Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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

Help us improve our service

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.

Subscriptions: see brill.com


(231 words)

Author(s): Frost, Herbert
In modern usage “moderator” (Lat. modero, “restrain, direct”) denotes the (neutral) president of an assembly or leader of a radio or television colloquy. It has been in use since the Middle Ages for the one charged to chair a council. The 1983 CIC has the term for the lead priest in multiple parishes or parish unions (can. 517) and also for a vicar-general whose function is to coordinate diocesan administration (can. 473). We also find the term for leaders in religious orders and congregations. Among the Reformed, Presbyterians (Reformed and Presbyterian Churches), and Congreg…

Modern Church History

(12,447 words)

Author(s): Greschat, Martin | Brauer, Gerald C. | Thon, Nikolaus
1. Europe 1.1. Seventeenth Century The Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), which ultimately became a struggle for hegemony in Europe on German soil, also formed the apogee of the period of confessionalism (Denomination 4) and its many crises. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) at once gave modern Europe its basic law (F. Dickmann) and the new era a new outlook. A period of greater stability was created, resting on greater rationality in both foreign and domestic affairs and resulting in more power for absolute …


(2,608 words)

Author(s): Weinzierl, Erika
1. Term, Contents, Goals In the history of the Roman Catholic Church, “modernism” refers to a broad movement around the turn of the 20th century that sought to reconcile Catholic teaching and practice with modern science and the modern world. The movement was condemned by Pius X (1903–14) in his 1907 encyclical Pascendi, which called modernists the church’s worst enemies because they were inside it. The stern judgment and punishment (Church Discipline) of the widely varying thought and writing of philosophers and theologians in several different c…


(3,509 words)

Author(s): Viering, Jürgen
1. The Term: History and Problems The term “modernity” is a relatively new one related to the adjective “modern.” It obviously stands opposed to antiquity, though more in the sense of contrasting with the obsolete classicism of the 19th century. There is thus an implied rejection of an outdated past and an orientation to the future. (“Modernity” is considered here primarily in its reference to the arts, esp. literature. The related word “modernism,” which is often used in similar contexts, refers more exclusively in this encyclopedia to particular theological …

Modern Period

(1,722 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Falk
1. Basic Structures The term “modern period” (Ger. Neuzeit), which has been in general use only since the mid-19th century, refers to the period from the end of the Middle Ages to the present. Since the 16th century it has also been accompanied by the consciousness of belonging to a new epoch. In discussion from the time of the Enlightenment, independence and self-assertion are thus basic features. Independence indeed does not exclude the late medieval or Renaissance and Reformation roots. But the basi…


(1,418 words)

Author(s): Sawatsky, Walter
1. General Situation In June 1990 a “bridge of flowers” was formed between Moldovia and Romania, as all 12 crossing points across the long-closed border were opened. The former renamed itself Moldova, declaring its sovereignty on August 27, 1991. When the USSR was dissolved at the end of 1991, Moldova became an independent state but remained part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which all but the Baltic republics of the former USSR eventually joined (Soviet Union). Politically and economically, Moldova has continued to hover between post-Communist R…


(1,109 words)

Author(s): Biersack, Manfred
1. Theology of Molina The term “Molinism” refers to theological systems like that of Spanish Jesuit Luis de Molina (1535–1600), who, in his Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis (The harmony of free will with gifts of grace), highlighted the role of human cooperation over that of God’s sovereignty in the salvific operation of divine grace. The doctrine of grace as formulated by the Council of Trent (1545–63) is open to interpretation. It clearly postulates a cooperation of divine grace and the human will as constitutive to salvation (Synergism)…


(5 words)

See Christology; Trinity

Monarchy in Israel

(1,523 words)

Author(s): Seybold, Klaus
1. Israelite Monarchies There were various monarchies in ancient Israel (§1). Israel itself was originally made up of tribes, with monarchy not native to it. The monarchy was introduced and adopted only with further developments, dependent in part on the overall political situation in the Middle East. The main source for the history of monarchy in Israel is the OT (Judges; 1-2 Samuel; 1-2 Kings; 1-2 Chronicles; the Prophets). Light is also shed by contemporary annals and inscriptions (see TGI  [3d ed.], ANET , and TUAT  1). We might refer as well to 1 Maccabees and Josephus Ant.  Purel…


(2,213 words)

Author(s): Schilling, Johannes
1. Term There are monasteries not only in Christianity but also in Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and Islamic Sufism. The monastery separates monks and nuns from the world (Monasticism). After they have taken their vows, it opens up for them an ongoing, secluded monastic life of either contemplation or action within the rules of the order, the aim being a life that is holy and well-pleasing to God in fulfillment of the so-called counsels of perfection, or evangelical counsels (i.e., poverty, chastity, and obedience). 2. Development In the early church anchorites (from Gk. anachōreō, “s…


(5,390 words)

Author(s): Wendebourg, Dorothea
1. Definition, Range In the history and sociology of religion (History of Religion; Sociology of Religion), the term “monasticism” is used to refer to the form of life involving separation from most of the members of a religion for asceticism and prayer, with a view to achieving religious perfection. We find it in almost all the higher religions—that is, besides Christianity, in Jainism; all forms of Buddhism, including Lamaism (Tibetan Religions) ¶ and Zen Buddhism; Taoism; and Islam (among the dervishes)—though not in Judaism except for a short period with the Ess…


(1,407 words)

Author(s): Müller, Rudolf Wolfgang
Money is generally understood as a “universal means of exchange” and therefore as a quasi-natural economic instrument (see 1). Along with capitalism, industrialization, and modernization, money has spread across the whole world and promotes such things as the division of labor, freedom, and culture. Yet it is not just an economic instrument. It also promotes the development of a comprehensive intellectual and social power, as may be seen in its contacts with other spheres, for example, in the wa…


(898 words)

Author(s): Hesse, Klaus
1. General Situation Geographically, Mongolia is a region in central Asia comprising an independent republic that until the 1990s maintained close ties with the Soviet Union (Outer Mongolia) and Nei Monggol (Inner Mongolia), an autonomous region within China. Modern Mongolia draws its identity from the empire of Ghengis Khan (ca. 1162–1227), which at its zenith extended from China to central Europe. With the backing of the Soviets, Mongolia declared its independence from China in 1911. In 1924 a Communist regime was established, with the capital in Urga …

Mongolian Mission

(726 words)

Author(s): Wiessner, Gernot
The Mongolian mission was originally part of the broader mission to central Asia of the Apostolic Church of the East (Nestorians). The base for the mission was sixth-century Merv (now Mary, Turkmenistan), south of the Oxus (now Amu Dar’ya) River. Nestorian Christianity spread along the market towns of the Silk Road to the eastern German and Turkish tribes and south of the Aral Sea, with the principal agents being Christian merchants, clergy, and monks. The mission gathered strength in the ninth …


(414 words)

Author(s): Klein, Hans-Dieter
C. Wolff (1679–1754) brought the term “monism” into use in the academic philosophy of the German ¶ Enlightenment. It describes theories that trace all things back to one substance (e.g., the rational pantheism of B. Spinoza [1632–77]; Spinozism) versus those that do not (e.g., the system of R. Descartes [1596–1650], which began with two substances—the res cogitans, “thinking substance,” and the res extensa, “extended substance”; Cartesianism). The opposite concept is dualism. German idealism did not use the term “monism,” but it came into general use aft…

Monogram of Christ

(505 words)

Author(s): Brennecke, Hanns Christof
The oldest MSS tradition offers contractions of the divine names, especially ĪC̄ for Jesus (= IHCOYC) and X̄C̄ or X̄P̄C̄ for Christ (= XPICTOC). These contractions, which might be understood as ciphers for the salvation achieved in Christ (Christology), are also found to some extent in monogrammatic form (e.g., as the chrismon, or Chi-Rho) in the Middle Ages in introductions to letters and documents. From around 200 we also find the common symbol ⳨, the staurogram (Cross 3), which is made up of the superimposed letters tau (T) and rho (P) as an abbreviation for stauros / stauroō (cross …


(346 words)

Author(s): Mbiti, John
The term “monolatry,” a combination of Gk. monos (one) and latreia (worship), refers to the religious practice of worshiping one God. Monotheism, in holding that only one God exists, is necessarily monolatry. Polytheism may be, insofar as its worshipers choose one of several deities as their sole object of worship. Over time, however, polytheists can change their worship from one deity to another, perhaps depending on which one seems more meaningful. Hinduism illustrates such a practice, for example, wit…


(614 words)

Author(s): Lyman, J. Rebecca
1. Origin The Monophysites, in opposition to the conclusion of the Council of Chalcedon (451), view Christ as having one (monos) divine nature (physis) after the incarnation, not two (Christology). Arising in the fifth century as a movement against Chalcedon, the Monophysites became a potent force in Eastern theology and politics (Byzantium). 2. Theology Theologically, Monophysite doctrine grew out of the Alexandrian Christological tradition (Alexandrian Theology), which focused on the redemptive activity of the Word of God becoming incarnate. Draw…


(1,465 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
1. Term Monotheism is a religious, theological, or philosophical position whose normative feature is recognition of only one God. Those who use the term “monotheism” in either confession or research are differentiating between different views of God. Like other isms, this term also tends to denote a movement, sphere, or epoch in which, whether the respective inhabitants or contemporaries use the term or not, a specific outlook or opinion prevails. Whether those who define their own position claim the validity of t…


(866 words)

Author(s): Grant, Robert M.
Montanism arose around a.d. 172 in Phrygia, Asia Minor. It was founded by Montanus, a recent convert to Christianity, who in trances uttered oracles predicting the imminent descent of the heavenly Jerusalem at the village of Pepuza in Phrygia (Ecstasy; Eschatology; Prophet, Prophecy). He urged devotees to assemble there, to practice rigorous fasting, and to give money to a common fund. 1. Oracles The oracles of Montanus claim the authority of revelation (e.g., “It is I, the Lord God Almighty, who am present in a man” or “Behold, man is like a lyre, and I hover ove…
▲   Back to top   ▲