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Monotheism and Polytheism

(5,621 words)

Author(s): Ahn, Gregor | Müller, Hans-Peter | Hübner, Hans | Gunton, Colin
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament. – III. New Testament – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Monotheistic ideas of God, which take as their starting point the existence and activity of a single God, have long dominated the understanding of religion in historically Christian Europe. The term monotheism itself is a modern coinage, first appearing in 1660 in the work of the English philosopher Henry More. As a contrast ¶ to the term polytheism, which goes back originally to Philo of Alexandria and was rediscovered for the…

Resurrection

(8,280 words)

Author(s): Ahn, Gregor | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Stemberger, Günter | Sellin, Gerhard | Schwöbel, Christoph | Et al.
[German Version] I. Resurrection of the Dead 1. History of religions a. Resurrection as a religious category. The concept of resurrection has been shaped extensively by connotations drawn from the tradition of Christian theology. In this sense, it is understood as a unique event that takes the body and soul of a human being, separated at death, and reunites them for a new, eternal life in the next world. Here it serves to mark a distinction from other notions of a postmortal existence (e.g. reincarnation, metempsyc…

Sleep

(382 words)

Author(s): Ahn, Gregor
[German Version] In all cultures, vital bodily functions have been the object of reflection and usually also of symbolic exaggeration. Nearly all religions have focused on sleep as a fundamental element of human existence. The spectrum of interpretations runs from approaches that view sleep as a medium for contact with beings in a transcendent world (gods, spirits, demons, ancestors or other shades), who give individuals important guidance for their lives or the lives of others to scenarios that i…

Fate

(2,647 words)

Author(s): Ahn, Gregor | Volkmann, Stefan | Roth, Michael
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Religious Studies In every age and culture, people have felt the need to explain inescapable situations and unforeseeable events. From the perspective of cultural anthropology, however, this need does not make fate a clearly definable concept; it is instead a summary term encompassing a multiplicity of culturally divergent ideas to which individual religions often assign very different values. The concept of fat…

Israel and Persia

(753 words)

Author(s): Ahn, Gregor
[German Version] Founded by Cyrus II (550/549–530) in the mid-6th century bce and expanded by his successors Cambyses II (530–522) and Darius I (522/521–486), the Achaemenid-Persian Empire was the first great empire of antiquity to encompass all cultures of the ancient Near East (Iran). The administration of this state, which was divided into different ethnicities, religions, and cultures, was organized along the lines of a hierarchically structured system of authorities headed by regional governors known …

Worldview

(11,663 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Ahn, Gregor | Janowski, Bernd | Furley, David J. | Sellin, Gerhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Philosophy The word Weltbild (“worldview”; more lit. “world picture”) is already found in early medieval German; it is defined as a “conceptual view of the world that emerges from the totality of impressions made by the world and ideas of one’s Weltanschauung” ( DWb 28 [14.1.1], 1955, 1553). Its meaning is thus related to the meaning of Weltanschauung . Philosophy usually treats both together. A Weltbild can be understood as both a premise and a product of a Weltanschauung. W. Dilthey called a Weltbild “the basis of one’s appreciation of life and understanding…