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Marxism

(372 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter
The concept of Marxism gained currency in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and stands for the theoretical variant and the political variant of the socialist movement originating principally with the efforts of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895). The Second Communist International (and after 1917, the Communist Party oriented to the Russian, and later to the Soviet Communist party) understood themselves explicitly as Marxist. Then the non-Marxist variants of the concep…

Work

(1,640 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter
The ‘Tool-Making Animal’ 1. a) Work is human activity with the goal of producing what is necessary or useful for the existence of the individual and his or her kin. For this purpose, the working individual must enter into a conscious process of confrontation with nature, and thus, always alter natural circumstances. The simplest example to use for an explanation of this state of affairs is the production of tools. Thus, one of the most pregnant definitions of the human being is his and her specific…

Economy

(3,492 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter
Satisfying Needs by Exchange 1. Economic trade is an activity proper to human beings. Its premises are, for one, unlimited needs, and for another, limited means of satisfaction of those needs. What sort of needs these are is not important. In terms of economics, no need is ‘obvious.’ The intention of economic exchange is to achieve optimal possible satisfaction of needs by optimal mediate investment. While these abstract definitions are always valid, they generate no uniformity of economic exchange.…

Secularization

(1,404 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter
Concept 1. The term ‘secularization’ can represent either of two distinct concepts, as it denotes either of two distinct events. One of the latter is any process either of ‘making worldly’ or ‘becoming worldly,’ while the other refers to the state appropriation of church property. ‘Secularization’ has a somewhat different meaning in the legal terminology of the Catholic Church, where it has its place in the distinction between ‘order’ priests and ‘secular’ priests or deacons, and denotes the juri…

Capitalism

(1,009 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter
1. The concept of capitalism, fallen from fashion today—the preferred term is market economy—denotes an economic mode whose constitutive condition is the exchange of goods, on a theoretically transparent market, by its formally free economic subjects, with labor being counted as one of these goods. A long-term equilibrium between supply and demand is supposed. Whether the value of these goods is ‘objectively’ determinable—for example, when it is measured by the average amount of work time spent in their prod…

Mormons

(1,203 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta | Kehrer, Günter
Foundational Myth: The Book of Mormon 1. a) The Mormon Church (official name: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), founded on April 6, 1830 in New York State, can be regarded as a part of the Second Great Awakening movement in the United States. Its founder, Joseph Smith (1805–1844), claimed to have been visited for the first time in 1823 by the angel Moroni, who spoke to him of the “Golden Tablets.” These, Smith averred, contained the message of the Bible in all its length and perfection. Smith indicated this message in the Book of Mormon, which, along with the Bible, became the …

Unification Church

(1,339 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta | Kehrer, Günter
The Beginnings 1. The Unification Church, popularly known under the designations ‘Moon Sect,’ or even ‘Moon Movement,’ stands among the new religious movements (→ New Religions). It emerged from elements of → Confucianism and Korean → Protestantism. Its founder is Sun Myung Mun (in English, ‘Moon,’ whence the coarse name for his followers, ‘Moonies’), whose family stems from Chon-gin (North Korea). In 1930, the family converted to Presbyterianism, when Moon was just ten years old. As early as 1936…

Charisma

(713 words)

Author(s): Bernard, Jutta | Kehrer, Günter
1. The concept charisma (Gk., ‘kindness,’ ‘complaisance,’ ‘gift’; from cháris, ‘amiability,’ ‘charm,’ ‘benevolence,’ ‘physical attractiveness’), has undergone a change of meaning in its history. Originally it is to be traced back to the Apostle Paul, who used it in strong dependence on the Christian gifts of ‘grace’ (such as prophetical speech, instruction and admonition, mercy), and on offices or responsibilities. This notion does not address particular qualities of the individual, but the concept that …

Institution

(1,609 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Berger, Wilhelm | Heintel, Peter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Social Sciences – III. Theology I. Religious Studies If an institution is understood as a set of norms that regulate action in a precise manner, then, from the perspective of religious studies, a differentiation can be made between institutions that regulate religious action and normative standards that regulate non-religious action but are religiously justified. However, it always needs to be taken into consideration that this distinction is made by the external …

Labor

(5,199 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Ebach, Jürgen | Brakelmann, Günter | Ruh, Hans | Müller, Severin
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Sociology and Social History – IV. Economics – V. Theology and Social Ethics – VI. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Labor (or work) is an activity peculiar to human beings; it consists of acting purposefully to affect nature, which represents the raw material for labor. Unlike animals, human beings must deliberately transform nature, for example to produce tools, in order to use it to satisfy their needs. The term labor has overtones of both necessity and utility, whereas activities that often demand extraordin…

Community

(5,842 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Rüterswörden, Udo | Banks, Robert J. | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Marquardt, Manfred | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Church Law – IX. Judaism – X. Islam I. History of Religion In the following comments the term community will refer exclusively to a religiously motivated association of people. From the standpoint of the history of religion, the formation of communities is more the exception than the rule. The fact that associations such as tribes, as well, howe…

Office

(9,171 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Rüterswörden, Udo | Burtchaell, James Tunstead | Lips, Hermann von | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Early Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Church History – VI. Systematic Theology – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Law – IX. Missiology I. Religious Studies Over the course of history, the word office has been used for a wide variety of functions. In every case, however, what is peculiar to the term is that it refers to an activity independent of the unique personal characteristics of the officeholder. In the context of religious studies, what first comes to mind is the office…