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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Zaire / Congo-Kinshasa

(3,730 words)

Author(s): Stadler, Paul
Since 1997 Zaire has been named the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Its capital is Kinshasa, a city of 7–8 million people (2006) and a major port on the Congo River. The country, commonly called Congo-Kinshasa, should not be confused with Republic of the Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville. 1. General Situation 1.1. The DRC is one of the largest countries in Africa (third in area, fourth in population). The vast majority of the population are Bantu peoples. Smaller numbers belong to Sudanese, Nilotic, and Hamitic ethnic groups in the north and east…


(1,537 words)

Author(s): Henkel, Reinhard
1. General Situation The Republic of Zambia, the former British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, is a country in the interior of southern Africa. Small farming and copper mines are its economic basis. The latter have given it what is for Africa a high urban population (44 percent in 2006). In 1964, under the leadership of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and its president, Kenneth D. Kaunda, Zambia achieved independence. A one-party system followed up to 1991, when Frederick Chiluba of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy succe…


(520 words)

Author(s): Cathey, Paul A.
“Zealots” (Gk. zēlōtai, Heb. qannaʾim, “enthusiasts”) was the name given to the radical rebels who led the Jewish people in the war against Rome (a.d. 66–73). The term is a symbolic honorific (the revered Phinehas ben Eleazar was considered the first “zealot,” Num. 25:6–13) that may well have included various Jewish revolutionary groups, including the Sicarii. In order to bring about the onset of the kingdom of God, that is, theocratic rule (Kingdom of God; Eschatology; Theocracy), the Zealots demanded recognition of God alone as ruler a…

Zechariah, Book of

(642 words)

Author(s): Myers, Allen C.
1. Text The 11th and largest book of the Minor Prophets, Zechariah, divides into two distinct parts. Chapters 1–8 contain eight night visions concerning the restoration of Judah and Jerusalem, arranged chronologically beginning with October/November 520 b.c., and a series of oracles of the coming messianic age. Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo was probably of priestly and possibly aristocratic background. He was likely among those who recently returned from captivity in Babylon and ministered until 518 b.c. during the reign of the Persian king Darius I. Concerned ab…


(392 words)

Author(s): Pye, Michael
Zen Buddhism is an orientation in Japanese Buddhism that stresses meditation (Jpn. zen). The word zen comes from Chin. chʾan, from Skt. dhyāna (meditation). The chʾan, or zen, school did not exist in India, the home of Buddhism. Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who came from India to China at the beginning of the sixth century a.d., triggered a Chinese development that reveals an antiformalistic, Taoist influence (Taoism). The teaching work of Hui-neng (638–713) was a high point in China. He advocated a principle of sudden illumination. A radical discon…

Zephaniah, Book of

(598 words)

Author(s): Myers, Allen C.
Zephaniah is the ninth book of the Minor Prophets. Although the precise circumstances of the prophet’s life are unknown, his prophecies suggest that he was of Judean origin, a member of a prominent and possibly royal family, and active during the first half of the reign of Josiah (639–609 b.c.). Zephaniah’s preaching falls within the tradition of Amos, Isaiah, and Micah, his eighth-century predecessors. His utterances in turn may have influenced the prophecy of Jeremiah, a contemporary of his. The book consists of three chapters. Although some scholars find evidence of exi…