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Die Bedeutung und Problematik des Wortes ›sacramentum‹

Zurück zum Heft: Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte. Band 45
DOI: 10.28937/9783787336791_4
EUR 16,90

The military term sacramentum (oath) and the juridical technical term sacramentum (bail) have their origins in the central meaning of sacrare, consecrare, and indifferent functions of the suffix -mentum. Therefore, both meanings are independent of each other. The hypothesis, that the Christian word sacramentum has developed from the meaning of military oath, no longer has any adherents. However, the explanationsof sacramentum arising from mystherion either start from supposed meanings of sacramentum and mystherion or look for matching meanings of these two words in a too late period. The military technical term sacramentum originally indicated a kind of initiation in the army, a meaning of sacramentum that still was understood in the period of classic Latin. It was this aspect of sacramentum, that translators in North Africa used to render the newtestamentary mystherion in the synoptic gospels, in which this Greek word, spoken by Jesus himself, approaches to the meaning initiation. Hence it could be used in other occurrences of mystherion in the New Testament.Translating mystherion/-ia in the gospels as words like mysterium/-ia, sacra, arcana, initia, is incompatible with Christian vocabulary for several reasons. Eventually, sacramentum appears to be the least burdened and the least unfit word to translate this newtestamentary musthvrion.