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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(709 words)

Author(s): Vischer, Lukas
“Evangelical” is first of all simply the adjective of “evangel” (i.e., gospel); from the second century it has meant “relating or corresponding to the gospel” (Gk. euangelikos, euangelikōs; Lat. evangelicus). Especially a life lived according to the will of Christ might be called evangelical. In medieval religious movements vita evangelica et apostolica was sometimes used in criticism of the church. This use led to the idea of evangelical counsels, or counsels of perfection (i.e., poverty, chastity, and obedience). A new use arose in the later Middle Ages (J. Wy…

Evangelical Alliance

(7 words)

See World Evangelical Fellowship

Evangelical Catholicity

(1,159 words)

Author(s): Hjelm, Norman A.
“Evangelical catholicity” identifies the attempt to give specificity to catholica, the third of the four creedal attributes of the church. In the 19th and 20th centuries the term was used in a variety of ways in ecclesiological discussion. Sven-Erik Brodd, in his Uppsala dissertation of 1982, “Evangelisk katolicitet,” distinguishes between its use in three different periods: during the 19th century, as an expression primarily used as a proposal for “the church of the future”; during the period between the…

Evangelical Missions

(1,235 words)

Author(s): Beyerhaus, Peter
1. Term The phrase “evangelical missions” refers to missions that derive their type of piety, their theology, and their understanding of mission from Pietism and 18th- and 19th-century revivalism and that confess that theologically and organizationally they are part of the worldwide evangelical movement (World Evangelical Fellowship). They include the evangelical free church missions societies, independent and interdenominational faith missions, missions with special fields or functions, and Pentecostal missions (Pentecostal Churches). 2. History The rise of the Soci…

Evangelical Movement

(2,216 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
1. Term Although the term “evangelical” can be used in English in the same broader sense as evangelisch in German, in this article it has the narrower sense for which German now uses evangelikal. Some definition is needed because of the theological, ecclesiastical, and practical problems associated with the word and its positive or negative aspects. On the one hand, it may be the equivalent of “pietistic,” “revivalist,” “confessing,” or “biblical-reformational”; on the other, it may be the opposite of “liberal,” “ecumenical,” “p…


(1,888 words)

Author(s): Castro, Emilio | Linn, Gerhard
1. Term Evangelism means proclamation of the gospel. As distinct from ordinary preaching, it denotes an initial proclamation that aims at a decision for Christ by those who do not yet believe or who no longer do so. It is the communication of the whole gospel in simple form, along with a concern to address intellectual hindrances to faith or those deriving from experience. The English language (in this respect richer than some other European languages) distinguishes between the terms “evangelism” and “evangelization.” The former has wider connotations and is…

Everyday Life

(3,787 words)

Author(s): Fahlbusch, Erwin | Bukow, Wolf-Dietrich
1. Usage 1.1. In common usage “everyday life” denotes the reality that recurs each day and that everyone experiences. It is that which in individual activity and lifestyle belongs to the daily rhythm and is repeated year by year. It applies to the people, things, institutions, and environment that we accept mechanically and instinctively, that we take for granted, that are familiar, that we treat as routine. The phrase, which has a temporal side (= what is always the same), characterizes our lifestyle and behavior (everyday food, clothes, speech, culture, duties, the ¶ daily round). It …


(1,098 words)

Author(s): Lochman, Jan Milič
1. The Problem Encounters with manifestations of evil are among the most elementary of human experiences. Both in individual and in social life, the problem of evil arises in many forms, including evil deeds, life-threatening structures, and evil as naked power. Philosophy and religion in particular deal with evil, and also with action aimed at overcoming its manifestations. The definition of evil varies considerably. It depends upon the anthropological premise, but especially upon the understandin…


(6,411 words)

Author(s): Hefner, Philip
1. Concept Since the term “evolution” embraces several dimensions, we cannot deal with it adequately without recognizing its various facets and clarifying precisely which of these are at issue in any given context. Four such facets are of particular importance: evolution as (1) an idea of change over time; (2) an idea of emergence, by which novelty arises from preceding entities and processes; (3) an idea that describes the origins of things, both proximate and ultimate; and (4) an idea of selection, explaining why things die or survive. Each of these facets deserves careful attention. 1.…


(5 words)

See Patriarch, Patriarchate


(784 words)

Author(s): Stein, Jürgen
1. Concept In Roman Catholic canon law, excommunication is a penalty imposed with a view to recovery. Withdrawal of the rights of church membership is designed to lead to conversion and repentance (Penitence). Distinction is made between “lesser” excommunication (which relates to the sacraments and ministry) and “greater” excommunication (shunning by all other members). Besides excommunication, the interdict and the anathema are also meant to lead to recovery. The interdict forbids an individual—o…

Exegesis, Biblical

(4,587 words)

Author(s): Smend, Rudolf | Roloff, Jürgen
1. OT 1.1. Jewish Exegesis in Antiquity and the Middle Ages Jewish exegesis of the OT precedes Christian exegesis. It had models in the OT itself, where many of the later texts refer to earlier ones, applying, varying, and extending them in a variety of ways. More or less regular exegesis arose once the texts had taken a fixed form and become canonical (Canon). Although true commentaries with linguistic and factual elucidations came only in the Middle Ages (such as those by Rashi, Abraham Ibn Ezra, David K…


(243 words)

Author(s): Grote, Heiner
In church law the term “exemption” denotes the exclusion of persons, corporations, or territories from the normally expected associations or structures (Church Government) and their placement under higher or specially appointed officials (Jurisdiction, Ecclesiastical). In the Middle Ages exemptions were very important for particular orders and congregations, for such action placed them directly under the pope, and their heads were not subject to local bishops. This arrangement favored the development of monasteries, protected th…


(95 words)

Author(s): Mauder, Albert
The word “exequies” means “accompaniments.” In a general sense it is used especially in the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion (but not Protestant churches) for funeral rites up to and including the burial. In a narrower sense “exequies” is a musical term for the music accompanying such rites. Here we might mention particularly the many requiems and the Musikalische Exequien of Heinrich Schütz (1636). Exequies in this sense mostly include pieces from the Mass for the dead, and only rarely those of the Burial Office alone. Albert Mauder†


(1,057 words)

Author(s): Moore, Scott H.
1. Term “Existentialism” names a philosophical movement that flourished primarily on the European continent from the 1920s through the 1970s. Its direct roots, however, are to be found in the philosophical work of Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), and its ultimate origins in the thought of Augustine (354–430; Augustine’s Theology). The label “existentialist” was frequently disavowed by its most characteristic proponents Martin Heidegger (1889–1976), Jean-Paul Sartre …

Existential Theology

(1,410 words)

Author(s): Nethöfel, Wolfgang | Moore, Scott H.
1. Term Existential theology is the name of a 20th-century theological movement that is informed by certain commitments within philosophical existentialism. As such, existential theology is theological reflection on human existence and its struggle with radical freedom, alienation, anxiety, choice, and responsibility. This struggle is most evident in the human wrestling with the proclamation of Jesus as the Christ as it is described in the works of Paul, Augustine, M. Luther, B. Pascal, and S. Kierkegaard, and as it has become a feature of the intellectual history of the West. As an …

Exodus, Book of

(931 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Werner H.
The Book of Exodus, the second in the Bible, tells of the God who promises (chaps. 3–4; 6), saves (14–15; cf. 16–17), and commands (20ff.). It also depicts the person of Moses, bringing together and interpreting such varied events as the exodus (1–15), the desert wanderings (16–18), and the revelation at Sinai (19–31). 1. The Book The family of the patriarch Jacob/Israel becomes a nation in Egypt (chap. 1), but it is forced to labor in the building of the supply cities Pithom and Rameses (v. 11, the only direct historical reference in the book, which points probably to the 13th …


(1,256 words)

Author(s): Goodman, Felicitas D. | Pompey, Heinrich
1. In Religious Studies The term “exorcism” refers to a rite of healing intended to expel things or beings that supposedly have penetrated and possessed a person from the alternate reality, causing physical or spiritual suffering. Taking place in ecstatic trance, exorcism represents contact with the realm of the holy, and the rites thus have a sacred character. Exorcisms occur in religions from every type of society. Among aborigines and bushmen spirit animals or other noxious beings leave objects behind in those possessed by them, and the medicine man…


(2,645 words)

Author(s): Proudfoot, Wayne
1. In Philosophy In the empiricist tradition in modern philosophy, experience is contrasted with reason as a source of knowledge. Beginning with John Locke (1632–1704), empiricists have argued that reason alone cannot provide knowledge of what actually exists in the world; for that purpose, experience is required. Rational reflection on the idea of a sphere can provide knowledge of the properties of a sphere, but only by experience can we determine whether or not something exists in the shape of a …
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