Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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A principal polar soteriological concept in Max Weber's sociology of religion, contrasting with inner-worldly . Both concepts refer to the locus of salvation orientation: That is, is salvation primarily determined by activities oriented to a world beyond the empirical realm (e.g., heaven), or is salvation primarily determined by deeds done within a this-worldly economy of salvation (e.g., ethical righ-teousness)? Because polar types are ideal-typical, purely inner- or other-worldly systems of action are rare, and the actual deeds performed by a believer may appear identical in some cases. Nevertheless, the meaning system of the believer orients the action differently: Is the action being done to "get into heaven" or "bring the kingdom of heaven on earth"? Medieval Western Christianity and classical Hinduism represent other-worldly forms, whereas prophetic Judaism, Calvinist Protestantism, and much contemporary Pentecostalism are inner-worldly.

William H. Swatos, Jr .

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