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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Negative Theology (Western)

(750 words)

Author(s): Davies, Oliver
“If we cannot say what God is, we can at least say what he is not” (Athanasius Ep. mon.  2). As an attempt conceptually to show forth the transcendence (Immanence and Transcendence) of the divine essence by means of human reason, Christian negative theology rests on the premise of God’s absolute unknowability in himself, together with God’s full self-communication to humanity in the incarnation. The resulting unity of concealedness and revelation stands at the heart of Christian negative theology, which seeks to …


(8 words)

See Ezra and Nehemiah, Books of


(996 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Hans G.
1. Biblical Teaching In the biblical tradition the Christian concept of the neighbor finds its chief place in the twofold commandment of love (Matt. 22:35–40; Mark 12:28–34; Luke 10:25–37), which brings together two OT commandments (Deut. 6:4–5 and Lev. 19:18). The concept of the neighbor overlaps and impinges on that of the brother. In OT ethics it includes special protection for aliens. The aim of the so-called second table of the Decalogue is to secure the rights of the neighbor. Prophetic proclamation (Prophet, Prophecy, 1) also …


(4 words)

See Kantianism


(1,047 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter
1. Term Originally coined to denote linguistic and literary innovation, “neology” came to be used from about 1770 as a term of reproach against theologians who were viewed as proposing new doctrines. The orthodox who were critical of the Enlightenment adopted it, but so too did many supporters (e.g., G. E. Lessing). The reference today is to the middle phase of Enlightenment Protestant theology after 1740. Advocates used it of themselves only rarely and with reservations, preferring “Enlightenment.” Nor is the meaning always uniform. It is i…


(4 words)

See Pietism


(4 words)

See Platonism


(785 words)

Author(s): Scheffczyk, Leo
1. Neoscholasticism is a movement in philosophical theology that sought to revive Roman Catholic theology—after the shocks of rationalism, the Enlightenment, and revolution—by the adoption of Scholasticism, particularly as taught by Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225–74; Thomism). Often the term carries a polemical undertone, referring to its Ultramontanism (esp. in F. Michelis) and Jesuitism (Jesuits). Its rise in the 19th century may be understood against the background of the decline of romantic (e.g., the Tübingen school) and idealistic (G. Hermes, A. Günther) attempt…


(4 words)

See Thomism


(796 words)

Author(s): Locke, S.J. John K.
1. General Situation The Kingdom of Nepal, lying along the slopes of the Himalayas, is bordered on the north by China (Tibet) and on the other three sides by India. Altitudes range from a few meters above sea level to the highest point on earth. The variety of elevations gives the country a range of climatic zones from the subtropical jungle to the arctic conditions of the high Himalayas and the arid zone of the Tibetan plateau. The political unit known as modern Nepal has existed since the latter part of the 18th century, when the first king of the present dynasty, star…


(1,289 words)

Author(s): Müller, C. D. G. | Hage, Wolfgang
1. Founding and Expansion The so-called Nestorians, who also called themselves the East Syrians or, from a political standpoint, the Persian church, derived primarily from Christianity on the Tigris. After a treaty with Emperor Jovian (363–64), the final loss to the Romans of the city of Nisibis (modern Nusaybin, Turk.), and the flight of refugees to Edessa, the church continued its development outside the Roman Empire. ¶ There were Christians in the Adiabene by the second century, with an early mission (§3) penetrating southern Mesopotamia and then the Persia…


(7,050 words)

Author(s): Blei, Karel
1. Religious and Social Trends In the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) the Dutch rebelled against their Spanish masters, struggling not just for national independence but also for (Protestant) religious liberty. Because the Reformed were protagonists in that struggle, the Reformed Church became the privileged church of the new state and remained so for over two centuries. Only Reformed could hold official positions. Only they could worship in official church buildings; members of other denominations could worship only in buildings that did not look like churches (the schuilkerken, “h…


(1,067 words)

Author(s): Wahl, Heribert
1. Definitions The term “neurosis” really means nervous sickness, but from the days of S. Freud (1856–1939) it has taken on the sense of psychoneurosis. Disturbances in development (§2) at specific phases, as well as unconscious anxieties and their defense, result in a conflict between the claims of impulse (Libido) and a constitutionally and biographically weakened ego that manifests itself in certain symptoms and character distortions. More importance is now attached to the role of early pathology of the self. In behavior therapy neurosis is seen as the result of emotiona…

New Age

(808 words)

Author(s): Schiwy, Günther
New Age thinking began in the 1960s, especially in the United States in California. A product of the global social and ecological crisis, it involves new thought and action in every sphere of life, from diet to science and politics. It also involves a commensurate new awareness of self and the world. It calls itself holistic and spiritual, though not religious (in contrast to traditional religions like Christianity; Spirituality). It opposes the dualistic, rationalistic, and mechanistic worldvie…

New Apostolic Church

(7 words)

See Apostolic Churches

Newbigin, J. E. Lesslie

(983 words)

Author(s): Wainwright, Geoffrey
By his personal stature and the range of his activities, Lesslie Newbigin (1909–98) stands out as a father of the ecumenical church in the 20th century. Raised an English Presbyterian, he was ordained by the Church of Scotland in 1936 for missionary service in India, where he represented his denomination in the final rounds of negotiation toward the organic union of Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, ¶ and Congregationalists in the Church of South India (1947). Consecrated as one of the first bishops in the CSI, Newbigin presided over the Diocese of Madura…

New Church

(5 words)

See Swedenborgianism

Newman, John Henry

(889 words)

Author(s): Fahlbusch, Erwin
John Henry Newman (1801–90), leading theologian of the Oxford Movement, was initially an Anglican but in midlife joined the Roman Catholic Church, becoming a priest and, in 1879, a cardinal. Newman grew up with five siblings in a bourgeois London family in which he often felt misunderstood and lonely, finding solace in the Bible and other religious and theological works. In the autumn of 1816 he experienced an “inner conversion,” convincing him he was one of the chosen and was destined for a lif…

New Media

(6 words)

See Mass Media

New Religions

(1,333 words)

Author(s): Stentzler, Friedrich
1. The term “new religions” refers to religious movements of fellowship, faith, or salvation, whether of a Christian or a non-Christian slant, that for the most part arose as a result of the global changes and upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Partly on the basis of older religions, partly on that of apparently still-powerful precolonial traditions and tribal religions, these new religions feed on an irrationalism that the reason of the ¶ European Enlightenment had once decisively combated but that the unparalleled process of secularization that it unleashed, …
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