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


(224 words)

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…


(785 words)

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…


(820 words)

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

(843 words)

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

(686 words)

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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