1. Theme and Methods 1.1. The theme of the sociology of religion is religion as a social phenomenon. General agreement obtains regarding the universal and directly perceptible features of religious social phenomena. Phenomena of this kind are the result of a process of institutionalizing, in the course of which the original religious experience of an individual or group has gradually taken fixed forms in the shape of a myth or a doctrine (Dogma). This doctrine finds ritual expression in the cult (Rite). Regulati…

Weber, Max

(866 words)

Author(s): Laeyendecker, Leo
Max Weber (1864–1920), born on April 21 in Erfurt, was a legal scholar, historian, and sociologist. His father was a lawyer and politician, and early in his life Weber already had a wide array of intellectual and political interests. Through his deeply religious mother he came under the influence of the Puritan tradition, which showed itself in his strong orientation to achievement. By the age of 13 he had already written two historical treatises. He studied law, along with history, economics, a…


(1,939 words)

Author(s): Laeyendecker, Leo
1. Concept The idea of progress implies a specific view and interpretation of history. One can regard history as either cyclic or linear. If it is cyclic, then after a longer or shorter period the historical process returns to its starting point. If it is linear, history goes further and further from its origin. In either case the process may be viewed either positively or negatively. The idea of progress is one of these four possible combinations, namely, the idea of a linear movement toward the good. In the classic definition of J. B. Bury, the idea of progress means that civili…


(3,439 words)

Author(s): Laeyendecker, Leo
1. Concept and Criteria 1.1. There is no generally acknowledged definition of sociology. In the broadest sense the word refers to the science of society, that is, the science of people living together, especially of the constantly changing structures that spring from the common activities of people and that, in themselves, determine people’s activities (Action Theory). This general definition allows varying emphases. Sociology can, for example, be defined either analytically, as the researching of systems and/or structure and culture of a society, with its result…


(4,190 words)

Author(s): Fahlbusch, Erwin | Laeyendecker, Leo
1. Terminology The term “denomination” refers broadly to any class of persons called, or denominated, by the same name. In the context of Christianity, “denomination” may be defined as “an organized Christian church or tradition or religious group or community of believers or aggregate of worship centers or congregations, usually within a specific country, whose component congregations and members are called by the same name in different areas, regarding themselves as an autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches and traditions” ( WCE , 824). In 19…


(3,629 words)

Author(s): Laeyendecker, Leo | Hübner, Jürgen
1. Term The term “worldview” covers many different ways of viewing the world. It is used for views, pictures, images, concepts, and orientations toward the world, as suggested by the various Ger. terms Weltanschauung, Weltansicht, Weltbeschreibung, Weltbild, and Weltorientierung. Note also the Fr. science générale (C. H. Saint-Simon [1760–1825]), esprit positif (A. Comte [1798–1857]), and conscience collective (É. Durkheim [1858–1917]), as well as the Eng. “outlooks on life” (J. Dewey [1859–1952]). 1.1. Model of Interpretation The term “worldview,” or Weltanschauung, serve…


(3,072 words)

Author(s): von Oer, Rudolfine Freiin | Laeyendecker, Leo
1. Church History 1.1. Background According to Roman Catholic canon law, “secularization” means the transfer of persons and things from the sacral sphere to the temporal. While the secularization of individuals (e.g., from those in monastic orders to the status of secular clergy or laymen; Church Law) is known only where Catholic canon law is accepted, “secularization” in the sense of the desacralizing of material goods is widely used for the change from church to lay property. (German distinguishes Säkularisierung, “mental detachment with regard to religion,” from Säkularisation,…