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Revelation

(555 words)

Author(s): Bernhardt, Reinhold
1. The word ‘revelation’ (in Gk., apokalypsis; in Lat., revelatio) is a category of reflection and abstraction, belonging to theological ‘second-order discourse.’ It can denote either the occurrence, or the content of a manifestation of the divine, by which, not infrequently, it performs a function of legitimization. After all, anyone professing to have received a revelation claims to be able, and to have the right, to make authoritative pronouncements concerning God or other things of faith. In this for…

Fanaticism

(309 words)

Author(s): Bernhardt, Reinhold
Most often, ‘fanaticism’ is a pejorative designation applied to others. Especially since the Enlightenment, it has become a polemical stereotyping and defamation of the person thus represented. Too often, the criticism being leveled would suit the person(s) making the criticism as well. Unlike the historical denotations of the term—which is derived from fanum (Lat., ‘sacred precinct’), and was applied in Christian antiquity to any of various enthusiastic, non-Christian forms of religion, and then, in the post-Reformation era, to ‘delusory’ piety—…

Regeneration

(1,388 words)

Author(s): Bernhardt, Reinhold
1. NT 1.1. According to the history-of-religions school, the NT references to regeneration derived from the Hellenistic mystery religions, whose adherents thought that present salvation could be achieved by cultic participation in the death and regeneration of the deity (the myth of the dying god). The NT understanding of regeneration, however, differs from that of the mystery religions. For the latter, regeneration represented a magical, ritual transforming of human nature by the inflowing of div…

Providence

(1,596 words)

Author(s): Bernhardt, Reinhold
1. Source and History of the Idea 1.1. The general human experience of contingency, with reference either to the fate of individuals or to the history of theistic beliefs (Theism), has always come up against the idea of a teleological action that sustains, accompanies, and guides the action of the gracious or judging God. God is viewed as a personal ruler of both individual and universal history. This history is not subject to blind chance, as in Epicureanism (Greek Philosophy 7.1), nor to the laws of nature, as in a mechanistic ¶ worldview following I. Newton’s philosophy of nature (§…

Reincarnation

(779 words)

Author(s): Bernhardt, Reinhold
1. Term The term “reincarnation” refers to doctrines of transmigration, which speak of the passage of the soul after death into another body (i.e., metempsychosis) or the migration of different souls into one body (metensomatosis). Transmigration may take place in the present world or in some future world. ¶ What is reincarnated may be the personal self or the spirit of the ancestors. 2. History of Religion 2.1. From the very beginning of religious history, belief in reincarnation found a place in many religions. It was part of the cult of ancestors among the E…

Religion

(2,567 words)

Author(s): Antes, Peter | Bernhardt, Reinhold
1. Study of Religion 1.1. Term In modern usage the term “religion” is a master concept primarily in the description of ideas, attitudes, and actions vis-à-vis the reality that we accept and call forces or power, spirits or demons, gods or God, the holy or the absolute, or simply transcendence. This reality is supremely important for us, meriting respect and in most cases worship (E. Feil, 29). Defining the term intellectually in this way shows plainly how related it is to time and space. The questions…

Theologia crucis

(1,809 words)

Author(s): Bernhardt, Reinhold | Willis-Watkins, David
1. Term and Development The theologia crucis, or theology of the cross, focuses on the saving significance of the cross of Christ (Salvation 3–7). With its roots in Paul, it has taken a central place in Western devotion and theology ever since the Middle Ages (esp. with Anselm’s satisfaction theory; Soteriology 2.2). The central role of the cross finds expression in church architecture, in Christian art, in music (Theology and Music), and in spirituality. 1.1. Martin Luther (1483–1546; Luther’s Theology) worked out the concept of theologia crucis in three writings in 1518: the He…

God

(13,726 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten | Heintel, Erich | Reichenbach, Bruce R. | Preuss, Horst Dietrich | Roloff, Jürgen | Et al.
1. Ideas of God in the Religions Ideas are phenomena. We may interpret them in broader social and intellectual contexts, but they also speak for themselves in images, words, names, and texts. Even when deity is their content, they can display only themselves, not show whether revelation or merely human imagination underlies them, though this observation does not mean that we can rule out divine revelation. To speak of an idea of God tacitly presupposes horizontal comparison between societies and cultures. We set different ideas of God on different levels, thou…