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A vow (from Old High German gilubida "vow") is a solemn promise to adhere to a rule or to fulfill a resolution (for example a pilgrimage ). The term is used in a religious context, but also for solemn secular promises such as oaths or oaths , especially in Switzerland and Austria.

Vows as a religious promise

Outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition, there are vows as religious promises in ancient Egypt, in ancient Rome or in Eastern religions.

The Old Testament vow

In the Old Testament, the vow is a "common and naturally practiced type of behavior towards God".

In the 4th book of Moses in the 30th chapter (Num. 30) the unconditional obligation of vows by men and those that are conditioned by them is dealt with, because the consent of the father or the man depends on the validity of vows by women.

The Nazarite vow , which John the Baptist and at times Paul is said to have also taken, is prominent .

Another example of an Old Testament vow is that of Jiftachs , a judge in the Old Testament of the Bible .

Roman Catholic Church

In the Catholic Church , a vow is understood as the well-considered and free promise made to God, which refers to a higher good and whose fulfillment must be possible. Against the criticism of Reformed theology, the Catholic Church holds fast to the value of vows and sees them as an act of "worship", "an act of devotion through which the Christian consecrates himself to God or promises him a good work."

Often it is the promise of a life according to the evangelical counsels . A distinction is made between public vows (e.g. religious vows ), which are accepted by a church official (e.g. the bishop or superior ) on behalf of the church, and private vows. Private vows can be dispensed with for good (“just”) reasons .

The vow in Eastern religions

Vows as profane promises

Swiss law

In Switzerland is as vow the temporal form of a oath or oath designated d. H. a solemn promise without invoking God ; see swearing-in (Switzerland) .

See also


  1. ^ Peter Lippert: Vows. In: Christian Schütz (Ed.): Practical Lexicon of Spirituality. Herder, Freiburg i.Br. u. a. 1992, ISBN 3-451-22614-6 , Sp. 491 (492)
  2. KKK [1] No. 2102
  3. KKK [2] No. 2102
  4. See canons 1192, 1196 and especially 1197 of the CIC . (in Latin) , (in German)


Web links

Wiktionary: Vows  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations