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IMMANENCE—IMMERMANN

which could be defined and that the time for a definition was opportune. On the 8th of December 1854 in a great assembly of bishops, in the basilica of St Peter’s at Rome, he promulgated the Bull Ineffabilis Deus, in which the history of the doctrine is summarily traced, and which contains the definition as given above.

The festival of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, as distinct from her Nativity, was certainly celebrated in the Greek Church in the 7th century, as we learn from one of the canons of St Andrew of Crete (or of Jerusalem) who died about A.D. 700.[1] There is some evidence that it was kept in Spain in the time of St Ildefonsus of Toledo (d. 667) and in southern Italy before A.D. 1000. In England it was known in the 12th century; a council of the province of Canterbury, in 1328, ascribes its introduction to St Anselm. It spread to France and Germany in the same century. It was extended to the whole church, as stated above, in 1708. It is kept, in the Western Church, on the 8th of December; the Greeks have always kept it one day later.

The chief répertoire of Patristic passages, both on the doctrine and on the festival, is Father Charles Passaglia’s great collection, entitled De immaculato Deiparae semper Virginis conceptu Caroli Passaglia sac. S.J. commentarius (3 vols., Romae, 1854–1855).

A useful statement of the doctrine with numerous references to the Fathers and scholastics is found in Hürter’s Theologia Dogmatica (5th ed.), tom. i. tract. vii. cap. 6, p. 438.

The state of Catholic belief in the middle of the 19th century is well brought out in La Croyance générale el constante de l’Église touchant l’immaculée conception de la bienheureuse Vierge Marie, published in 1855 by Thomas M. J. Gousset (1792–1866), professor of moral theology at the grand seminary of Besançon, and successively archbishop of Besançon and cardinal archbishop of Reims.

For English readers the doctrine, and the history of its definition, is clearly stated by Archbishop Ullathorne in The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (2nd ed., London, 1904). Dr F. G. Lee, in The Sinless Conception of the Mother of God; a Theological Essay (London, 1891) argued that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is a legitimate development of early church teaching.  (✠J. C. H.) 


IMMANENCE (from Lat. in-manere to dwell in, remain), in philosophy and theology a term applied in contradistinction to “transcendence,” to the fact or condition of being entirely within something. Its most important use is for the theological conception of God as existing in and throughout the created world, as opposed, for example, to Deism (q.v.), which conceives Him as separate from and above the universe. This conception has been expressed in a great variety of forms (see Theism, Pantheism). It should be observed that the immanence doctrine need not preclude the belief in the transcendence of God: thus God may be regarded as above the world (transcendent) and at the same time as present in and pervading it (immanent). The immanence doctrine has arisen from two main causes, the one metaphysical, the other religious. Metaphysical speculation on the relation of matter and mind has naturally led to a conviction of an underlying unity of all existence, and so to a metaphysical identification of God and the universe: when this identification proceeds to the length of expressing the universe as merely a mode or form of deity the result is pantheism (cf. the Eleatics): when it regards the deity as simply the sum of the forces of nature (cf. John Toland) the result is naturalism. In either case, but especially in the former, it frequently becomes pure mysticism (q.v.). Religious thinkers are faced by the problem of the Creator and the created, and the necessity for formulating a close relationship between God and man, the Infinite and Perfect with the finite and imperfect. The conception of God as wholly external to man, a purely mechanical theory of the creation, is throughout Christendom regarded as false to the teaching of the New Testament as also to Christian experience. The contrary view has gained ground in some quarters (cf. the so-called “New Theology” of Rev. R. J. Campbell) so far as to postulate a divine element in human beings, so definitely bridging over the gap between finite and infinite which was to some extent admitted by the bulk of early Christian teachers. In support of such a view are adduced not only the metaphysical difficulty of postulating any relationship between the infinite and the purely finite, but also the ethical problems of the nature of human goodness—i.e. how a merely human being could appreciate the nature of or display divine goodness—and the epistemological problem of explaining how finite mind can cognize the infinite. The development of the immanence theory of God has coincided with the deeper recognition of the essentially spiritual nature of deity as contrasted with the older semi-pagan conception found very largely in the Old Testament of God as primarily a mighty ruler, obedience to whom is comparable with that of a subject to an absolute monarch: the idea of the dignity of man in virtue of his immediate relation with God may be traced in great measure to the humanist movement of the 14th and 15th centuries (cf. the Inner Light doctrine of Johann Tauler). In later times the conception of conscience as an inward monitor is symptomatic of the same movement of thought. In pure metaphysics the term “immanence-philosophy” is given to a doctrine held largely by German philosophers (Rehmke, Leclair, Schuppe and others) according to which all reality is reduced to elements immanent in consciousness. This doctrine is derived from Berkeley and Hume on the one hand and from Kantianism on the other, and embodies the principle that nothing can exist for the mind save itself. The natural consequence of this theory is that the individual consciousness alone exists (solipsism): this position is, however, open to the obvious criticism that in some cases individual consciousnesses agree in their content. Schuppe, therefore, postulates a general consciousness (Bewusstsein überhaupt).


IMMANUEL BEN SOLOMON (c. 1265–c. 1330), Hebrew poet, was born in Rome. He was a contemporary and friend of Dante, and his verse shows the influence of the “divine poet.” Immanuel’s early studies included science, mathematics and philosophy; and his commentaries on Proverbs, Psalms, Job and other Biblical books are good examples of the current symbolical methods which Dante so supremely used. Immanuel’s fame chiefly rests on his poems, especially the collection (in the manner of Ḥarizi, q.v.) entitled Mehabberoth, a series of 27 good-natured satires on Jewish life. Religious and secular topics are indiscriminately interwoven, and severe pietists were offended by Immanuel’s erotic style. Most popular is an additional section numbered 28 (often printed by itself) called Hell and Paradise (ha-Tophet veha-Eden). The poet is conducted by a certain Daniel (doubtfully identified with Dante) through the realms of torture and bliss, and Immanuel’s pictures and comments are at once vivid and witty.

See J. Chotzner, Hebrew Humour (Lond., 1905), pp. 82-102.  (I. A.) 


IMMERMANN, KARL LEBERECHT (1796–1840), German dramatist and novelist, was born on the 24th of April 1796 at Magdeburg, the son of a government official. In 1813 he went to study law at Halle, where he remained, after the suppression of the university by Napoleon in the same year, until King Frederick William’s “Summons to my people” on March 17th. He responded with alacrity, but was prevented by illness from taking part in the earlier campaign; he fought, however, in 1815 at Ligny and Waterloo, and marched into Paris with Blücher. At the conclusion of the war he resumed his studies at Halle, and after being Referendar in Magdeburg, was appointed in 1819 Assessor at Münster in Westphalia. Here he made the acquaintance of Elise von Lützow, Countess von Ahlefeldt, wife of the leader of the famous “free corps” (see Lützow). This lady first inspired his pen, and their relationship is reflected in several dramas written about this time. In 1823 Immermann was appointed judge at Magdeburg, and in 1827 was transferred to Düsseldorf as Landgerichtsrat or district judge. Thither the countess, whose marriage had in the meantime been dissolved, followed him, and, though refusing his hand, shared his home until his marriage in 1839 with a grand-daughter of August Hermann Niemeyer (1754–1828), chancellor and rector perpetuus of Halle university. In 1834 Immermann undertook the management of the Düsseldorf theatre, and, although his resources were small, succeeded for two years in raising it

to a high level of excellence. The theatre, however, was insufficiently endowed to allow of him carrying on the work, and

  1. P. G., tom. cxvii. p. 1305.