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Compensation Theory

(461 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann
[German Version] Derived from the Latin compensatio (“balance/balancing”), the term “compensation” found its way into various historical areas of culture and religion as well as into a number of scholarly disciplines (theology, jurisprudence, education, [individual] psychology, ecology, economics, etc.). In the study of religions, “compensation theory” refers to a critical theory of religion according to which religion represents a form of compensation, and notions o…

Universalism and Particularism

(2,366 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Rüterswörden, Udo | Wander, Bernd
[German Version] I. Religious Studies In the classical phenomenology of religion, the universalism/particularism dichotomy denotes the difference between universal religions (Typology of religion) and so-called folk religions (Folk piety); the latter are “limited to a single people,” whereas the former “spread to include many peoples” (Mensching, 286f.) and proclaim a “universal” message, addressed in principle to all humanity. The universal religions are primarily those with founding figures: Buddhi…

Speculation

(1,498 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Schnepf, Robert | Danz, Christian
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The use of the term speculation in religious studies is not divorced from its use in philosophy (see II below) and everyday language, but – especially in the phenomenology of religion – it has been used in a sense specific to religious studies, particularly to denote reflective, rationalizing, and systematizing deliberations regarding a particular religion, such as have arisen in certain historical situations (e.g. cultural upheavals) and various theoretical context…

Structuralism

(1,443 words)

Author(s): Rese, Friederike | Heidermanns, Frank | Figl, Johann
[German Version] I. The Term The term structuralism is a collective name for an intellectual movement that shaped the human sciences and intellectual life in general, especially in France, in the 1950s and 1960s. Inspired by Ferdinand de Saussure’s linguistic studies, proponents of structuralism analyzed the enormous diversity of phenomena perceptible to the senses, seeking to define their common invariant structures. Just as the term structure is derived from Latin structura, a fabric of different but interrelated elements, the structuralists examined phenomena p…

Solidarity

(1,545 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Zürcher, Markus Daniel | Baumgartner, Alois
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The term solidarity (from neo-Lat. solidaritas, derived from solidus, “solid, firm”; Fr. solidarité) denotes the cohesiveness of a “group,” ultimately society, expressed in a generally ethical sense of cohesion. In the history of the term, originally borrowed from legal usage (Wildt, Baumgartner), É. Durkheim (1893) distinguishes the “organic solidarity” of a differentiated modern society from the “mechanical solidarity” of so-called primitive societies, in which the individ…

Materialism

(2,549 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Hüttemann, Andreas | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Philosophy – III. Theology I. History of Religion In one of the earliest usages in the German language, materialism was described as an “error,” i.e. “when a person denies the spiritual substance and refuses to recognize any other than the physical” (J.G. Walch, Philosophisches Lexikon, 1726, quoted from HWP V, 1980, 842). This negative characterization is the result of the philosophical and theological belief in the existence of spiritual entities (God, soul, eternal life) that transcend matter by vir…

Monism

(2,182 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Schütt, Hans-Peter | Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies In the study of religion, the term “monism” denotes concepts that relate the whole of reality to a single principle, and understand diversity and plurality as an all- unity. Monism, from the Gk μόνος/ monos (“alone, single”) is thus also in religious studies to be understood first in opposition to all dualistic concepts (Dualism); this was also the case when this concept was originally defined in the German Enlightenment (C…

Transcendence and Immanence

(3,184 words)

Author(s): Gregersen, Niels Henrik | Figl, Johann | Steinmann, Michael | Danz, Christian
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences The natural sciences themselves do not work with a concept of transcendence as the opposite of nature. They consider “nature” or the “cosmos” (Cosmology) the totality of reality. 1. Nevertheless the natural sciences are based on a finitized epistemology. Kurt Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem of 1931 demonstrated that it is impossible in principle to prove within a formal system both the system’s internal consistency and its completeness. There are also physical limits to what can be know…

Atheism

(4,492 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Dietz, Walter R. | Clayton, John | Henkys, Jürgen | Hoedemaker, Bert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Practical Theology – V. Missiology I. Religious Studies 1. Preliminary Considerations. “Atheism” is a Lati-nized term, current since the end of the 16th century, meaning disbelief in God. It derives from Gk ἄθεός/ átheós (alpha privative), literally “without God.” This historical background with its specifically European connotation must be kept in mind in any …

Revelation

(13,059 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Schwöbel, Christoph | Kaiser, Otto | Bockmuehl, Markus | Werbick, Jürgen | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Concept. The word revelation echoes the Greek ἀποκάλυψις/ apokálypsis (“uncovering”), which was translated into Latin as revelatio and then borrowed into most European languages. The literal meaning already indicates that revelation involves a reality, content, more specifically a message hidden from mortals. Revelation is important: it is relevant religious knowledge necessary for salvation, for finding meaning, and for dealing with everyday life. It is knowledge that peo-¶ ple do not already possess by nature, and their reli…