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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Codex Iuris Canonici

(2,525 words)

Author(s): Heinemann, Heribert | Nørgaard-Højen, Peder
The Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC, Code of canon law) was first published on May 27, 1917, and went in effect the following year, on May 19, 1918. Following Vatican I, it codified previous church law for the first time and, in principle, claimed validity for all baptized Christians (see 3). In 1983 it was replaced by a new book of Roman Catholic law that is also called CIC and is meant for the Latin church, that is, the Western church as distinct from the Eastern. Law for the Eastern churches in communion with Rome is contained in a special code meant for them, c…


(523 words)

Author(s): Rijsman, John B.
“Cognition” is a generic term in psychology that may refer equally to the process (how) or to the content (what) of human knowledge. 1. Cognition as Process In the earlier, more philosophically oriented psychology, “cognition” referred to the human faculty of reason as distinguished from will and feeling, but this a priori distinction is no longer maintained. For example, there now are theories about goal-directed behavior in terms of subjective probabilities and means-ends, or about emotions in terms of labeling of arous…


(4 words)

See Mass


(511 words)

Author(s): Link, Christoph
According to the traditional understanding, collegialism designates a theory advanced in justification of (Protestant) territorial church government (the last of such older theories after the territorial and episcopal systems). Unlike earlier theories, however, it includes both a sociological and a theological theory of the church and of church law. The basis is the view, derived from natural law and the Enlightenment, of the social nature of the church (as a collegium, as for S. Pufendorf and J. H. Boehmer). In the middle of the 18th century early collegialists (e.g., C. M. Pfaff…


(2,447 words)

Author(s): de Urán, Ana María Bidegain
1. General Situation The Republic of Colombia, in the extreme northwest of South America, covers the fourth largest area of any country in Latin America (after Brazil, Mexico, and Peru) and has the third largest population (2000 est.), after Brazil and Mexico. It has both a Liberal Party and a Conservative Party, each controlled oligarchically. Though governments have mostly been civilian, Colombia has suffered from well over a century of political instability. Since La Violencia, the civil war from 1948 to 1958 that claimed as many as 280,000 lives, guerrilla groups …


(3,601 words)

Author(s): Förster, Stig
1. Definition Scholars have debated the meaning of both “colonialism” and “imperialism.” Some regard colonialism as a form of imperialism, but others make a chronological distinction, relating colonialism to the period of mercantilist European empires up to the end of the 18th century and then arguing that it was absorbed by modern imperialism with the rise of the industrial revolution and capitalism. Though both concepts are imprecise, no better alternatives are apparent. In what follows we reject the chronological distinction on the ground that it can hardly do ju…

Colonialism and Mission

(1,357 words)

Author(s): Gensichen, Hans-Werner
1. Methodology The dialectic of the colonial situation (K. J. Bade), whereby colonial systems finally defeat themselves, applies also to the relation between colonialism and mission. It prohibits both unhistorical generalizations and overhasty ideological judgments. We must distinguish between early Iberian colonialism, that of non–Roman Catholic states after the Reformation, and that of modern imperialism, each having its own unique relation with mission. Even then, our account will be fragmentary, since we do not have the sources for a fully satisfying presentation. 2. Earl…

Colossians, Epistle to the

(689 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Andreas
1. Occasion and Contents Colossians was written to a church that Paul did not found. It was designed to strengthen the position of its founder, Epaphras (1:7–8; 4:12–13), when erroneous teaching threatened the congregation. The first part (chaps. 1–2) contains doctrine and polemics. After the opening greeting in 1:1–2 comes an introduction (vv. 3–20), whose beginning reminds us of Phlm. 4–5. It culminates in a soteriological formula in vv. 13–14 and a hymn to Christ in vv. 15–20. In the then-and-now schema of vv. 21–23 the addressees are reminded of their reconciliation to God …


(5 words)

See Consolation, Comfort

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs

(751 words)

Author(s): Wee, Paul | Epps, Dwain C.
The Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) is part of the program activities of the World Council of Churches (WCC). It monitors international affairs of interest to the world fellowship of churches and assists the council in carrying out its witness in the sociopolitical sphere. Originally enjoying a large amount of autonomy within the WCC, it was later integrated in the program structure of the WCC. In 1991 it was transformed into the Board for International Affairs, located in Program Unit III (Justice, Peace, and Creation). For purpos…

Commonwealth of Independent States

(203 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a voluntary association that includes 12 of the 15 republics of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union). Proclaiming itself a successor to the USSR in some aspects of international affairs, the commonwealth provides a framework for unified military policy, a single currency, and a single “economic space.” The Minsk Agreement of December 8, 1991, which established the commonwealth, was signed by the three Slav republics Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Later that month, eight other for…


(610 words)

Author(s): Scharfenberg, Joachim
According to Friedrich Engels (1820–95), monogamous marriage was the historical downfall of the feminine sex, degrading women to slavery (Sexism 1) and making them slaves of the lust of males (Sexuality) and mere instruments for the bearing of children. In response, he put forward three demands: (1) women should be reintroduced into public industry (Work 7); (2) prostitution should be ended and monogamy made a reality for both men and women; and (3) the raising and education of children should b…

Communicatio idiomatum

(6 words)

See Christology 24


(2,311 words)

Author(s): Hemels, Joan M. H. J. | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Editors, The
1. Term As a special form of social action, communication denotes the exchange of signs between a communicator and a recipient. This method of conveying meaning relates to the thinking, feelings, and acts of others. In communication science the term “communication” is normally limited to exchanges between one ¶ person or persons and another or others with the help of spoken language, signs, and symbols, including nonverbal. It is usual to think of the verbal elements as being auditorily perceived and primarily rationally or cognitively process…

Communications Media

(7 words)

See Church Communications Media


(4 words)

See Socialism

Communities, Spiritual

(1,146 words)

Author(s): Mayr, Hans
1. Developments in Protestantism 1.1 Justifiable Reformation criticism of the medieval monasteries and orders for merit-seeking and an emphasis on external matters effectively blocked the development within Protestantism either of biblically legitimate orders and brotherhoods such as the church had known since the Constantinian age or of Luther’s dream of a gathering of those who wished to be serious Christians ( German Mass [1526]). Although Luther recognized the Brethren of the Common Life and some monasteries remained (e.g., at Loccum and Amelungsborn), and although …

Community Churches

(9 words)

See International Council of Community Churches

Community of Goods

(391 words)

Author(s): Weiser, Alfons
The summaries in Acts 2:44–45 and 4:32–35 tell us that the primitive Christian community in Jerusalem had all things in common as members sold land and other property and shared the proceeds according to need. This account is not exclusively historical but also has the elements of an example and an ideal. As God’s people, the OT community was not to have any needy within it (Deut. 15:4). The statement that the first Christians had all things in common corresponds to Greek and Hellenistic thinking regarding personal relationships and the ideals of friendship, co…
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