Cover image for Dimensions of time : the structures of the time of humans, of the world, and of God
Dimensions of time : the structures of the time of humans, of the world, and of God
Achtner, Wolfgang, 1957-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Dimensionen der Zeit. English
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 196 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


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BD638 .A2513 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Theories of the nature of time offered by anthropology, science, and religion are not only numerous but also very different. This groundbreaking book cuts through the confusion by introducing a provocative new "tripolar" model of time that integrates the human, natural, and religious dimensions of time into a single, harmonious whole.

Author Notes

Wolfgang Achtner is campus minister and part-time lecturer on the dialogue between science and religion at the University of Giessen, Germany
Stefan Kunz is a pastor in Bensheim, Germany
Thomas Walter is professor of information technology at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Originally published in Germany, Dimensions of Time is the result of a dialogue between Protestant ministers and physicists. This study group believed that the helter-skelter pace of life in Western societies is an indication of a serious crisis in our understanding of time. The authors offer a new model for understanding time that is grounded in a tripolar structure--time has exogenous (or objective), endogenous (or subjective), and transcendent (or religious) dimensions, all of which must be integrated in order to reach the truth about time. The authors explore these different dimensions, and come to the conclusion that the command of love proffered by Jesus exemplifies their model. The arguments regarding exogenous and endogenous time are science-based, though some of the philosophers who have investigated the nature of time are mentioned. The presentation regarding modern physics and its understanding of time in various theories is most interesting; on the other hand, the presentation regarding religion and its understanding of time is confined to the Bible, which seems rather limited. This book does not break new ground. ^BSumming Up: Optional. General readers and upper-level undergraduates. R. Severson National College of Naturopathic Medicine

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. viii
Getting in the Moodp. 1
The Tri-polar Structure of Time: Development of a Theoretical Approachp. 6
Endogenous Timep. 8
Exogenous Timep. 9
Transcendent Timep. 10
Synchronism and Asynchronism in the Tri-polar Structure of Timep. 11
The Time of Humans: Time from an Anthropological Viewp. 12
Biological Bases of the Experience of Timep. 12
Biological Rhythmsp. 12
Time and Consciousnessp. 18
The Three Stages of the Human Experience of Timep. 27
Mythic Experience of Timep. 27
The Experience of Rational-Linear Time in the Westp. 73
Mystic Experience of Timep. 102
Summaryp. 108
The Time of the World: the Scientific View of Timep. 110
Newton's View of Timep. 110
Newton's Definitions and Distinctions in Timep. 111
Quantified Timep. 113
For a Supplement: Einstein's Concept of Timep. 114
The Symmetry of Time in the Laws of Physicsp. 114
An Examplep. 116
The Second Law of Thermodynamicsp. 117
Open and Closed Systemsp. 119
Entropy and the Second Lawp. 119
Directional Timep. 120
Directional Time and Causalityp. 120
Time in Quantum Mechanicsp. 121
The Schrodinger Picturep. 122
The Heisenberg Picturep. 122
Application of the Picturesp. 123
Time in the Theory of Relativity and in Cosmologyp. 124
Time in the Special Theory of Relativityp. 124
The General Theory of Relativityp. 126
Cosmological Consequencesp. 127
Deterministic Chaosp. 128
The Definitionp. 128
Chaos and Time: Poincare's Picture Ip. 131
Chaos and Time: Poincare's Picture IIp. 132
Chaos and Time: Delayed Bifurcationsp. 133
More Order or More Chaos? The KAM Theoremp. 134
Outlookp. 135
Summaryp. 136
The Time of God: the Theological View of Timep. 138
Old Testamentp. 138
Introductionp. 138
Exodus: Holy Historyp. 139
The Prophetic Experience of Timep. 140
Wisdomp. 146
Apocalypticismp. 148
New Testamentp. 151
Jesus: The Message of the Approaching Kingdom of Godp. 151
Paul: The Righteousness of God and the Turning Point of Historyp. 154
John: Biblical Mysticismp. 159
Discipleship: Renewal of Time by Self-Denial?p. 162
Summaryp. 165
"The True Time" Systematic Considerationsp. 167
Interlacing the Modes of Time and of Faithp. 167
Time as an Open System and Hopep. 170
The Tri-polar Structure of Time and Lovep. 172
The Experience of a "Fulfilled Time" Outlookp. 173
Bibliographyp. 181
Index of Namesp. 187
Index of Subjectsp. 191