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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(580 words)

Author(s): Fritz, Volkmar | Strohmaier-Wiederanders, Gerlinde
1. OT “Tabernacle” is a rendering of ʾōhel môʿēd, “the tent of meeting.” We find it in Exod. 33:7–11; Num. 11:14–17, 24b–30; 12:4–5a, 6–8, 10, traditions that were inserted into the Yahwist source (Pentateuch) and likely were pre-Deuteronomistic. This tent-sanctuary stood outside the camp and was a place of revelation at which Yahweh declared his will after the theophany at Sinai, so that those who received the Spirit became prophets. In Deut. 31:14–15 it was also the place at which Joshua became Moses’ successor. It later came to be located by the Deuteronomist at Shiloh (Josh. 18:1; 19:51…


(346 words)

Author(s): Greschat, Hans-Jürgen
The concept of taboo (Tongan tabu) holds a high place in Polynesian religious systems. Without experiences of tabu, we have no suitable word for translation. “Forbidden” or “holy” might seem to work, but they do not fit properly; it is closer to the unholy, violation of which causes shock. A look at the original meaning of tabu is helpful. In Polynesia, tabu was and is transferred by touch and harms those who are weaker. For this reason the people avoid stronger taboo and protect the weak from their taboos. Special tabu, necessary for sowing seed, building boats, burials, and so fort…

Taiping Rebellion

(1,016 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
1. Name and Origin The Chinese Taiping Rebellion rested on a vision of its originator, Hung Hsiu-ch’üan (Hong Xiuquan, 1814–64), in the year 1837. The term t’ai-p’ing (great peace) adopted a utopian ideal (Utopia) that went back to the third century b.c. In the vision an “old man” charged Hung to chase out the “demons” from earth and heaven who had caused human beings to forget their Creator. The finding of a book containing Bible verses and evangelical tracts verified for him the genuineness of the vision. Putting his mission into action, Hung in 1842 initiated the God Worshipers…


(3,580 words)

Author(s): Rubinstein, Murray A. | Malek, Roman
Overview The Republic of China (ROC) on the Island of Taiwan (formerly Formosa), once the stronghold of the Kuomintang (KMT, or Nationalist Party), has evolved into a democracy with an elected president, national and local legislatures, and elected national, provincial, county, city, and town officials. Since 2000 the head of state has been Chen Shui-bian, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party. Administratively, Taiwan is divided into 18 counties, five municipalities (Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung, Taichung, and Tainan), and two “special municipalities” …

Taizé Community

(443 words)

Author(s): Frey, Jakob | Editors, the
The founder and first prior of the ecumenical community of Taizé was Roger Schutz (1915–2005), ¶ born in Switzerland as the son of a Reformed pastor. After studying theology, he bought a house in 1940 in Taizé, near Cluny in Burgundy, started regular worship there (Hours, Canonical), and took in refugees. The first Protestant brothers joined him in 1942, the first Roman Catholics in 1969. In 2005 the community included more than 100 brothers, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant. Entry into Taizé involves vows binding one to community life (Monasticism) and celibacy. F…


(844 words)

Author(s): Sawatsky, Walter
1. General Situation The Republic of Tajikistan, in central Asia, has its longest border with Afghanistan to the south. It also borders China to the east, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and Uzbekistan to the west. The Pamirs and the Tian Shan Mountains dominate the country, with more than half its territory lying above 3,000 m. (10,000 ft.). Only 6 percent of its land is arable. Economically, it is the poorest member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Ethnically, about 65 percent of the population are Tajiks, speaking an eastern dialect of Persian. One-quarter of the p…


(1,140 words)

Author(s): Schlüter, Margarete
1. Origin The Talmud (Heb. lmd, “learn, teach”), strictly talmûd tôrâ, “study/teaching of the Torah,” is the main work of rabbinic literature. It consists of the Mishnah (the earliest authoritative rendering of Jewish oral laws, mostly in Hebrew) and the Gemara ¶ (Aram. gemar, “study, complete,” a rabbinic commentary on the Mishnah, largely in Aramaic). As rabbinic learning (Rabbi, Rabbinism) developed differently in its two geographic centers, the teaching tradition gave rise to two different versions of the Talmud. The Palestinian Talmud (PT, ofte…


(2,141 words)

Author(s): Lema, Anza A. | Parsalaw, Joseph
1. General Situation The United Republic of Tanzania, on the coast of East Africa, is primarily an agrarian country; approximately 70 percent of the population is rural. Tanzania has a spectacular landscape of mainly three physiographic regions: the islands and the coastal plains to the east; the inland, saucer-shaped plateau; and the highlands. Mount Kilimanjaro (highest peak: 5,895 m. / 19,341 ft.), in the northeast corner of the country, is the highest point in Africa. Present-day Tanzania was formed by the union of two sovereign states: Tanganyika, which achieved i…

Taoism and Chinese Popular Religion

(1,966 words)

Author(s): Kohn, Livia
1. Taoism Taoism (often “Daoism,” reflecting the modern pinyin method of transliterating Chinese), the indigenous higher religion of China, has traditionally been divided into a “philosophical” and a “religious” aspect but is better understood as consisting of three strands: literati, communal, and self-cultivating. 1.1. Literati Taoists Literati Taoists are members of the educated elite who focus on Taoist ideas as expressed by the ancient thinkers. They use these concepts to create meaning in their world and hope to exert some influence o…

Teaching Office

(4,708 words)

Author(s): Brosseder, Johannes | Hüffmeier, Wilhelm
1. Roman Catholic As it now exists, the Roman Catholic doctrine of the church teaching office is a mixture of early and medieval elements given a distinctive profile by Reformation controversies and influenced especially by modern secular absolutism. It can be regarded as neither free from contradictions nor as uncontested. 1.1. History In its doctrine of the teaching office, a dogmatic exposition of Scripture enables the Roman Catholic Church to appeal to specific NT passages (e.g., Matt. 16:16–17, 18–19; John 21:15–19), even though this exposition cannot stand up to moder…


(3,151 words)

Author(s): Krohn, Wolfgang | Fortner, Robert | Stein, Jürgen
1. Social Sciences 1.1. Technology is and has always been part of human culture. The first tools appeared between two and three million years ago. Toolmaking devices ¶ were developed some 15,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, after the end of the last Ice Age. Some cultures then used farming and breeding technologies to create permanent settlements. The so-called higher cultures developed organized technological systems of transportation, irrigation, mining, taxation, writing, and religious and city architecture. Follo…

Teleological Argument

(10 words)

See God, Arguments for the Existence of


(2,166 words)

Author(s): Kennedy, Thomas D.
1. Nature and Origins of Teleology in Classical Philosophy Teleology, from Gk. telos (end, aim, goal) and logos (science, study), refers to the systematic reflection upon purpose and purposive activity in the universe; it is most commonly used to refer to observable design or purpose in the universe. In Plato’s (427–347 b.c.) Phaedo, Socrates cautions against purely naturalistic or mechanistic accounts of natural activity and occurrences that overlook the purposiveness of the natural order and fail to recognize the telos of the universe as determ…


(5 words)

See Mass Media


(3,208 words)

Author(s): Klimkeit, Hans-Joachim | Fritz, Volkmar
1. Religious History 1.1. Temples are places to worship God (§1) or the gods. Their construction and artistic furnishings reflect the basic cosmological and mythical ideas of a religion. Especially the way of distinguishing the sacred and the profane, which is not always as clear and simple as in the case of the Greek temenos or the Roman templum, is demonstrated by the shape of the temple. In many cases, as in the East, we find concentric spheres of the sacred, culminating in the holiest place of all (Sanctuary). A ¶ path leads from the outer secular sphere through intervening rooms …

Temple Society

(450 words)

Author(s): Hempelmann, Reinhard
1. The Temple Society is a small Christian fellowship that was apocalyptic at first but then became interested in social and international reforms. It stands for a Christianity free of dogma; its main concern is setting up the kingdom of God on earth by creating a Christian outlook and a Christian society (first focused on Palestine) under the symbol of the temple (§2; see Eph. 2:21). 2. The society was founded by a Württemberg Pietist (Pietism 2.7), theologian C. Hoffmann (1815–85), and he was closely identified with its early beginning and development. Comin…

Temple, William

(1,608 words)

Author(s): Thomas, Owen C.
William Temple (1881–1944) was one of the most distinguished archbishops of Canterbury of the past millennium. He was the first churchman since the Reformation to be a national leader and a world figure. His main distinction was that of a Christian leader and statesman, especially in the areas of social concern, the ecumenical movement, and Christian thought. He was a superb popular preacher and teacher. Although he published 37 books, he was more a thinker than a scholar; in the 20th century he put Christianity on the map for many. Temple was born in the Bishop’s Palace in Exeter an…


(1,074 words)

Author(s): Barth, Hans-Martin
1. Term The Reformation shaped the use of the German term Anfechtung, which is often translated as Eng. “temptation.” There is no clear equivalent for it in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin (which has tentatio and afflictio). Other modern languages lack an exact equivalent, and in everyday speech it is rarely used any longer in a religious connection. 1.1. In today’s humanistically oriented terminology, the term “temptation” (even more so Anfechtung) is inadequately characterized. It carries with it the sense of conflict, though this term is inadequate unless it relates s…

Teresa of Ávila

(940 words)

Author(s): Dörfler-Dierken, Angelika
Teresa of Ávila (1515–82, also known as St. Teresa of Jesús, Teresa of Ahumada, and Teresa of the Cross) was a Spanish mystic, a Carmelite nun, and a reformer of orders (Religious Orders and Congregations 1). Teresa came from a family of conversos (her grandfather was converted from Judaism to Christian faith in 1485) who purchased their title of nobility. According to her autobiography, Vida, or Libro de las misericordias del Señor (1565, Book of the mercies of the Lord), Teresa, as a child in 1522, wanted to flee to the Moors with her brother Rodrigo in order to …
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