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Immanence is a religious and philosophical concept. It is derived from the Latin words, in and manere, the original meaning being "to exist or remain within".

Of this world

In the most common religious usage, it is understood to mean that the divine force, or the divine being, pervades through all things that exist. Such a meaning is common in pantheism, panentheism, and it implies that divinity is present in all things. In this meaning immanence is distinct from transcendence, the latter being understood as the divinity being set apart from or transcending the World.

For the traditional Jewish ( Mystical) understanding, see the article on Tzimtzum.

This understanding is often used in Hinduism to describe the relationship of Brahman or the divine power, to the World. (i.e., monistic theism.)

The French 20th century philosopher Gilles Deleuze used the term immanence to refer to his "empiricist philosophy", which was obliged to create action and results rather than establish transcendentals. His final text was titled Immanence: a life....[1]


Another meaning of immanence is that it is something that is contained within, or remains within the boundaries of a person, of the world, or of the mind.

This meaning is more common within Christian and other monotheist theology, in which the one God is considered to transcend his creation.

Thus, in Dennis Ritchie's foreword to the Lions Book on the Unix computer operating system, he refers to "larger ideas and themes that were immanent in the code but not manifest" (i.e., the concepts transcend his existing code implementation, and are further embodied in successive generations of the implementation code for Unix and its descendants).

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Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13