Sacramentum Mundi Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies

Edited by: Karl Rahner with Cornelius Ernst and Kevin Smyth.
Advisor for the online edition: Karen Kilby, Durham University

Sacramentum Mundi Online is the online edition of the famous six volume English reference work in Catholic Theology, edited (in 1968-1970) by Karl Rahner, one of the main Catholic theologians of the 20th century. Sacramentum Mundi: An Encyclopedia of Theology was originally published by Herder Verlag, and is now available online at Brill.

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Evangelical Counsels

(2,115 words)

Author(s): René Carpentier
When only the canonical meaning of the term was envisaged, the state of the “counsels” as embraced by religious (can. 487) tended to monopolize any treatment of the evangelical counsels. As a consequence, “seculars”, who live in the world, seemed deliberately to choose the opposite, namely the state of the “precepts”, and the counsels of Christ would have been of little interest for them. But can we say that the religious themselves still recognize the “counsels”, as a higher way containing no e…


(3,011 words)

Author(s): Klaus Hemmerle
1. The problem. Evil counts as one of the most distressing questions in theology. It cannot be thought of in itself; it is evil solely as opposed to the good. Being holy, God is also good, and is so of himself, not through participation in a good outside or prior to himself or greater than he. He is the principle and pure source of good, good absolutely as such. Consequently it is impossible for him to be the author of evil; he cannot will evil, and no shadow of evil falls on him. But in that case…

Evolution - Anthropological

(4,248 words)

Author(s): Paul Overhage
Part of Evolution: 1. Anthropological 2. Theological A. Evolution By evolution or phylogenetic development the biologist understands that long drawnout and mighty process which has led, with the passage of the geological epochs, to ever newer and different organic forms, while at the same time guarding the continuity of the stream of life from one generation to the next. Evolution therefore connotes a change or transformation of organic forms with the passage of time. The problem of the origin of life or of the first cell forms a separate question which will be treated separately (see Life…

Evolution - Theological

(6,246 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
Part of Evolution: 1. Anthropological 2. Theological A. Evolution 1. The unity of the world of mind and matter. Philosophical and theological reflection proceeds on the assumption that the fact of evolution is established by natural science. With the resources of theology or philosophy this can neither be proved nor rejected as impossible. a) Since according to Christian philosophy and theology every created being, because finite, is in a state of becoming and changing and is part of the unity of the world which is directed towards a single goal o…

Existence - Concept of Existence

(2,825 words)

Author(s): Eberhard Simons
Part of Existence: 1. Concept of Existence 2. Philosophy of Existence and Existential Philosophy 3. “The Existential” A. Introduction The word “existence” has become one of the signs of the times in modern thinking, having also given its name to one of the predominant trends of philosophy. It should, however, be noted that even in existentialism the term is understood so differently by such figures as Heidegger, Jaspers, Sartre and Marcel that what they have in common is hard to define briefly, in spite of the general accord of their interes…

Existence - Philosophy of Existence and Existential Philosophy

(2,851 words)

Author(s): Jörg Splett
Part of Existence: 1. Concept of Existence 2. Philosophy of Existence and Existential Philosophy 3. “The Existential” 1. The term. The term “Existentialism” covers various forms of present-day philosophical thinking which all have one thing in common: existence is not the actualization of an essence, as the Scholastics understood existentia, but the actual being of man and, above all, the active realization of man’s existence, which is in each case an individual act. This way of thinking is centred on man as the irreplaceable individual. Hence…

Existence - “The Existential”

(1,820 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
Part of Existence: 1. Concept of Existence 2. Philosophy of Existence and Existential Philosophy 3. “The Existential” A. Philosophical The term “existential” or “existentials” was introduced by M. Heidegger in his Sein und Zeit (1927; E. T.: Being and Time [1962]). Since then, it has been used in many different senses, in Protestant theology, for instance, by Bultmann, Fuchs and Ebeling, in their existential interpretation of the NT, in Catholic theology by K. Rahner, with his concept of the “supernatural existential”. Heidegger hims…


(2,210 words)

Author(s): Karl Lehmann
1. Introduction. Experience is one of the most enigmatic concepts of philosophy. It is ordinarily taken to be a source or special form of our knowledge, deriving from the immediate reception of the given or of the impression, in contrast to discursive thought, mere concepts, authoritatively accepted opinions or historical tradition. When experience presents itself, its presence means a special kind of supreme certitude of irrefutable evidence. Since the human spirit is primarily “in potency”, and…