Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Editors: Erwin Fahlbusch, Jan Milič Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan and Lukas Vischer

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The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online describes modern-day Christian beliefs and communities in the context of 2000 years of apostolic tradition and Christian history. Based on the third, revised edition of the critically acclaimed German work Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon. The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online includes all 5 volumes of the print edition of 1999-2008 which has become a standard reference work for the study of Christianity past and present. Comprehensive, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and socio-cultural picture in which the Christianity finds itself.

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See Trinity

Adult Education

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See Continuing Education


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Author(s): Steinkamp, Hermann
Legally, psychologically, philosophically, and theologically, “adulthood” is the term for those who have reached a stage or time in the development of the subjectivity of the human person. In law adulthood confers such rights as the right to vote or to enter into contracts, but it also exposes one to penalties, since coming of age carries with it responsibility and expectation of a certain type of conduct. Basic here is the psychological premise and observation that in the process of socialization, we become increasingly c…


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See Relief Organizations


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See Church Year


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Author(s): Pöhler, Rolf J. | Reimer, Hans-Diether | Land, Gary
Adventism began as a 19th-century apocalyptic movement (Apocalypticism 3) in the United States. It led directly to the development of the Advent Christian Church, the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, and, the largest of the Adventist denominations, the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA). Other groups influenced by, but less directly connected with, Adventism include the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Worldwide Church of God. 1. History During the first half of the 19th century the United States experienced an evangelical religious revival known as the Second…


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Author(s): Hubbeling, Hubertus G.
1. Concept Traditionally “aesthetics” has been defined as the science of the beautiful. The word comes from the Gk. adjective aisthētikē (from the verb aisthanomai, meaning “perceive, experience”), with which a noun is understood such as technē (art) or epistēmē (knowledge). Aisthētikē epistēmē was thus originally the science of perception. Then the adjective took on the sense of giving direct pleasure in contemplation or imagination—that is, beautiful, charming, and so forth. A. Baumgarten (1714–62) first used the term “aesthetics” to denote the science …


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Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
Afghanistan became a separate kingdom under Aḥmad Shāh Durrāni (ruled 1747–73), who, as an officer of Nāder Shāh of Persia, left the army and was able to build his small Pashtuni state on the subjection of various ethnic groups in northeast Iran and central Asia. About 90 percent of the present-day population are rural peasants or nomads. Approximately 78 percent belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, 20 percent are Shiites, and 1 percent are Ismailis. The rest consist primarily of Hindus, Si…


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Author(s): Dammann, Ernst
1. General Survey 1.1. Population and Economic Potential With an area of 30.4 million sq. km. (11.7 million sq. mi.) and a population estimated to reach 820 million in 2000, Africa is the second largest continent (after Asia) and is less densely populated than either Asia or Europe. The continent may be roughly divided into (1) the Arab and Islamic countries in the northern one-third and (2) the African countries in the other two-thirds. The various countries manifest pronounced variations in density and area. Burundi and Rwanda, for example, each have over 600 people per sq. km., wh…

African Independent Churches

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See Independent Churches

African Theology

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Author(s): Evers, Georg
1.1. In view of the geographic, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of Africa, the idea of a single African theology has been long debated. Setting aside the great theologians of North Africa (Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine), we note that concern for an independent African theology is only a few decades old. Geographically this sphere of an African theology embraces the territory south of the Sahara; in content it embraces the theological work of the Christian churches of Africa. It is not a theology that has arisen within the traditional African religions. 1.2. With J. Mbiti, we may…

Afro-American Cults

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Author(s): Greschat, Hans-Jürgen
1. At the heart of African American cults stands the experience of a superhuman presence. A deity or spirit or God’s Spirit seizes believers, through whom he speaks and acts. This seizure is introduced and ritually directed by rhythms, drums, songs, dances, and offerings, for there is a fear of uncontrolled possession (Dance; Sacrifice 1; Ecstasy). 2. African American cults arose through 350 years of slavery. 2.1. The slaves wanted from their religion what their memory preserved. They used it in their burial rites, hoping for rebirth in Africa. They used it in …


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Author(s): Ritschl, Dietrich
1. Concept No single, comprehensive psychological theory of aggression can encompass the various phenomena covered by the term “aggression.” Three theories or groups of theories are most commonly cited, namely, impulse theory, frustration theory, and learning theories. But even this division is finally imprecise and not very helpful because of the overlapping of some features and many unanswered questions. The theories rest on deductions from questions put to empirically perceptible attitudes of a…


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Author(s): July, Frank Otfried
The word “agnosticism” (related to Gk. agnōsia, “not knowing”) was coined as a technical term by the English scientist T. H. Huxley (1825–95). It denotes an attitude that refuses to recognize knowledge that is not logical or empirical. In particular, agnosticism ¶ denies the claim that God is knowable. In general, it might be called metaphysical abstention. The problem raised by agnosticism was present even before Huxley coined the term. The earlier tradition of skeptical thinking includes positions that since Huxley’s day we might call agnosticism.…


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Author(s): Butts, James R.
“Agrapha” is a term used for sayings of Jesus not recorded in the NT Gospels. The word means “unwritten things” and presupposes that such sayings come from oral tradition that is independent of the canonical writings. 1. The following ancient sources contain agrapha: (1) some textual variants of the NT Bible MSS (e.g., D after Luke 6:5); (2) NT writings outside the Gospels (e.g., Acts 20:35); (3) early apostolic and patristic works up to the third century (e.g., Clement of Alexandria Strom.  1.24.158); (4) papyrus fragments outside the NT (e.g., OxyPap  1224); and (5) later Jew…
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