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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(1,628 words)

Author(s): GuÐmundsson, BernharÐur
Overview Iceland is one of the least-populated countries in Europe. It has nevertheless preserved a vigorous culture and a distinct national identity. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (ELCI) is an integral part of this identity and of the way of life of the Icelandic people (Lutheran Churches; Lutheranism). Iceland was an independent republic from 930 until 1262, when civil war and anarchy allowed it to come under the rule of the kings of Norway. In 1380 it passed, with Norway, under the Danish crown. Not until 1944 did Iceland regain its status as a fully independent republic. In …


(1,197 words)

Author(s): Kallis, Anastasios
1. Term and Definition The term “icon” denotes a sacred picture (eikōn) in the Eastern church. On the Orthodox view (Orthodox Church) it points to the suprasensory original, presenting it in realistic symbolism. As distinct from religious pictures in the West, which are aesthetic tools of instruction (“art for the sake of religion”), devotion, and meditation, the icon is a revelation of the transcendent in the immanent (Immanence and Transcendence). The metaphysical ontology of the icon as a manifestation of heavenly realities…


(3,755 words)

Author(s): Caroselli S.S.G., Susanna Bede
In the context of Christian art the term “iconography” (Gk. eikonographia, “description, sketch,” from eikōn, “image,” and graphia, “writing”) has three possible meanings: (1) the production and study of icons, those images of holy figures or narratives devoutly prepared and venerated as possessing a special sanctity through which the faithful may pray to the original of the image; (2) the identification and analysis of images and their meanings; and (3) the repertory of images included and employed in Christi…


(341 words)

Author(s): Kalokyris, Konstantinos D.
The iconostasis, or templon, is a lattice screen of marble or wood that is decorated with icons and that, in Byzantine churches, separates the sanctuary (Altar) from the main body of the church. The two parts are linked by three doors: two side doors and the so-called Beautiful Gate, or Holy Door, in the middle. In the early period of the church this barrier was very low and undecorated. In the Byzantine period small pillars were then added, with an architrave above. Curtains were put between the pi…


(2,711 words)

Author(s): Brown, Robert F.
1. Meanings of “Idealism” Idealism in the philosophical sense embraces a range of positions affirming that ultimate reality consists of mind(s), thought(s), or a domain of nonphysical, mental, or spiritual entities. Some idealists hold that minds and their thoughts are all there is, that physical or phenomenal objects are illusory if taken to be more than just thoughts. Others hold the less extreme view that physical or phenomenal objects actually exist as such, but their existence and natures are u…


(996 words)

Author(s): Browning, Don S.
The question of how the self and the world maintain their identity in the midst of apparent change and flux has been a perennial issue debated throughout the history of Western philosophy. Since the time of Parmenides (ca. 540-after 480 b.c.), the idea of being as an infinite and changeless substance undergirding and guaranteeing the permanence of both the world and the self has been a major answer to the problem of how a sense of identity is sustained in the midst of change and flux. The Parmenidian answer influenced the philosop…


(2,060 words)

Author(s): Heintel, Peter | Berger, Wilhelm
1. Term 1.1. An early history of the concept of ideology might be reconstructed from F. Bacon (1561–1626). The actual word itself, however, goes back to A.-L.-C. Destutt de Tracy (1754–1836), who first used it in a talk in 1796 to refer to the strictly scientific study of ideas. In the tradition of sensationalist epistemology, sense perception was for him the source of perceptions (idées), by an exact analysis of which we may attain to sure knowledge and proper rules for politics, morality, and education. The philosophical school of the Idéologues adopted the principles that De…

Ignatius of Loyola

(965 words)

Author(s): Selge, Kurt-Victor
Iñigo López de Oñaz y Loyola (1491–1556) was the founder and first general of the Society of Jesus (1541–56), the Jesuits. As a Basque nobleman, Ignatius underwent a courtly-knightly education (1506–16), then served from 1518 as an officer of the viceroy of Navarre. On May 20, 1521, his leg was shattered during the French siege of Pamplona, and while recovering at Castle Loyola, he read religious writings (esp. the Vita Christi by Ludolf of Saxony, also biographies of saints) and experienced the initial religious turn of mind that would lead him to his future call…