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Absolutism

(2,649 words)

Author(s): Oskar Köhler
A. Notions and Forms Absolutism means the rule of one individual legitimated solely by descent (hereditary monarchy), his power being essentially indivisible, allowing of no relatively autonomous intermediate authorities, and limited as to competence only by his own judgment. Forms of absolute sovereignty first appeared in the advanced civilizations of antiquity. The main basis of authority was the ruler’s connection with a god: he might be the representative of the god, or his son, or even the real…

Romanticism

(3,256 words)

Author(s): Oskar Köhler
Within the general perspective of this encyclopedia, Romanticism has to be examined to see how it contributes to the relationship between Christian faith and modern civilization, and hence may be more than a historical phenomenon limited to a certain period. 1. Definition. Though the term can be used very vaguely, “Romanticism” may denote fairly precisely a group of German intellectuals born in the 1770’s (F. Schlegel, 1772; Novalis, 1772; Wackenroder, 1773; L. Tieck, 1773; J. Görres, 1776; Clemens Brentano, 1778; Adam Müller, 1779; A.…

World History

(3,543 words)

Author(s): Oskar Köhler
In the Western interpretation of history, doubts were cast on the unity of world history and its possible existence as a knowable object only when the meaning given history by the economy of salvation ceased to be believed. It became a problem even where the biblical revelation was preserved, as soon as universal world history was detached from its links with the history of salvation. A. History of the Problem The process began with humanism and took place on several levels. Humanist history emancipated itself from the biblical chronicle to concentrate on politica…

Occident

(3,295 words)

Author(s): Oskar Köhler
1. The concept and the problem. The Latin terms oriens and occidens, together with septemtrio (north) and meridies (south), refer to the four points of the compass, oriens and occidens being understood, according to the Ptolomaic world-picture, of the rising and setting sun. From the time of Diocletian, East and West were administrative terms for the two parts of the Roman Empire. Sulpicius Severus (d. 420) assigned the oriens to Noah’s eldest son Shem, who was blessed in his seed, and the occidens to Noah’s youngest son Japheth, who shared in the blessing (the accursed Ham is placed mediis)…