Jiří Hoblík

The Philosophical Concept of Orientation Compared with the History of Religious Orientation in the First Four Centuries of Christianity: An Interdisciplinary Study

This paper was first published in Communio Viattorum 3 (2020), pp. 281-303; we thank the journal for allowing us to re-publish it on our website.



This paper compares the concept of religious orientation, especially as developed by Christianity in the first four centuries of its history, with the concepts of Immanuel Kant, Karl Jaspers and Ingolf U. Dalferth. Despite the uncertain connection between the history of religion and the history of philosophy, some analogies between the religious and philosophical concepts can be demonstrated. The idea of “orientation” in its everyday sense (“to be oriented in something/somewhere”) turns out to be historically secondary to religious orientation as conceived in terms of aiming towards a symbolic reference point, which is represented in Christianity by the sun phenomenon as a symbol of Christ/God. Thus far under-researched in the religious context, Kant’s idea of “orientation in thinking” can be applied in terms of the search for orientation in religious thinking.

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When elaborating the concept of orientation in his essay, What Does it Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking? (1786), Immanuel Kant famously outlined a key topic of philosophical discussion. Over time, his transcendental understanding of the concept of orientation has evolved into the philosophy of orientation, the evolution of which also has been elaborated. [Endnote 1] This study discusses the oft-neglected question of how the evolution of orientation in philosophy is historically and factually linked to orientation in the history of religion. In this regard, the connection between philosophy and the history of religion has hitherto remained somewhat indistinct. However, I seek herein not only to follow the history of thought regarding orientation but rather to explore how to understand, in philosophical terms, the religious concept of orientation. If philosophy itself analyzes the religious concept of orientation, it should not follow it regardless of the relevant religious phenomenon (through the analysis of which I too want to arrive at some aspects of that concept). Therefore, the analysis of sources from the first four centuries of the history of Christianity will serve the interpretation of the specifics of the religious concept that precedes subsequent philosophical discussion. Historical reconstruction enables, as far as possible, a holistic understanding of religious orientation of which, during the period of its development, the various aspects were only gradually manifested. Philosophical discussion, in turn, raises some questions regarding the interpretation of religious sources, while these sources, on the other hand, can be submitted as philosophical claims.

First, then, we shall consider the religious-philosophical tendency of Kant’s essay, moving on to outline an interpretation of the phenomenon of religious orientation and its development in the first four centuries of the history of Christianity, although – as is noteworthy in Kant – the historical connection of philosophy to the history of religion lacks sufficient clarity.

The questions of existential interest and orientation in the world will lead us into analogies found in the philosophy of Karl Jaspers. In addition to this, I shall employ Ingolf Dalferth’s attempt to establish the concept of orientation in the philosophy of religion. I share his belief that orientation should be approached semiotically. Finally, as per Werner Stegmaier’s reflections, I shall demonstrate the ambiguity inherent in the concept of religious orientation.

The history of many archaic and native religions offers numerous examples of orientation as being directed toward a particular point, conceived as a starting point of human situatedness in the world. For early Christianity, this point was identified with the rising sun or as a place on the horizon from which the sun rises and which is the focus of orientation in its proper sense (Greek anatole, “sunrise, dawn” / “east” [cf. Liddell & Scott: “rising above the horizon, of any heavenly body, e.g. the sun”]; Lat. oriens); (Endnote 2) at other times, it was referred to as axis mundi [Endnote 3] or “navel of the world” (omphalos or umbilicus mundi, e.g. in Delphi), [Endnote 4] not infrequently recognized as a sacral place. [Endnote 5] It also covered geographical and cosmological orientation as its modes (see below), but seeing the consequences, a more personalized notion of “life orientation” might have been implied as well. [Endnote 6] The principal concept of orientation leads us to its two secondary meanings: the active “to orient oneself” in the sense of “knowing-how-to” and the passive “to be oriented” in its manifestation as situatedness (in the sense of the condition of behaving according to one’s particular situation). [Endnote 7]

1. Orientation in Thinking

In order to relate the philosophical concept of orientation to its religious counterpart, first we must address the points of contact in Kant’s essay. Kant himself approached the issue of orientation in the context of the pantheism controversy in order to assess the validity of the position of his friend, Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786), in his dispute with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi. He concedes a certain measure of legitimacy to him, but principally, in his treatise, he defends the privilege of reason as the “final touchstone of truth.” [Endnote 8]

In 1785, Mendelssohn responded with his metaphysical treatise, Morning Hours: Lectures on God’s Existence, followed by a thirty-page defense of Lessing’s theism, To Lessing’s Friends, which appeared only after his death. In the former, Mendelssohn attempted to uphold Judaism, [Endnote 9] which in his view, as a cultic law, admits natural religion that can be maintained by “common sense” (der Gemeinsinn) or “healthy reason” (der gesunde Menschenverstand). [Endnote 10] Common sense is supposed to be sufficient for a “conviction consistent with reason,” [Endnote 11] but can be assisted by speculation whenever it gets lost. He then illustrates his thesis with an allegory of a dream based on geographical orientation and with the motive of getting lost on the road to show how “common sense” and “speculation” (die Beschauung, contemplatio) are sometimes at variance with each other, such that they must be aided by “reason” (die Vernunft): “As often as my speculation seems to lead me too far from the paved road of common sense, I stand still and seek to orient myself. I look back at the point from which we started, and I seek to compare the two guideposts I have.” [Endnote 12] We can see that Mendelssohn posits orientation within the framework of thought, setting it as a starting point to overcome confusion.

Another question pertains to the train of thought that enabled Mendelssohn to develop such an important concept. His description of a dream allows for geographical, even cartographical use of the term, as used by French sailors as early as the fifteenth century (alluding probably to the medieval maps, oriented towards the east with reference to the biblical tradition) [Endnote 13] and adopted by the German language in the seventeenth century. [Endnote 14] As it refers to the direction of a particular point (cf. the reflexive s’orienter as assurance of a particular location in the eleventh volume of the French Encyclopédie from 1765), [Endnote 15] it is structurally similar to the meaning of religious orientation, although this aspect is not expressly mentioned by Mendelssohn, despite the obvious analogy with the orientation of synagogues. It is his earlier reflections on focusing attention that paved the way to his introduction of the concept of orientation in philosophy. [Endnote 16] In terms of the history of thought, the philosophical concept of orientation is also only indirectly related to the history of religious orientation.

According to Kant, the confusing term, “human reason”, should be replaced by “rational belief” (der Vernunftglaube), based exclusively on the data of pure reason and amounting to “holding-something-for-true” (das Fürwahrhalten, cf. KrV, A 820–831/B 848–859), although this is objectively inadequate. The proper ground of this rational belief is the reason’s felt need, which makes orientation in speculative thinking possible (for the concept of feeling, cf. KrV, A 15/B 28, 29).

This is where Kant touches upon the classical question that was central to the pantheism controversy, namely that of faith and reason, including the noetic question of evidence for the “supersensible.” [Endnote 17] There is a need of reason for a satisfactory ground for the existence of everything which is limited, without which one cannot speak of the expediency and order of things in the world. [Endnote 18] This need may be not only theoretical but also practical, the latter being more important as it is unconditional. From a practical point of view, reason prescribes moral laws which lead to the idea of the highest good. [Endnote 19] Still, because of the idea of the “highest dependent good,” it needs to assume the “highest independent good” to provide the concept of the highest good with objective reality (cf. “highest good” and especially God as the “highest original good” in KrV, A 813–815/B 841–843; as an “ideal” in A 810–811/ B 839–840; cf. also KpV, A 198 n; 226). This is where the need to think the “supersensible” is fulfilled. Essentially, orientation means being able to relate to the unfathomable, as posited in Kant’s definition of orientation: “Thus to orient oneself in thinking in general means: when objective principles of reason are insufficient for holding something true, to determine the matter according to a subjective principle. [Endnote 20] Kant discusses the notion of orientation as such in the opening paragraphs of his treatise, dividing it into three levels: geographical, mathematical and logical. He understands the third as an orientation in thinking, i.e. orientation in a broad sense. [Endnote 21] The “mathematical” orientation is orientation in space and does not play any significant role in the treatise.

The first-level orientation is never discussed again, yet importantly, Kant presents it as the orientation of a human being in their bodily dimension, without any mention of perception (as later elaborated by Ernst Cassirer). [Endnote 22] As Kant points out, this reflects the proper meaning of orientation; he calls it “geographical orientation,” although here philosophy falls short of etymology: “In the proper meaning of the word, to orient oneself means to use a given direction (when we divide the horizon into four sections) in order to find the other directions – literally, to find the sunrise.” [Endnote 23] The upright attitude of a person and their feeling of the difference between the right and left hand is also important, making the body a means of orientation (although Kant speaks of a “subject,” not a “body”). [Endnote 24] There is also a reference to sunrise, but it remains unexplained why it should be the midday sun (and not the rising sun, as might be expected based on the history of religion) that is decisive in determining the cardinal points. [Endnote 25]

In terms of both thinking and feeling, Kant specifies the location of orientation within the subject. However, in view of its content, reason’s feeling is not sufficient to distinguish the cardinal points. As Simone Dietz and her collaborators put it: “Orientation in thinking (…) describes our need for the situatedness in the world that must be intelligible and empirical at the same time.” [Endnote 26] The connection of these two aspects is to be demonstrated on the basis of a critical study of selected documents from the history of early Christianity.

 2. Orientation in the first four centuries of Christianity

Another issue to be discussed is the initial referential point of orientation and the related existential interest of a human being in such early Christian history. This interest may be summed up in the classical questions: Who am I? Where are we going? What shall I do? Where is fulfillment to be found?

The notion of existential interest is derived from Karl Jaspers’ reflections on the “world as a phenomenon,” i.e. not just the world in which we orient ourselves, but also “the place where an ‘Existenz’ [Endnote 27] related to the transcendence chooses whether to be or not to be.” [Endnote 28]

In historical sources we find many long-studied [Endnote 29] documents concerning orientation in the original sense of the word: “focus towards the sunrise,” or “focus towards the east.” Here, the use of the word closely corresponds to its etymological meaning. The sources illustrate the orientation of prayer, especially in the baptismal liturgy (see below), and also the orientation of burials. [Endnote 30] Originally, the notion of orientation was conceived in terms of space, as we have also seen even in Kant; yet here no fixed spatial point was imagined, but a solar phenomenon with its reference to the horizon in the morning. Given the ritual application, and because the focus of orientation derived its importance from the figure of the savior Jesus Christ for early Christianity, we can talk about soteriological-ritual orientation.

If understood semiotically, the phenomenon of the rising sun was perceived as a “sign”, [Endnote 31] i.e. an “object” related to Christ as an “interpretant” who (or whose name) was also a “representamen” related to God in his presence and activity. This ultimate “sign”, playing the role of the orientation point, was also interpreted as based on Scripture and Christian doctrine as the primary active agent, possibly associated with sunshine (see below). Inter-relation was thus also a part of the relationship between the human subject and its reference point.

The meaning of the sun in early Christianity can be described as symbolization, i.e. as an understanding of a perceived phenomenon in its dual meaning, i.e. explicit and hidden, [Endnote 32] and the expression of this understanding. [Endnote 33] In the language of Peirce’s semiotics we can speak of symbols in terms of their relationship to the “object” with regard to the “interpretant,” [Endnote 34] because it is the symbolizing person who aims their sight towards the “representamen” of the invisible object – Christ or God. The orientation of prayer as symbolization is explained by St Augustine of Hippo: “…when we stand at prayer, we turn to the east, whence the heaven rises: not as if God were dwelling there, having abandoned the other parts of the world; for he is omnipresent, not inhabiting a particular place in space, but by the power of his majesty, in order that the mind may be admonished to turn to a more excellent nature, that is to God” (De sermone Domini in monte libros duos II, 5:18).

The rising sun conveys an implicit meaning of the reference point of spatial and geographical orientation (with a temporal aspect). It was presumably a part of the common currency, instrumental in the later development of oriented maps (see above). Christianity thus made its own religious-cultural specification and development of the aim at an initial reference point for the human situatedness in the world, linking it with a motivating existential interest.

This interest, however, was set in a very broad perspective, because the symbolically understood sun at the same time involved reference to the origin of a person (creation) and the goal of their life (resurrection), so it was characterized both by the utmost retrospectivity and prospectivity. The main emphasis, however, lay on the latter as corresponding to eschatology, transcending and overcoming the world in anticipation of future salvation that Christ was to embody at his second coming. [Endnote 35] Thus, the perspective of orientation ranged from creation to the end of the world, and within this range humans were situated with their vital and existential interests.

The concept of Christian religious orientation [Endnote 36] was prefigured in Old Testament solar symbolism, originally associated mainly with the radiance of divine law and justice [Endnote 37] that was supposed to bring and guarantee earthly welfare. However, later expectations of the Messiah are significantly different from God’s behavior in Israel’s history. In Judaism, the main point of reference was the Jerusalem temple, towards which prayers were usually directed (as early as 1 Kings 8:44,48), even after its demolition in 70 CE [Endnote 38] (although in early Judaism and Rabbinism, prayer was sometimes directed towards the east). [Endnote 39] An important difference between Judaism and Christianity is that the latter had no homeland after it separated from Judaism in the second century and gradually diverged from the traditional Jewish orientation of prayer towards Jerusalem. [Endnote 40] Yet sunrise understood in a Christian way as an initial “point of orientation” had the advantage of universality, being largely independent of the geographical locality from which it could be observed, distinguishing it from other ancient religions that closely connected the divine presence with location. [Endnote 41] The beginnings of the Christian symbolic understanding of the east/dawn as associated with Christ can be found in the New Testament writings, from which we can deduce that the main motivation of Christian oriented prayer was the memory of Christ’s ascension at the Mount of Olives, east of the Temple (Lk 3:50f., Acts 10:12) and the anticipation of his second coming. [Endnote 42]

Of the early Christian thinkers, it was Justin Martyr (c. 100–165) who first conceived of orientation in terms of focusing upon Christ, as can be inferred from his reasoning based on Ps 72:17, Zech 3:8 and 6:12 in LXX, the biblical texts elevating Christ, with Platonic over- tones: “Because his word of truth and wisdom is more shining than the rays of the sun, and descends in the depth of the heart and mind. And therefore the Logos said: ‘His name shall ascend above the sun.’ As Zechariah said: ‘His name is the East’” (Dial. 121:2) (Cf. Christ as helios anatole, “rising sun” in Melito of Sardis [d. 180], Frag. 8b). Here we can also see explicit evidence for the symbolic understanding of the sun enlightening the human race with its reference to the “super-sensible”.

An early piece of indirect evidence of oriented prayer may be found in a letter of Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan from 111, telling him that Christians met on a set day before sunrise (Epistolae X, 96:7). [Endnote 43] However, we do not have any explicit evidence of oriented prayer in Christianity before the late second century. A clear instance is contained in the Martyrium Pauli 5 (written in Asia Minor in the last third of the second century). [Endnote 44] It states that Paul turned to the east just before his death and prayed with his arms raised. Further, we learn about oriented prayer from Tertullian’s apologetic writings Ad nationes I, 13:1 and Apologeticum XVI, 9–10, dating back to 197. Both books rebut the belief that Christians worship the sun and explain that they only pray looking to the east. The orientation of prayer had undoubtedly prevailed before these references but simply cannot be tracked back any further. The persecution of Christians could have been a catalyst for its advancement. [Endnote 45]

Some more important evidence attesting oriented prayer is found in the baptismal ceremony that took place at the beginning of the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. The catechumens renounced Satan as they looked to the west, and then turned to the east to express their con- version and surrender to Christ (cf. Lactantius, Divinae institutiones II, 9; Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses mystagogicae I, 9; Ambrosius, De Mysteriis 7; Hieronymus, In Amos III, 6:14; Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, De ecclesiastica hierarchia II, 2:6; Constitutiones apostolorum VII, 45:2; Pseudo-Justinus, Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos 118). This orientation belonged to the context of the developed Vigil wherein the service continued until the morning in anticipation of the dawn, which had a symbolic character (analogous to the light of the candles at night, cf. Eusebius, Vita Constantini IV, 22:2) and culminated in the Eucharist. [Endnote 46] Despite different explanations and contexts, the catechumens looked to the east to express their existential interest in salvation. On the other hand, there was also a “present-time” side to baptism, namely, personal transformation, “rebirth” (cf. Ambrose, De mysteriis 20).

As ritual orientation gradually gained ground in Christianity, its first interpretations began to appear. In his account of Christian prayer, Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–c. 215) also mentions its orientation, but without any significant reference to its proper context, alluding instead to the analogy of pagan temples as entered from the east. When elaborating on the noetic function of prayer in approaching God (Strom. VII, 7:43), he inserts an analogy of three origins: (1) the dawn, which is a reflection of (2) the day of birth and a prefiguration of the forthcoming (3) day of knowing the truth (VII, 7:43,6–7). This day is the coming of the Savior who, like the sun overwhelming the night (cf. “Sun of resurrection” in Protrepticus IX, 84:2), overcomes ignorance through the gift of making the truth known (suggesting the messianic interpre- tation of Isa 9:1 in 2 Cor 4:6 and Mt 4:16). Thus, Clement understands the sunrise as a symbol of the beginning of knowledge of the truth (for which the soul is destined, cf. Strom. VII, 79:7), so the interpretation of the symbol implies the existential interest inherent in a Christian, which is also their motivation for prayer.

In De Oratione (233 or 234), another early Christian theologian, Origen of Alexandria (c. 184–c. 253) explains the direction of prayer towards sunrise in a manner reminiscent of Jewish Alexandrian exegesis: [Endnote 47] in such prayer, the human soul attains a symbolic image of the emergence of true light (XXXII, 1; with reference to Wis 16:28). However, in his fifth homily on the book of Numbers, which probably dates from his later days in Caesarea (239–242), he admits that the reasons for favoring the eastern direction for prayer are difficult to ascertain, and assumes that it is an old tradition in the Church, based on a practice of Jesus and his apostles (V, 1:4).

Several important pieces of evidence of Christian religious orientation are contained in canons from the fourth century. The Canones Hippolyti (21) document it for Egyptian Christians, the Canones Basilii (97) for Asia Minor. Didascalia Apostolorum (12) illustrate the orien- tation of domestic prayer for Syria with reference to the Greek version of Ps 67:34. The Psalmic call to prayer is associated with the expectation of Christ’s Second Coming. In the Syrian canons, Didascalia Addai (can. 1), there is an instruction to pray towards the east where the Son of Man is to appear (referring to Mt 24:27), as already prescribed by the supposed authors of the canons, the apostles. [Endnote 48] The Constitutiones apostolorum describe how the whole congregation should rise in morning worship and look at the sunrise, praying and remembering the paradise from which the human race was expelled after breaking God’s command (II 57: 14). [Endnote 49] In this context, the Septuagint applies the wording of Ps 67:34, calling for the singing of songs glorifying the mighty God who ascends to heaven from the east, which was seen as a call for oriented prayer. [Endnote 50] (For the motif of return to Paradise, cf. Basil of Caesarea, De Spiritu Sancto 66, [Endnote 51] Cyril of Jerusalem, Pro- catechesis 15; Anonymi in Job commentarius 390; Gregory of Nyssa, De oratione dominica de beatitudinibus, Orat. 5). Church canons represent another stage in the development of Christian orientation, namely that of establishing the ritual application of orientation, which was a commonly used practice of the time. [Endnote 52] The aforementioned documents from the early Christian literature do not provide a separate development of the topic, but are always only elements of a broader context beyond the scope of this deliberation.

Likewise, beyond our remit but worth bearing in mind is the continued importance of Christian religious orientation, as evidenced by rich and extensive developments in Christian architecture that was only just underway in the third and fourth centuries. The extant forms of Christian religious orientation were reflected in a widespread if not general habit of focus towards the east, first documented in the third century for Christian prayer rooms and in the fourth century for churches. [Endnote 53] The original focus of the Christian existence on the transcendent principle through the symbolically understood sun was then transformed in the development of the symbolization of sacral buildings, spaces and associated equipment. [Endnote 54] The orientation of sacral buildings was fixed permanently and visibly, but at the same time the focus on the sunrise became obscured as the core of traditional symbolization, because the orientation of churches was sometimes vague and at some places, e.g. in Rome, they were even oriented towards the west. [Endnote 55] The attention of liturgy participants began to be attracted by the decoration in the apse, specifically in its calotte; later, in western Christianity, the apse became decisive for orientation. [Endnote 56]

2. Three Newer Concepts of Orientation

The aforementioned set of documents attesting the religious concept of orientation provides access to its earlier history, in which we can also find analogies to philosophical concepts. In philosophy, the topic of orientation is recurrent, and even the orientation role/function of philosophy is under discussion. [Endnote 57] With regard to the above documents, one should also note the importance of orientation in the existential interest of humankind. As mentioned, there is a cosmological framework to religious orientation. As an analogy we can consider the philosophical concept of world orientation, which in the twentieth century was brought to prominence by Karl Jaspers (Philosophy 1–3, 1935). [Endnote 58]

Orientation in the world is important to him as one of the modes of transcendence (together with the elucidation of Existenz, and metaphysics) [Endnote 59] in the human search for being. At the same time, world orientation cannot be limited to the exploration of objective reality. Jaspers distinguishes two kinds of world orientation, namely, scientific and philosophical. Philosophical world orientation is impossible without an objective cognition of world orientation because it provides philosophy with its content. (This thesis corresponds to our philosophical interest in the critical examination of evidence from the history of religion.) Philosophical world orientation leads us to realize how everything in the world is limited. It shatters the self-evidence of an objective being and opens the door for a return to one’s true self and to one’s search for being. It allows us to “elucidate existence” in terms of our origin and possibilities, [Endnote 60] so like Christian religious orientation, it includes both retrospectivity and prospectivity. However, transcendence is neither its object nor its direct reference point.

Nevertheless, philosophical world orientation tends to be conscious of the world in terms of transcendence, [Endnote 61] so that everything objective in the world can become a “cipher” of transcendence. [Endnote 62] The outcome is metaphysics, whose object (transcendence as represented by ciphers) [Endnote 63] corresponds to Kant’s concept of the “supersensible.” How- ever, Jaspers’ existential interest must be distinguished from Kant’s noetic interest. There is also an almost explicit reference to religion in the thesis of the experience of a person’s world orientation (“The likeness and model of all world orientation is orientation in space”) [Endnote 64] because Jaspers mentions the ancient nations who thought they had their own center of the world, as well as the historical assumptions that the Earth was the center of the universe. Jaspers interprets the “center” as a “compass” [Endnote 65] when crossing the sphere of empirical observation.

The notion of orientation in the philosophy of religion has only recently been established by I. U. Dalferth, who has advocated “philosophy of religion focused on philosophy of orientation” (die orientierungsphilosophische Religionsphilosophie).” [Endnote 66] He also discusses the analogy with Christian religious orientation, which is the concept of “orientation to God” [Endnote 67] (or “orientation to transcendence,” [Endnote 68] or “to the ultimate presence”) [Endnote 69] as an approach which appears in the religious-philosophical debate. In the context of the philosophy of religion as developed by Dalferth in The Reality of the Possible (2003), “God” is, semiotically speaking, a “sign” for something that cannot be identified with the everyday meaning of the “sign.” This corresponds to the question of the reason for orientation: in asking it, we are already oriented. [Endnote 70] Being oriented is a prerequisite to any question (prior to thinking and acting at all) and so orientation as such cannot be justified. “God” means a universal factor of orientation. In the context of semiotics, it is an “index word” [Endnote 71] because it does not mean anything observable or thematic as, for Peirce, “index” [Endnote 72] is independent of meaning. Therefore, we do not have to solve the dilemma between the divergent meanings that the word “God” receives in religion. Finally, the word “God” needs to be understood in a pragmatic sense, because, for example, through it Christians organize the world in which they live in the context of differences, such as “creator and creation.” [Endnote 73]

According to Dalferth, the word “God” indicates a condition of orientation in all ever-changing and only limited intelligible situations, but which cannot be identified itself. It also outlines a horizon of orientation, without which we cannot speak of anything real (in this context, utilizing Kant’s “orientation in thinking”). [Endnote 74] Yet everything we encounter and consider to be real is at the same time irrevocably contingent. The relationship between the “horizon” and orientation in the world, where everything is limited in this way, displays some analogy with Jaspers’ thinking. [Endnote 75] However, Dalferth does not even mention Jaspers in the work I have cited – although with reference to Kierkegaard, he mentions life orientation as die Subjektwerdung [Endnote 76] taking a programmatically religious-philosophical stance that counts the sign “God” as some sort of a punctuation mark, by which a religious person defines their horizon of orientation with consequences for their “localization”. [Endnote 77]

Based on these considerations, we can understand religiously- philosophically what “being-religiously-oriented-to-God” means: “God is a reliable point of reference for every life, but he is a source of ever new possibilities for every life, which cannot be deduced from the actual history of the realization of a person’s life.” [Endnote 78]

In this definition, it is worth noticing what Dalferth understands by orientation: first, a person’s aiming at the reference point of orientation (in a respectful connection to Kant, it emphasizes the placement of orientation in the thinking individual, its control by the thought itself, and adds to that the need of the orientation in thinking for the life in the world); [Endnote 79] second, being oriented towards “the unavailable otherness”; [Endnote 80] and third, in a way similar to that of Jaspers, a source of possibilities for self-realization, analogous to orientation in the Christian religious sense. In Dalferth, however, there is a tension between his respect for contemporary religious pluralism and the attention paid to the monotheistic concept of God.

In his later reflections, summarized in Transcendence and the Secular World (2018), a collection of reworked articles, the concept of religious orientation enriches the consideration of ”ultimate presence”, which one can understand as what establishes one’s orientation: “Only (…) when ultimate presence reveals itself in the temporal horizon of experience with the aid of a specific other in a way that can be understood – can we orient ourselves by it.” Here there is already a certain inter-relationality, which is set in experience, but is related to an unspecified contingent event. As with Kant, there is a lack of a strong direct interest in the subject of orientation as such; however, Dalferth focuses on the pragmatic consequences of “God-orientation” and religiously conditioned “life orientations.” [Endnote 81]

Finally, let us consider how, in the context of his comprehensive summary and further development of the discussion on orientation, Werner Stegmaier elaborates the notion of “religious orientation” as related to the unobservable but meaningful. [Endnote 82] It is no coincidence that he explicitly refers to Dalferth. His contribution also demonstrates the concept of orientation as a focus on the transcendent, which takes place through signs. I would like to count “confession” as one of these signs. It seems to be for Stegmaier exclusively related to religious conversion, because there is to be a change of orientation towards God instead of orientation towards the world. It should also be noted that in this reorientation there is also a transformation of “orientation in the world,” to which a human being relates as “God’s creation.” If we believe that signs and the manner in which people relate to them need to be interpreted and examined in terms of their meaning, we can note that Stegmaier strives for this by following the idea of orientation as the axis of his own multi-layered religious-theoretical considerations, which he presents with an apparent desire for the reader to orient him/herself in religion, an aspect which belongs to another enquiry.

At the same time, Stegmaier understands religious orientation as a focus of human interests. [Endnote 83] This orientation is sometimes mentioned without connection to orientation in the sense of aiming at the transcendent; in fact, it results from it and depends on it, and thanks to it, people are situated in a religious context. Perhaps because of this close connection, Stegmaier does not strictly differentiate between the two. He understands religious orientation as both a kind of life orientation and a kind of search for the “hold” (Halt) in ever-changing situations. [Endnote 84] Religious orientation is a factor that decisively influences the life of a “religiously oriented” person and, we might say, it is involved in shaping their identity. In contrast to religious orientation as a concept of orientation, religious orientation in this sense is profiled in the secularizing world as opposed to other orientations distanced from religion. [Endnote 85] Stegmaier does not present it as a starting point for world orientation. Nevertheless, it is not only one of the other orientations, when the horizon it lays out transcends all other horizons of orientation and provides the ultimate “hold” for all orientation, namely “hold in the eternally incomprehensible.” [Endnote 86] It should be noted that as such, in Stegmaier’s words, like science and art it provides distance to everyday orientation, opens the way to the existential human interest and also has motivating power. If it is an existential human interest to solve the problems of meaning, religion is concerned with problems of meanings, or as Niklas Luhmann puts it, “as problems of resolving paradoxes”. [Endnote 87] Thus, instead of obscuring them, it pays constant attention to them. It may help us cope with difficult situations and life insecurities, although it does not provide direct solutions. It is “a second-order orientation, an orientation towards trust.” [Endnote 88] This confirms Dalferth’s (and in very different terms, Jaspers’s) conceptions of orientation: that it is a focus on the openness and variability of human situations.


Interpreting the philosophical concept of orientation – set against the evidence for religious orientation in the first four centuries of Christian history, when the concept was commonly used as a symbol without any hint of a definition – we find that philosophical thinking is indirectly linked to the history of religion, including the history of early Christianity. This link is found primarily in the factual connection between the religious concept and the philosophical notion, and not by philosophy showing any awareness of the history of religious orientation.

As has been noted, Kant considers orientation in thinking as focused on the treatment of the “supersensible”. At least in this way it allows a religious-philosophical grasp of the term, despite Kant’s ignorance of the religious concept of orientation and source evidence that he had only a partial idea of the history of orientation. Other thinkers mention the religious concept of orientation, but it is not essential to Jaspers. He sees world orientation as a permanently opened process of acquiring knowledge, questioned by philosophical world orientation and allowing us to turn to ourselves in the search for being. Dalferth recommends adapting a semiotic understanding of the object to which orientation is directed as a sign and to conceive “orientation to God” and its pragmatic consequences. Finally, Stegmaier sees religious orientation as a focus on the unobservable carrier of significance, and at the same time as a kind of search for support in coping with the paradoxes of life.

These sources from the history of religion suggest religious orientation primarily to be a cosmological and geographic focusing on a phenomenon symbolizing the principal and ultimate reference point from which human situatedness in the world is deduced. This human situatedness in the world is a consequence of orientation, which has already been philosophically thematized. Yet philosophy itself can ask whether any kind of explication of “being already oriented” has not long been included in religious orientation in the aforementioned general sense. This would mean that it is anchored in the ability to understand the world, which corresponds to the philosophical “world orientation” and religious-philosophically understood “orientation to God” (analogous to monotheism). However, the conceptual specific here is the ritual setting.

From a religious-historical perspective, we have seen that Christianity, in the first four centuries of its development, specified this orientation as a soteriological-ritual orientation. Its forms have undergone remarkable development, ranging from Christological interpretation of the symbolized rising sun to the development of ritual, especially orientation in prayer as discussed in theological thought, which in turn was itself philosophically influenced. Subsequently, ritual orientation became established in religious orders, exemplifying the widespread practice. The combination of ritual and establishment explains the fourth degree, namely, the application of the orientation of sacral buildings and the participants of the cult, which I have portrayed as a result of the development described.

We must thus refine philosophical speech on the religious concept of “orientation to God” in relation to the sources of the history of religion by interpreting the religiously conceived orientation as a human life and existential focus upon its starting point of reference, which is constituted in early Christianity as a focus on the savior, Christ, and through him to God as a divine counterpart, who is an active agent, the architect of human orientation, the basis of human situatedness in the world and a source of existential motivation to pursue religious goals, all of which can be summarized under the concept of salvation – broadly, as resurrection – but also, for example, in the aforementioned personal renewal or experience of salvation in ritual. Orientation itself gets its symbolic expression in religious practice, in which the individual act, the act of orientation in the original sense of the word, represented and reminded the practitioner of that focus.

On the other hand, as we can see from the comparison of philosophical concepts and concepts from the history of religion, the philosophy overlooks the symbolic aspect of the “orientation to God” and tends also to overlook the concept of God as an active counterpart of mankind, as an active determinant of the human situation in the world, and as a first condition of the “being already oriented”. In his later reflections, Dalferth mentions the idea of a kind of divine activity, but he is similar to other authors in that he defines neither the role of God as the one who determines human orientation, nor the way in which orientation is manifested in historical religion. At least, Dalferth mentions in his later reflections the idea of a kind of divine activity, but as with other authors, we do not find a clear definition of the role of God as the one who determines human orientation nor the way in which orientation is manifested in historical religion. Nevertheless, religious orientation as a focus on the sign representing the starting point of world orientation has its symbolizing form in ritual orientation; in modern times it seems to have transformed into orientation to the supersensible / transcendent / God in philosophical thought and in the philosophy of religion. “To orient oneself” and “to be oriented,” however, are usually discussed in a non-religious context, prompting a need for further investigation into the connection of this type of orientation with religious orientation, especially as a focus for human interests (i.e. religious life orientation).

I have also distinguished the early Christian exegetic and theological concepts of orientation, revealing an orientation in religious thinking. Moreover, these two concepts document orientation not only in thinking itself – as in Kant – but also through and in the objects of thinking, viz. through and in the signs for religious “objects.” In this way, the sources prove the orientation in thought, but Kant was the first to explain what it means to orient oneself in thinking. Further, we can also interpret religious orientation as a motivating factor behind human existential interest. In contrast, non-religious existential questions remain within the intramundane world.

Consequently, the philosophy of orientation is congruent with the study of the history of religion, where it points to a person as an oriented physical and sensual being. Yet while the universally understood philosophical concept of orientation cannot be derived from a universally valid starting point of reference, it can confront thinking that postulates such a reference point and ask how our own orientation is influenced by the history of religious orientation.

This study is a result of research funded by the Czech Science Foundation within the GA ČR 19-02741S project, “The Transmission and Transformation of Ideas in Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity”.


1. Cf. Werner Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), 55–150.

2. For the religious-historical concept of orientation in its proper sense, cf. Thomas Ohm, Die Gebetsgebärden der Völker und das Christentum (Leiden: Brill, 1948), 168–71; Johann Figl, “Ostung: Religionsgeschichtlich,” in Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 7 (Freiburg i. Br.: Herder, 1998), 1211–12.

3. Cf. David A. Leeming, “Axis Mundi”, in Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion 2 (Heidelberg: Springer, 2010), 90.

4. Cf. James S. Ackerman, Distance Points: Essays in Theory and Renaissance Art and Architecture (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991), 411.

5. For the phenomenological concept of the sacred place, esp. the Jerusalem Temple, cf. Harold W. Turner, From Temple to Meeting House: The Phenomenology and Theo- logy of Places of Worship (The Hague, Paris, New York: Mouton Publishers, 1979), 9–11, 15–22, 34–35 and 54–57.

6. Cf. Ingolf U. Dalferth’s thesis: “Orientation is a basic achievement and a basic condi- tion of human life,” Selbstlose Leidenschaften: Christlicher Glaube und menschliche Passionen (Tübingen: Mohr, 2013), 48.

7. Cf. Ernst Wolfgang Orth, “Orientierung über Orientierung: Zur Medialität der Kul- tur als Welt des Menschen,” Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 50:1/2 (1996), 167–82, esp. 173–74. The secondary status is derived only from the history of thinking. Philosophy can also reverse priorities, cf. Werner Stegmaier, What is Orientation?: A Philosophical Investigation (Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter, 2019), 65: “Orientation (…) does not begin with philosophical orientation. A philosophy of orientation inevitably follows everyday orientation…”

8. Immanuel Kant, “What Does it Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking?”, in Immanuel Kant, Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: And Other Writings, eds. Allen Wood and George di Giovanni (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 14.

9. For the genesis of the work, cf. Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 63–77 and note 15.

10. Cf. Moses Mendelssohn, Morning Hours: Lectures on God’s Existence (Dordrecht: Springer, 2011), 59.

11. Cf. Moses Mendelssohn, An die Freunde Lessings: Ein Anhang zu Herrn Jacobis Briefwechsel über die Lehre des Spinoza, Jacobis Spinoza-Büchlein nebst Replik und Duplik (München: Georg Müller, 1912), 215.

12. Mendelssohn, Morning Hours, 59–60. For the connection with the pantheism con- troversy, see Werner Stegmaier, “Tora zur Orientierung: Jüdische Skepsis gegen Religionsphilosophie,” in Markus Enders (ed.), Jahrbuch für Religionsphilosophie 5 (Freiburg i. Br.: Herder, 2006), 23–43, esp. 34–39. For Mendelssohn, cf. also Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 63–77.

13. Cf. Naomi R. Kline, Maps of Medieval Thought: The Hereford Paradigm (Wood- bridge. Boydell Press, 2001), 10–44.

14. Cf. Orth, Orientierung, 170.

15. Cf. Denis Diderot (ed.), Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres 11 (Paris: Le Breton, 1765), 644.

16. Cf. Moses Mendelssohn, “Über die Empfindungen,” in Moses Mendelssohn, Gesam- melte Schriften: Jubiläumsausgabe 1 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1929), 54.

17. Cf. Werner Euler, “Orientierung im Denken: Kants Auflösung des Spinoza-Streits,” in Volker Gerhard, Rolf-Peter Horstmann and Ralph Schumacher (eds.). Kant und die Berliner Aufklärung (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2001), 166–76, esp. 175.

18. Cf. Kant, Orient Oneself, 7

19. For the moral consequences of Kant’s reflections on orientation, cf. Stegmaier, “Tora zur Orientierung,” 42.

20. Kant, Orient Oneself, 6, note.

21.Ibid., 5.

22. Cf. Ernst Cassirer, Philosophie der symbolischen Formen 3: Phänomenologie der Erkenntnis (Darmstadt: WBG, 1997), 236.

23. Kant, Orient Oneself, 4.

24. Kant discusses the distinction between the right and left hand in an earlier treatise, “Von dem ersten Grunde des Unterschiedes der Gegenden im Raume,”in Immanuel Kant, Träume eines Geistersehers/ Der Unterschied der Gegenden im Raume (Ham- burg: Meiner, 1975), 82.

25. Cf. Ohm, Die Gebetsgebärden, 172. In one way or another, Kant seems to refer to astronomy, time measurement, and geographical orientation by gnomon as practiced since antiquity, cf. James Evans, The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 27–31 and 135–141.

26. Simone Dietz at al., “Sich im Denken orientieren: Einleitung,”in Simone Dietz et al. (eds.). Sich im Denken orientieren: Für Herbert Schnädelbach (Stuttgart: Suhrkamp, 1996), 9–18, esp. 9.

27. For the Existenz as the mode of being Karl Jaspers, Philosophy 2 (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1970), 3: “I am Existenz if I do not become an object for myself. In Existenz I know, without being able to see it, that what I call my ‘self’ is independent. The possibility of Existenz is what I live by; it is only in its realization that I am myself.”

28. Cf. Karl Jaspers, Philosophy 1 (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1969), 118.

29. For the summary of earlier research, cf. August Friedrich Gfrörer, Geschichte des Urchristenthums 3: Das Heiligtum und die Wahrheit (Stuttgart: Schweizerbart, 1838), 366–369.

30. For the orientation of burials, cf. Michael Lang, Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2004), 51.

31. Cf. Charles Sanders Peirce, Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce 2: Elements of Logic, eds. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932), 228: “A sign, or representamen, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity.”

32. Cf. Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of the Evil (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1969), 1011.

33. For this understanding of symbolization, cf. Terence Lovat and Robert Crotty, Reconciling Islam, Christianity and Judaism: Islam’s Special Role in Restoring Convivencia (Cham: Springer, 2015), 16–18.

34. Cf. Charles Sanders Peirce, “On a New List of Categories,” in Charles Sanders Peirce, The Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition 2 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1984), 49–58, esp. 54–56.

35. For the longing for Christ, symbolized as light and sun in the east, cf. Josef Jungmann, Liturgie der christlichen Frühzeit bis auf Gregor den Grossen (Freiburg Universitätsverlag, 1967), 122–26.

36. For the summary of Christian sources, cf. Franz Joseph Dölger, Sol Salutis, 3rd ed. (Münster: Aschendorff, 1972), 136–258 and 320–36; Martin Wallraff, Christus verus sol: Sonnenverehrung und Christentum in der Spätantike (München: Aschendorff, 2001), 60–68.

37. Cf. Gen 19:15, 23–24, 32:32; Deut 33:2; Isa 9; 60:1–3; Hos 6:5; Zeph 3:5; Mal 3:20; Ps 19:5–7; 27:1; 84:12; 104:19–22. In the history of Israel, an “integration of solar symbolism” took place, cf. Matthias Köckert, “Wandlungen Gottes im antiken Israel,” Berliner Theologische Zeitschrift 22:2 (2005), 3–36, esp. 23. On the other hand, solar cult was already practiced in pre-Davidic Jerusalem, so it was “nothing new under the sun,” cf. Othmar Keel, Jerusalem and the one God: A Religious History (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2017), 72.

38. For the orientation of synagogues towards Jerusalem in Roman times, cf. Lee Levine, “Synagoge,” in Theologische Realenzyklopädie 32 (Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 2001), 499–558, esp. 504.

39. Cf. Martin Wallraf, “Die Ursprünge der christlichen Gebetsordnung,” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 11:2 (2000), 169–84, esp. 177–78, note 29.

40. Martin Wallraf directly dejects the notion that the orientation towards the Jerusalem Temple / the east was a “confessional issue between Jews and Christians,” considering mutual influences as more probable, cf. ibid., 175–81.

41. Friedrich Heiler, Das Gebet: Eine religionsgeschichtliche und religionspsychologische Untersuchung (München: Ernst Reinhardt, 1969), 136.

42. Cf. Dölger, Sol Salutis, 198–219 (referring to the Odes of Solomon 33:1).

43. For the date of the letter, cf. Jorg Christian Salzmann, Lehren und Ermahnen: Zur Geschichte des christlichen Wortgottesdienstes in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (Tübingen: Mohr, 1994), 133.

44. For the discussion on the date, cf. Anthony Hilhorst, “Tertullian on the Acts of Paul,” in Jan N. Bremmer (ed.). The Apocryphal Acts of Paul (Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1996), 161–62.

45. For more relevant evidence, cf. Wallraf, “Die Ursprünge”, 170–71

46. Cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, “War die altchristliche Ostervigil eine ununterbrochene Feier?,” Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie 74:4 (1952), 464–72, esp. 469.

47. Cf. Lang, Turning, 53. To Origen cf. Dölger, Sol Salutis, 150–72.

48. Cf . Dölger, Sol Salutis, 283.

49. Cf. ibid., 127–28.

50. Cf. Lang, Turning, 59.

51. Cf. Dölger, Sol Salutis, 220–42.

52. For the Greek, Coptic, Ethiopian and Egyptian liturgical texts, cf. Lang, Turning, 53.

53. Cf. Uwe Michael Lang, Conversi ad Dominum: Zu Geschichte und Theologie der christlichen Gebetsrichtung (Freiburg i. Br.: Johannes Verlag, 2003), 33–39; Wallraf, “Die Ursprünge,” 171. For the orientation of churches in this context, cf. Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 49.

54. For the religio-historical meaning of Christian sacral buildings, cf. Friedrich Möbius, “Heliotropismus im Sakralbau: Zu kosmologischen Aspekten der mittelalterlichen Kirchenarchitektur,” in Jürgen Hübner (ed.). Theologie und Kosmologie. Geschichte und Erwartungen für das gegenwärtige Gespräch (Tübingen: Mohr, 2004), 209–21.

55. In this case, entry its allowed to the church through the door, as was usual in domestic worship, so prayer was also held towards the door, cf. Dölger, Sol Salutis, 150–72 and 121.

56. Cf. ibid., 333; Möbius, “Heliotropismus,” 214.

57. Cf. René Torkler, Philosophische Bildung und politische Urteilskraft: Hannah Arendts Kants-Rezeption und ihre didaktische Bedeutung (Freiburg i. Br., München: Karl Alber, 2015), 113.

58. Cf. Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 143. For the history of the concept of “world orientation” cf. ibid., 111–12.

59. Jaspers, Philosophy 1, 76.

60. Cf. ibid., 72.

61. Cf. ibid., 71–72.

62. Cf. Kurt Salamun, Karl Jaspers: Zur Aktualität seines Denkens (München: Beck, 1985), 33.

63. Cf. Jaspers, Philosophy 1, 73.

64. Cf. ibid., 105.

65. For Kant’s concept of rational faith as a “compass by means of which the speculative thinker orients himself in his rational excursions to the field of supersensible objects” cf. Kant, Orient Oneself, 10.

66. Cf. Ingolf U. Dalferth, Die Wirklichkeit des Möglichen: Hermeneutische Religion- sphilosophie (Tübingen: Mohr, 2003), 164.

67. Cf. also Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 528–40.

68. Cf. Ingolf U. Dalferth, Transcendence and the Secular World: Life in Orientation to Ultimate Presence, trans. Jo Bennett, 2 nd ed. (Tübingen: Mohr, 2018), 260.

69. Cf. ibid., 43.

70. Cf. Dalferth, Die Wirklichkeit des Möglichen, 466–468, and all above Jaspers, Phi- losophy 1, 43–44.

71. For the concept of “cipher” in Jaspers’ compared with Dalferth’s “index word,” cf. Christian Kopp, Relative Theozentrik: Gottesvorstellungen und Selbstwerdung des Menschen bei Søren Kierkegaard (Berlin: LIT Verlag Dr. W. Hopf, 2015), 54. For the specifics of Dalferth’s “index word” as compared with Peirce cf. Jan-Olav Henriksen, Religion as Orientation and Transformation: A Maximalist Theory (Tübingen: Mohr, 2017), 33–35.

72. Cf. Charles Sanders Peirce, “Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism,” in Charles Sanders Peirce, Peirce on Signs: Writings on Semiotic by Charles Sanders Peirce, ed. James Hoopes (Chapel Hill, NC, London: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 249–52, esp. 251: “…by being really and in its individual existence connected with the individual object, when I call the sign an Index…” For “index words”, cf. Dalferth, Die Wirklichkeit des Möglichen, 421.

73. Dalferth, Die Wirklichkeit des Möglichen, 270.

74. Cf. ibid., 66: “Philosophical thinking is oriented in thinking by exploring the pos- sibilities of the real, that is, considering the real in the horizon of the possible, and critically evaluating it from different points of view in the light of alternatives.”

75. Cf. Jaspers, Philosophy 1,17: “It seems to me that standards and horizons derived from encompassing transcendence will give us a clearer understanding of the present world situation than would be supposed knowledge, gasping despair or defence, as mere reality of what the intellect can grasp.”

76. Cf. Ingolf U. Dalferth, “Leben angesichts des Unverfügbaren: Die duale Struk- tur religiöser Lebensorientierung,” in Werner Stegmaier (ed.). Orientierung: Philosophische Perspektiven (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 2005), 265.

77. Cf. Dalferth, Die Wirklichkeit des Möglichen, 158.

78. Cf. ibid., 157. For the context, cf. 155–58 and 162.

79. Cf. ibid., 42–43.

80. Ibid., 92.

81. At this point, attention needs to be drawn to the consequences of orientation, which I would assign to the area of the existential interests of humankind, cf. ibid., 266: “Once we catch sight of human life in its relatedness to this ultimate presence as the source of its possibilities, it reveals itself to be more than it had appeared to itself or to others (…) The truth, goodness and wholeness of a life is thus not to be sought within itself, but in that which is granted to it by the ultimate presence of transcendence.” Cf. also 267: “Where there is a concrete form of orientation to transcendence in the immanence of the secular world, life is placed within a new horizon of understanding and acquires a meaning which could not have been deduced from it, and which no one would have prescribed for themselves.”

82. Cf. Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 531.

83. Cf. Stephen W. Krauss and Ralph W. Hood Jr., A New Approach to Religious Orientation: The Commitment-Reflectivity Circumplex (Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi V., 2013), 23–24: “the way an individual is religious.”

84. For the “Hold” cf. Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 226–28.

85. Cf. Krauss and Hood Jr., A New Approach to Religious Orientation, 23–24.

86. Cf. Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 507.

87. Cf. ibid., 531 and Niklas Luhmann, A Systems Theory of Religion (Stanford: Stanford University Press 2013), 59. Cf. The German version in Niklas Luhmann, Die Religion der Gesellschaft (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 2000), 171: “Religion hat (…) mit Sinnproblemen als Paradoxieentfaltungsproblemen zu tun.”

88. Cf. Stegmaier, Philosophie der Orientierung, 536.