Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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

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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Pacific Conference of Churches

(545 words)

Author(s): Tevi, Lorine
1. Origin The Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), which grew out of a widely felt concern for cooperation among Pacific churches, was formally constituted in 1966 at the First Assembly, held at Lifou, Loyalty Islands, of New Caledonia. It describes itself as “a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (point 3 of the constitution). The first interisland gatherings were youth conventions in the late 1950s. I…


(3,597 words)

Author(s): Burkholder, J. R. | Holl, Karl
1. Term and Usage The word “pacifism” came into use around 1900, apparently first in Europe, to describe a generalized attitude of opposition to war. A more restricted sense found in early Christianity designates the absolute refusal to use force against persons (often called nonresistance, from Jesus’ admonition in Matt. 5:39). In contemporary usage, pacifism encompasses a wide range of antiwar and antiviolence views, often including the development of nonviolent strategies for social change. Earlier European use of the term embraced the uncond…


(2,282 words)

Author(s): Forward, Martin
1. Term It is impossible to precisely define “paganism” or its related term “pagan.” The LLat. paganus derives from pagus, “country district.” Pagans, so we may deduce, practiced the religion of the countryside. When town or city dwellers in the late Roman Empire called someone a pagan, they were perhaps dismissively alluding to that person’s beliefs and practices as those of yokels, which sophisticated urbanites had outgrown. Indeed, the terms “paganism” and “pagan” have come to convey entirely pejorative and im…


(2,270 words)

Author(s): Schimmel, Annemarie | Editors, the
Pakistan became an independent state on August 14, 1947. The idea of a Muslim area in the northwest of the subcontinent was first suggested and supported by Muhammad Iqbāl (1877–1938), the poet-philosopher of Indian Muslims, at the annual gathering of the All India Muslim League in Allahabad on December 30, 1930. 1. History Muslims (Islam) came to India in 711 and took over the lower Indus Valley up to Multan (now southern Pakistan). By 800 a second wave came and, from Ghaznī in present-day Afghanistan, set up Muslim rule in northwest India. Ben…


(364 words)

Author(s): Meyendorff, John
Palamism is the theological position associated with the name of Gregory Palamas (ca. 1296–1359), a Byzantine saint and archbishop of Thessalonica, affirming the experience of theōsis (or “deification”) and also a real distinction between the “essence” of God (§6), which remains transcendent, and the “energies,” or grace, through which deification becomes accessible in Christ (Christology 3). Before starting his activities as a theologian, Palamas was a Hesychast monk on Mount Athos. He defended the Hesychasts, who claimed to have obtained the expe…


(8 words)

See History, Auxiliary Sciences to, 3


(2,841 words)

Author(s): Bornemann, Robert
¶ The name “Palestine” is commonly used to designate the ancient land of the Bible, the Holy Land—“from Dan to Beer-sheba.” It is also the common name for the territory of the British mandate taken over by the United Nations in 1948 and held now by the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel (§2), with the Occupied Territories. Originally, however, its boundaries were not so definitely defined, and Palestine was not its name. To gain some perspective about this small, revered, and troubled spot, we consider it in its original, much larger geographic and historical setting. 1. Early an…

Palmer, Phoebe Worrall

(1,012 words)

Author(s): Faupel, D. William
Phoebe Worrall Palmer (1807–74), an author, editor, social activist, evangelist, and lay theologian, was undoubtedly the most influential Methodist woman of the 19th century (Methodism). She is best known for her “Tuesday Meetings,” “altar theology,” and defense of women’s right to preach the gospel. For over a decade she acted as managing editor of the Guide to Holiness, whose circulation at the time of her death rivaled that of the most widely read Methodist periodicals. She wrote 18 books consisting of theology, poetry, and biography. During her ev…


(310 words)

Author(s): Heiser, Lothar
The title panagia (all holy), along with theotokos (God-bearer) and aeiparthenos (ever virgin), is a title of honor for Mary. The Greeks first used it in patristic hymns (Patristics) as synonymous with Mary, and in iconography after the Iconoclastic Controversy it often replaces Mary. The Acathistus hymn (6th cent.) lauds Mary as “the all holy chariot [ ochēma panagion] of the One above the cherubim” (15th stanza). The ascription rests on what the NT says about the virgin motherhood of Mary (Virgin Birth) and the angelic (Angel) saluting of Mary in Luke 1:28 as kecharitōmenē (perf.),…


(1,751 words)

Author(s): McClure, Garry D.
1. Historical and Social Context The first signs of human settlement on the land mass now called Panama (whose indigenous name means “abundance of fish”) are thought to be 10,000 years old. Panama’s modern history began in 1501, when Spaniard Rodrigo de Bastidas sailed along its Caribbean coast. One year later Christopher Columbus visited the same coast. Not until 1513, however, when Vasco Núñez de Balboa hiked across the isthmus and became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean, did the geograp…


(3,230 words)

Author(s): Brierley, Michael W.
1. History of the Term Panentheism—from Gk. pan (all), en (in), and theos (God)—is the doctrine that the cosmos exists within God, who in turn pervades, or is “in,” the cosmos. Panentheism is commonly contrasted with pantheism, in which God is coterminous with, or identified with, and is not more than, the cosmos; and classical theism, in which God is portrayed as separate from the cosmos, either in the sense of not being affected by it or in the sense of being outside the cosmos and present within it only in such discrete instances as, for example…

Pan-Orthodox Conferences

(768 words)

Author(s): Papandreou, Damaskinos
The Orthodox Church is planning a Pan-Orthodox council of its 16 autocephalous and autonomous churches. This “Holy and Great Council,” even in its preparatory stages, is an important historical event because all the preparations themselves involve Pan-Orthodox conferences. After a long process of alienation and isolation, the Orthodox churches, on the initiative of the ecumenical patriarch (in encyclicals of 1902 and 1904), have seen the need to intensify their inter-Orthodox contacts and to stu…


(1,173 words)

Author(s): Hanreich, Herbert
1. Term “Pantheism” (from pan, “all,” and theos, “god”) is a term for the identity of God and the whole of reality. The English deist John Toland (1670–1722) first brought it into philosophical discussion in 1705. It then played a part in philosophical and theological controversies. Two important aspects are the notions that (1) all things are God, the divinizing of the world (panpsychism, acosmism, theopanism), and ¶ (2) God is all things, the secularizing of God (Idealism) and his consequent negation (Materialism; Monism; Naturalism). Panentheism, which never …

Papal Blessing

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See Blessing 7


(6 words)

See Pope, Papacy, 16

Papal States

(883 words)

Author(s): Denzler, Georg
1. History The Papal States, or States of the Church (sing. in Ger. Kirchenstaat, Ital. Lo Stato Pontificio or Lo Stato della Chiesa), are the territories in central and southern Italy over which the pope exercised temporal sovereignty. Private and public gifts of property from the fourth century onward formed the nucleus of the church holdings, known as the Patrimony of St. Peter. Gregory I (590–604) reorganized and centralized these properties. When Stephen II (752–57) appealed for help against the Lombards, the Frankish ruler Pepin (mayor 741–68), by the oath …

Papua New Guinea

(785 words)

Author(s): May, John D’Arcy
With a population in 2003 estimated at over 5 million people, Papua New Guinea is by far the largest of the Pacific Island states. Since it gained its independence from Australia in 1975, the country’s immense mineral wealth has led to both economic expansion and political upheavals, especially the attempted secession (1988–97) of the island of Bougainville. 1. Christian Missions and Churches In the second half of the 19th century, Christian missionaries were among the first Europeans to ¶ establish settlements on the coasts and islands and penetrate into the interior. The…


(2,654 words)

Author(s): Hultgren, Arland J.
1. General The English word “parable” is derived from Gk. parabolē, and like its Greek antecedent its basic and primary meaning is “comparison.” A parable is a figure of speech, such as a simile or a brief narrative, by which the speaker makes a comparison between some transcendent, mysterious, or otherwise puzzling reality and that which is familiar to common human experience. The most widely known parables are those of Jesus of Nazareth, which appear in the Gospels of the NT. But parables are also common in the literature of antiquity. Aristotle speaks…


(823 words)

Author(s): Gerlitz, Peter
1. General Like heaven and the kingdom of God, paradise has a place among the great religious (and secular) utopias of human history (Secularization). In the Old Iranian language Avestan pairidaeza referred to a walled area, a garden (also a zoo). Believers linked it to an eschatological hope viewed as the inbreaking of the beyond into the here and now, of time into eternity, and hence as an alternative to suffering and death (or hell). It is a kind of counterworld, a cosmological prototype. 2. As Garden The symbol of the garden was an apt one for this hope. The prototype for the …


(381 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. Logic A paradox in the broad sense is a startling statement that cannot be literally true. In the narrower logical sense it may be a formally correct statement but one that contradicts its premises (Antinomy). We find paradoxes in everyday speech (“Less is more”), as well as in academic disciplines like theology (M. Luther’s simul iustus et peccator, “at once righteous and a sinner”). Paradoxes may open up very profitable discussions or humorously serve the cause of logical or rhetorical propaedeutic (Language 1; Logic; Rhetoric 1). 2. Theology In the NT the word paradoxos expresses s…


(2,476 words)

Author(s): Estragó, Margarita Durán
1. General and Historical Account Paraguay lies at the heart of Latin America. The river that gives it its name divides its territory into two natural regions, east and west. Over 97 percent of the people live in the east. Here is the capital Asunción, the 16th-century center of the Spanish conquistadores for the conquest and colonizing of the La Plata area (Colonialism). The west, the Chaco, covers 61 percent of the territory. The ground here is so dry that only 2.2 percent of the people can live in the area. In all, there are over 6.3 million inhabitants (2005 est.), of which 2 percent are …

Parallels and Harmonies, Gospel

(2,064 words)

Author(s): Patterson, Stephen J.
A gospel harmony is a composite work that attempts to combine the various accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry found in the canonical Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—into one continuous narrative. The impulse to harmonize these texts derives, on the one hand, from the fact that they are not all the same and, on the other, from the conviction that the Gospels ought at least to be in substantive agreement (see Augustine’s De cons. evang.). Early gospel harmonies attempted to create a single story from the four. In the modern era this practice, and the assumptions …


(751 words)

Author(s): Randall, Gerald D. W. | Groves, Nicholas W.
1. Definition 1. Paraments (from Lat. paro, “prepare, furnish”) are here defined as textile coverings and hangings for liturgical objects. 2. On Altars The square early Christian altars were covered with enveloping throwover cloths called palls. A linen cloth, the palla corporalis, was laid on top for the celebration of the liturgy, and the altar canopy was hung with veils on all four sides. Changes took place in the West from about 1200. Once the host was elevated, the veils were no longer used except during Lent (Fast), though the Fastenvelum (Lenten veil) survived in parts of sou…


(604 words)

Author(s): Thiede, Werner
1. Concept The term “parapsychology,” which M. Dessoir (1867–1947) suggested in 1889, takes as the object of psychology or its related disciplines certain phenomena that deviate from the normal life of the soul. Alternative terms such as “scientific occultism” or “metapsychology” have been proposed, but “parapsychology” ultimately came into common use (supported by H. Driesch). The subjects of parapsychology include occult phenomena and other supersensory experiences. Comparative studies of tradit…


(503 words)

Author(s): Paulsen, Henning
In the primitive Christian community parenesis (from Gk. paraineō, “advise, urge”) had the aim of giving ethical instruction to the post-Easter churches (Ethics). Presupposing baptism, it linked basic theses to situational formulas. In its various forms parenesis was part of early Christian history and cannot be separated from it. We should also note the relation to the Jesus tradition and its basic ethical directions (Sermon on the Mount). Research based on the insights of M. Dibelius (1883–1947) traces primitive parenesis mainly to the Epistles (Literature, …


(1,109 words)

Author(s): Sigrist, Christian
1. Term Pariahs (a simplified form of Tamil paraiyar, sing. paraiyan, “drummer”) were originally the members of a caste in South India (in Tamil Nadu and Kerala) made up of lower workers who earned their living as (at one time slave) farm laborers, though some also as drummers or handlers of animal carcasses. Their work, and especially their cutting of flesh, made them ritually unclean (U. von Ehrenfels; Cultic Purity). Along the line of Sanskrit etymology the Abbé de Raynal (1713–96) at the end of the 1…


(1,465 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. Concept Up to the end of the 19th century and even beyond, the parousia was mainly treated dogmatically in terms of the coming again of Christ to judge and to reign. The “again,” however, cannot be traced back beyond the Constantinopolitan Creed (381); the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed (325; Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) both simply have “come.” What we have, then, is a systematizing at a later stage of statements about the earthly life of Jesus and his expected coming as the exalted Son of Man (Mark 13:26; 14:62) and Lord (1 Thess. 2:19; 4:15). J. Weiss (1863–1914) rejected t…


(6 words)

See Universalism and Particularism


(1,558 words)

Author(s): Koschorke, Martin
1. Definition In a general sense partnership is a principle of communication and cooperation, or a structured relationship between individuals or organizations, that is based on a specific concept and that often unconsciously gives rise to a corresponding self-understanding, behavior, and experience. We find partnership in many areas of life, commonly speaking of partnership in treaties, contracts, trade, professions, tariff agreements, tennis, dancing, and conversation. Churches and cities are also spoken of as partners. 2. As a General Model of Relationship In the West the…

Pascal, Blaise

(899 words)

Author(s): Roggenkamp-Kaufmann, Antje
Blaise Pascal (1623–62), a French mathematician, physicist, and lay theologian, was from a well-to-do family in Auvergne and spent most of his life in Paris. At the age of 16 he completed a well-respected treatise on conic sections, and in 1642 he invented a digital calculator. His father introduced him to the so-called Académie Mersenne, the circle around the Cartesian abbot Martin Mersenne. Pascal first came into contact with Jansenists in Rouen between 1639 and 1647, and in 1647 he met René D…

Passion, Accounts of the

(8,346 words)

Author(s): Mattison, Robin Dale
1. “Passion” as a Term of the Church The term “passion” has no connection with the modern English usage of “passion” as a strong, focused sexual emotion. Rather, its source (Lat. passio, “suffering, being acted upon”) is connected with “passive” and “patient,” conditions where one person is acted upon by another, for good or ill. For worshipers during Holy Week, “passion” refers to the suffering caused to Jesus by others, from the time of his entry into Jerusalem for the Passover feast until his burial. It recalls Jesus’ thr…

Passion Music

(363 words)

Author(s): Hawkins, Robert D.
Musical settings of the gospel passion narratives fulfill the liturgical demands of Holy Week liturgies (Church Year; Liturgy). The earliest extant settings from the fifth century are not tour de force compositions but solo works consisting of “only a normal rendition of a special set of plain-song formulas” (E. Wienandt, 113). Such formulas assigned the lowest range to Christ’s words, the mid-range to the evangelist (narrator), and the upper range to all other individuals or groups ( turba, Lat. “crowd”). This convention has generally been observed ever since. The earliest polyph…

Passion Plays

(5 words)

See Oberammergau


(982 words)

Author(s): Lohse, Eduard
1. Name Exod. 12:13, 23, 27 relates the name of the Passover feast to the verb pāsaḥ, “pass over, spare.” When Yahweh saw the sign of blood on the houses of the Israelites, he would pass by and not cause the plague to strike them as it would the Egyptians. This comment seems to be a later explanation. Thus far, however, no clear etymological derivation has been found for the term. Originally, perhaps, the blood rite was significant from the standpoint of protection against the power of the judgment, which ran up against the countervailing power of the blood (E. Otto). In Greek, pascha was alway…


(1,691 words)

Author(s): Hjelm, Norman A.
1. Term The term “pastor” is taken directly from Lat. pastor, “shepherd” (Gk. poimēn). In both the OT and NT, God is frequently described as a shepherd (“The Lord is my shepherd” [Ps. 23:1]; “For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls” [1 Pet. 2:25]). Similarly, the benediction in the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to “our Lord Jesus” as “the great shepherd of the sheep” (13:20). The Palestinian shepherd—and metaphorically, God and Christ—was responsible for his flock in the widest sense: he gathered the sh…

Pastoral Care

(3,869 words)

Author(s): Stone, Howard W.
1. Historical Perspective “Pastoral care” is a broad, umbrella term for those tasks of ministry that are part of Seelsorge, or care of the soul, the nurture and support of the people of God. It involves such activities as visitation of the sick, comfort of the dying and bereaved, guidance for spiritual struggles, counseling for depression or anxiety, moral guidance, couple and family counseling, care for the lonely, and the like. The biblical image of the shepherd is the most common guiding metaphor for pastoral c…

Pastoral Care of Children

(1,202 words)

Author(s): Dawson, Kathy L.
This term “pastoral care of children” varies in meaning from one part of the world to another. Citizens of Great Britain and related countries would think of a concern for the well-being of pupils in a school setting, a holistic education that includes an eye to the child’s whole life and affect, not just the skills learned in the classroom. Pastoral care of children in America shares some of the same goals as that of Great Britain, but the setting would be found mainly in churches, hospitals, o…

Pastoral Care of the Dying

(1,790 words)

Author(s): Karaban, Roslyn A.
Pastoral care of the dying involves the care that representatives of communities of faith provide to those who are dying, which usually means those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Certainly death occurs on many levels (psychological, sociological, physical, and spiritual), and pastoral care of the dying could, for example, encompass those experiencing the death of a relationship through divorce. Here, though, we focus on persons who have knowledge (awareness) of having a life-threatening illness. 1. Pastoral Care Redefined Pastoral care of the dying has chan…

Pastoral Care of the Sick

(2,537 words)

Author(s): Piper, Hans-Christoph | Davis, Russell H.
1. Biblical, Theological, Historical Contexts Care of the sick is an essential act of Christian kindness, with roots in the NT. To visit the sick is to minister to Christ himself—“I was sick and you took ¶ care of me” (Matt. 25:36). The sick are subject to social isolation and, at times, ostracism. Counter to this tendency are the hortatory injunctions for the sick to call for the elders of the church and for the elders to pray and to anoint so that the sick may be saved and, if they have sinned, be forgiven (Jas. 5:14–16). Ministry to the sick is rooted in an understanding of Christian co…

Pastoral Epistles

(2,710 words)

Author(s): Hultgren, Arland J.
1. Origins The term “Pastoral Epistles” is applied to three letters within the Pauline corpus, namely, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. The term is regarded as fitting, since these three offer instructions for pastoral oversight of congregations and specify the qualities and duties expected of church leaders. Paul Anton (1661–1730) is given credit for coining the term for the three letters, although Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225–74) had referred to 1 Timothy as “a pastoral rule” much earlier. Each letter identifies its author as Paul in the very first verse and then designate…

Pastoral Letters

(472 words)

Author(s): Beal, John P. | Sebott, Reinhold
Pastoral letters are official letters from pastors, and especially bishops, to all members of their church or diocese. Models are the NT letters of Paul and the other apostles, the letters of the postapostolic period, and the Easter letters of the Alexandrian bishops. For all Christian denominations, pastoral letters typically respond to concerns or problems within the community, exhorting the faithful to live according to the full implication of the gospel. In the Roman Catholic Church pastoral letters, or episcopal letters, are circular communications sent by a b…

Pastoral Psychology

(839 words)

Author(s): Everett, Tony S.
Pastoral psychology may be described as a discipline that seeks to integrate religious beliefs and the practices of ministry with psychological methods and insight regarding the human condition. Historically, the church has utilized available contemporary knowledge about the nature of human experience as a key source for practical ministry in community. For example, Arnobius of Sicca (3d-4th cent.) integrated ancient views of human nature with a theological understanding of faithful practice. Ambrose (ca. 339–97) described human relationships in his attempt to edu…

Pastoral Theology

(4,413 words)

Author(s): Cole Jr., Allan Hugh
1. Protestant Tradition 1.1. Term The phrase “pastoral theology” is imprecise; no single definition is universally accepted, particularly in Protestant traditions. Currently, it is understood principally in three related ways, but with different emphases: (1) a theology and practice of pastoral care and counseling; (2) an approach to theology concerned with relating Christian faith claims to the broader world, giving particular attention to methods of pastoral reflection and practice; and (3) an acad…

Patriarchal Narrative

(5,376 words)

Author(s): Robinson, Robert B.
The patriarchal narrative (better, “ancestral narrative,” since both women and men are thematically important) narrows the account of human interaction with God begun with creation (Primeval History [Genesis 1–11]) to the story of the family of Abraham and Sarah. At the beginning of the narrative (Gen. 12:1–3, 7), God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah of offspring, a land, protection, and blessings to themselves and to all nations through them establishes the scope of the narrative—a narrowly focused family history ultimately embracing all nati…

Patriarch, Patriarchate

(1,573 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
1. Biblical Usage The LXX coined the Gk. word patriarchēs, which derives from patria (family, tribe). In the OT it may be used for any group leaders, but in the NT it refers specifically to Abraham (Heb. 7:4), the 12 sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8–9), and David (2:29). 2. Jewish History From the third century to the fifth, the nasi (prince), the head of the Tiberias Sanhedrin, was called patriarchēs in Greek documents. The office, which was a hereditary one in the family of the editor of the Mishnah, Judah ha-Nasi (d. ca. 220), lasted until after 415 and was recognized and supported by t…

Patristics, Patrology

(1,257 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Wilken, Robert
1. Term Patristic theology came into use among Lutherans in the later 17th century (Orthodoxy 1) in an effort to provide evidence from early Christian tradition that the teaching of the Reformers was in agreement with that of the church fathers. Patristics, which was distinguished from both biblical theology and systematic theology, served to stress continuity between the Reformation and the early church. The term “patrology” occurs for the first time in the title of a work by the Lutheran theologian Johann Gerhard (1582–1637): Patrologia, sive de primitivae ecclesiae Christian…

Patronage, Ecclesiastical

(437 words)

Author(s): Muster, Michael
1. The term “patronage” covers the rights, privileges, and duties that by special law certain persons enjoy in relation to churches or ecclesiastical offices. One of the rights is that of presentation, that is, putting a name forward for an ecclesiastical appointment. Another right has to do with the control of endowments. An honorary position in the church is also a privilege. The most important duties are those that have to do with buildings and endowments. There are also patronage situations involving no obligations. 2. Patronage originated with the building and endowing of …

Patron Saints

(8 words)

See Saints, Veneration of, 7
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