Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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

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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See Substance Abuse


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Author(s): Viering, Erich
1. Statistics The Togolese Republic, on the south coast of West Africa, has a population of 5.6 million (2005), nearly half of whom are less than 15 years of age. The people are divided into 45 language groups, including Ewe (44 percent) in the south and Kabye (or Kabré, 14 percent) in the north. Lomé (800,000), on ¶ the Atlantic Ocean, is the capital, the largest city, and the main port. 2. Protestant Groups The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Togo (Église Évangélique Presbytérienne du Togo, EEPT), which developed out of the work of the North German Mission (Germa…


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Author(s): Sauter, Gerhard
1. Term Tolerance is, according to its literal sense, “bearing” (Lat. tolero, “carry, bear, tolerate”). At a first level, this means to accept others, including something that is different. On a secondary level, there is the added point of seeing the existence of others as valid, as well as their special features within defined arrangements, without being significantly concerned about, or striving for, integration. In a further step, others—strangers—are accepted, along with their particularities. Finally,…

Tongues, Gift of

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See Glossolalia


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Author(s): Schnitker, Thaddeus A.
Tonsure (Lat. tondeo, “shave, shear”) is the cutting of the hair as a sign of penitence, grief, or subjection. It occurs both before Christianity and outside it. Monks (Monasticism) are characterized by tonsure, as were secular priests (§3) and other clergy. The ceremony of tonsure became part of admission to the clergy under Gregory the Great (590–604; Clergy and Laity). During the High Middle Ages the different styles of tonsure for monks and clergy became interchangeable. In the Roman Catholic Church candidates for the clergy (bishops, priests, deacons) no longer hav…


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Author(s): Schlüter, Margarete
¶ “Torah” ( tôrâ, pl. tôrôt) derives from Heb. yrh, hôrâ, “show, direct, instruct.” In a more general sense it means “teaching”; in a narrower sense, “law.” It can denote either a single instruction, as in Lev. 6:9, 14 (MT: 6:2, 7), or more generally a collection of commands. Only in the latter sense can a specific group such as the Decalogue be considered as a Torah, although it is not exclusively called by this word. “Torah” further denotes the Pentateuch (ḥummāš), the five books of Moses, whose unfortunate Greek and Latin renderings ( nomos and lex), however, are inappropriate insofar …


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Author(s): Frenz, Helmut
It is difficult to give a single definition of torture, since people are so different as regards threshold of pain, psychological makeup, and social and cultural ¶ conditioning. Nevertheless, certain essential features of torture are part of any definition: (1) it always involves at least two persons, one of whom is in the physical power of the other; (2) it involves acute pain or anguish, physical, mental, or spiritual; (3) its aim is to subdue and break the victim; (4) it is a systematic action with a rational purpose; and (5) it is done by, or at the command of, an official of the state. 1. Afte…


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Author(s): Berglund, Bruce R.
1. Term The term “totalitarianism” has been used by politicians and intellectuals to label and analyze the ideological dictatorships of the 20th century, in particular Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin (1879–1953). Applied normatively and descriptively, “totalitarianism” denotes the monopoly of power by a single, revolutionary party that advocates the transformation of society (Revolution), politicizes every sphere of life, delineates internal and external enemies, and compels o…


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Author(s): Pfeffer, Georg
Totemism was a scientific illusion that long dominated ethnology until C. Lévi-Strauss (b. 1908) finally disproved it in 1962. The idea derived from the word ototeman in the Algonquin languages of North America and was given academic status by J F. McLennan (1827–81) in 1869. In 1910 J. G. Frazer (1854–1941) gave it wider currency. Three elements summarize totemism: (1) unilineal descent groups (clans); (2) emblems (totems) such as animals, plants, and, more rarely, other natural phenomena such as wind, the four points …


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Author(s): Dahles, Heidi
1. Term Tourism comprises both the demand for tourist facilities and the supply of these facilities. On the demand side, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), tourism means leaving one’s own locality for the purposes of relaxation, enjoyment, social or business activity, or other reasons, and doing so for a period of less than one calendar year. On the supply side, tourism implies the totality of services catering to tourist demand. 2. Growth and Forms Worldwide, tourism (in terms of both numbers of tourist arrivals and volume of the tourist industries) has…


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Author(s): Gassmann, Günther
1. Society and Religion From about 1960, tradition has been a much-discussed theme in theology, in the church, and in the humanities and social sciences. Its usual definition as the acts and process of handing down (traditio), as well as what is handed down (traditum), has developed in quite varied ways. Against a frequently narrow and negative understanding of the term, it is now emphasized that both individual life and social life always stand in a given tradition that maintains its identity and continuity. Human historicity implies tra…

Traditionalist Movement

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Author(s): Nientiedt, Klaus
1. Background The traditionalist movement within the Roman Catholic Church is essentially a reaction to Vatican II (1962–65) and postconciliar developments. More or less significant parts of the Catholic faithful (differing in various countries but overall only a small minority) hold to the idea that with the council and the reforms associated with it, the Catholic Church broke with the central content of the faith tradition, which the church alone can preserve (Tradition 6). The attention that th…


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See Immanence and Transcendence


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Author(s): Lundin, Roger
Transcendentalism was a 19th-century American philosophy that emphasized the unity of spirit and nature. Its most renowned spokesman was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who called it “the Saturnalia or excess of Faith.” That which is “popularly called Transcendentalism among us,” he wrote, “is Idealism; Idealism as it appears in 1842” (Emerson, 198, 193). Rather than being a well-organized and clearly defined movement, transcendentalism was instead the name given to a loosely knit group of authors, preachers, and lecturers bound together by their opposition…

Transcendental Meditation

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Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a spiritual, neo-Hindu movement (Hinduism). 1. Founder The founder of TM was Mahesh Prasad Warma (b. 1911 or 1918). He was initiated into the traditions of meditation by Himalayan and South Indian masters. The last of these, and the most influential, was Shankara (700?–750?). When Mahesh had developed his own method, Transcendental Meditation (TM), he put “Maharisha” (great seer) before his name and “Yogi” (one who practices yoga) after it. In Madras on January 1, 1958, Mahesh founded the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in order to ma…

Transcendental Philosophy

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Author(s): Röd, Wolfgang
1. Term The meaning of the term “transcendental philosophy” in the 19th and 20th centuries derives from I. Kant (1724–1804; Kantianism), who in the introduction to his Critique of Pure Reason (1st ed., pp. 11–12) used “transcendental” to refer to all knowledge that is occupied not so much with objects as with the mode of our knowledge of objects, insofar as this mode is possible a priori. A system of such concepts might be called transcendental philosophy. Although the older meaning of the term (i.e., transcendental = transc…


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Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
Deriving from Lat. transcendens (stepping over), the word “transcendentals” was used by the Scholastics (Scholasticism) for that which is far above ordinary categories. In reality, we find transcendentals in both Plato (427–347 b.c.; Platonism) and Aristotle (384–322 b.c.; Aristotelianism) as initial forms of being. We can define what is, in terms of its goodness, truth, or unity. Special features of transcendentals are that they lie beyond the ability of categories to predicate and that they are also mutually convertible: ens et unum, verum, bonum, pulchrum convertuntur (being …

Transcendental Theology

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Author(s): Hoye, William J.
1. Origin Transcendental theology originated when Roman Catholic Christians wrestled with the transcendental philosophy of I. Kant (1724–1804; Kantianism). Initiated by the Belgian Jesuit J. Maréchal (1878–1944), it used the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225–74; Thomism) in expansion of the transcendental method of Kant. In this way it hoped to justify the traditional doctrine of God philosophically. This transcendental Thomism established as a starting point something that Kant neglected, namely, an absolute acceptance of…

Transdenominational Movements

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Author(s): Meyer, Harding | Hjelm, Norman A.
When persons of differing denominations or traditions follow a specific form of Christian faith and life and develop that form in such a way that, irrespective of their church allegiance, they are at one, a transdenominational movement has come into being. It is to be noted that the modern ecumenical movement is by definition a movement of churches, not of individual persons, and hence does not qualify as a transdenominational movement (Ecumenism, Ecumenical Movement). The reason for the growth …

Transfiguration of the World

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Author(s): Panagopoulos, Johannes
The patristic tradition (Patristics, Patrology) always related the doctrine of creation (§4) to Christology and ecclesiology (Church). Only thus could it be properly seen as a statement of faith (Dogmatics 1.2.5). It found fuller development only during the Arian controversy (Arianism). Against the Arians Athanasius (ca. 297–373) made a radical distinction between the eternal begetting of the Son (Christology 2.1, 2.2, and 3) and the temporal making of creatures. Christ as Son is consubstantial with the Father (God 6). Creation was made ex…


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See Eucharist 32


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See Romania


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Author(s): Wahl, Heribert
“Trauma,” which derives from the Greek word for wound, hurt, or defeat, denotes either physical-organic injury (e.g., to the skull or brain) or psychological hurts that are more than the ego can cope with and that plunge one into a helpless panic, for example, the sexual seduction of children (Childhood), which S. Freud (1856–1939) regarded as the decisive factor in neurosis. When Freud abandoned this monocausal hypothesis in favor of an unconscious infantile fantasying, he still did not contest the pathogenic role of traumatizing in actual life. Psychologically, no “objective” in…

Trent, Council of

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Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
The Council of Trent (1545–63, with two breaks of several years each; Councils of the Church 4) was the official answer of the Roman Catholic Church to the Reformation and its questions to theology, its preaching, and its ecclesiology. By means of definitions, judgments, and reforming decrees, and in spite of interruptions and internal worries, the council brought about a limited but effective renewal of the church (Catholic Reform and Counterreformation) and created presuppositions for self-assurance and resolution that initiated a new stage in its history. 1. Prior History In 1518…

Tribal Religions

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Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo
1. History of Research and Definition The religions of so-called primitive peoples, which G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831; Hegelianism; Idealism 6) would not recognize as religion according to his definition, became an object of research in the 19th century, not on their own account, but to offer material for wide-ranging theories and to provide an answer to the question of the origin of religion as such. The presuppositions of the Enlightenment and the concept of evolution included the idea that these reli…

Tribes of Israel

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Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
1. History and Results of Research From Numbers to 1 Kgs. 11:30, Israel is portrayed as a community of 12 tribes. Discrepancies in the lists (either with Levi and Joseph, the sons of Jacob, or without Levi and with Ephraim and Manasseh, the grandchildren of Jacob), as well as an older system of 10 tribes of Israel (Judges 5 [without Judah, Simeon, Gad, and Manasseh, but with Machir and Gilead]; 1 Kgs. 11:31) plus Judah (1 Kgs. 11:32), show the 12-tribe system to be a recent, theoretical construct (see 4). In their material culture and linguistically, the tribes of the 12…

Trinidad and Tobago

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Author(s): Sensbach, Jon F.
1. General Situation The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelago nation in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. A former British colony independent since 1962, the country consists of two main islands, of which Trinidad is the larger at 4,828 sq. km. (1,864 sq. mi.) and with 96 percent of the population; Tobago is the smaller at 300 sq. km. (116 sq. mi.), and 21 other islands complete the chain. Eighty percent of its heterogeneous population are of African or Indian descent, while the rest are of diverse or mixed European, Chinese, Arab…


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Author(s): Rolnick, Philip A. | Hoffmeyer, John F.
Overview The Trinity, as it came to be understood in the formative period of both the Greek and Latin churches, is a uniquely Christian doctrine and one whose sheer difficulty indicates that the God under discussion cannot be fully grasped by the human mind. One of the early benefits, and yet an additional difficulty, of conceiving God as Trinity was the gradual emergence of the concept of person (Self). In both the divine case and the human case, “person” has its own mystery and eludes strict definition. The Trinity is one of the beliefs that arise from the incarnation of Christ.…


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See Isaiah, Book of, 2

Troeltsch, Ernst

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Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Stackhouse, Max L.
Ernst Troeltsch (1865–1923) was a Protestant theologian, philosopher of culture, and politician. His theological/philosophical works, although many-faceted, were characterized by one theme: given the historicist insight that all historical reality is relative, with the resulting loss of normative validity (Relativism), he sought to identify new, binding values in historically given cultural contexts. Troeltsch, born on February 17, 1865, in (Augsburg-) Haunstetten, was the eldest son of the medical doctor Ernst Troeltsch. His family belonged to t…


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See Hymnody


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Author(s): Weimer, Martin | Charpentier, Jean-Marie
1. Psychological and Theological Aspects 1.1. The term “trust” proves, especially since E. Erikson’s (1902–94) creation of the concept of “primal trust” (Ego Psychology; Identity), to be a mechanism for reducing both social (N. Luhmann) and theological complexity. It describes “the basic process between man and God. Man’s relationship to God stands and falls therefore with trust in God” (E. Jüngel, 196). As a central category of theological anthropology, it is based on the psychological idea that the…


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Author(s): Editors, The | Padgett, Alan G.
1. Biblical Aspects 1.1. OT The Heb. word for truth is ʾemet, indicating something firm, reliable, and trustworthy or durable. True words or events may be denoted (Deut. 22:20; 1 Kgs. 10:6), or authentic guarantees (Josh. 2:12). The truth may be that of a revelation (Dan. 10:1) or of wisdom (Prov. 22:21). The antithesis is what is false, deceptive, or unstable. Those who tell the truth are people of truth (Gen. 42:16). The reference may be to the truth of their statements or to their inner truthfulness (1 Kgs. 17:24). The word ʾemet often occurs for the truthfulness of God and is somet…


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Author(s): Power, Bernard J.
1. General Situation The Tunisian Republic, located in North Africa between Algeria in the west and Libya in the southeast, borders the Mediterranean. Mountains in the north overlook a hot, dry central plain that merges into the Saharan desert in the south. In the 12th century b.c., the Tunisian coast was colonized by the Phoenicians. They built the city of Carthage (near the modern capital, Tunis), from where the brilliant general Hannibal invaded Italy in 218 b.c. Carthage eventually fell to the Romans in 146 b.c., and the area, the “Province of Africa,” became one of the gran…


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Author(s): Marten, Michael
The Republic of Turkey, with a population of 71 million (July 2007), is the most populous country in the Middle East. Modern Turkey is a new creation, arising out of the Anatolian remnants of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. 1. 1453–1918 Constantinople, the one-time capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, was conquered in 1453 by Turks, who renamed it Istanbul. It became the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which at its peak was one of the largest empires in the world. From the 17th century, decline came about for internal and external r…


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Author(s): Sawatsky, Walter
1. General Situation Turkmenistan, in west-central Asia, borders the Caspian Sea to the west. Its neighbors are Kazakhstan (northwest), Uzbekistan (north and northeast), Afghanistan (southeast), and Iran (south). The Kara-Kum (Garagum) Desert, covering 80 percent of the country, extends from the Caspian to the Amu Darʾya (ancient Oxus) River in the east. Dunes rise to the Kopet-Dag Mountains in the south; the eastern part of the country is plateau. Only 4.5 percent of the land is arable. Turkmenistan is an important supplier of natural ga…
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