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Light and Darkness

(2,010 words)

Author(s): Tröger, Karl-Wolfgang | Janowski, Bernd | Erlemann, Kurt
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament I. Religious Studies Light and darkness, day and night, the rising and setting of the life-giving sun determine the vital rhythm of nature and human beings; they find expression in feelings, in language and thought, in symbols and myths. Light is on the side of the gods, the sphere of the divine, the spirit. As a religious symbol, light represents life, salvation, and bliss. Darkness is ambiguous: it can ¶ signify death, perdition, and woe, but it can also represent protective concealment (hell, etymologically “place of concealment”). In the cult, (divine) light illuminates darkness. A sudden blaze of light at the climax of cultic mysteries marks a divine epiphany that enlightens the participants, leading to divinization, rebirth, or the like. Light and fire drive away the powers of dark…