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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(2,226 words)

Author(s): Schuurman, Douglas J.
1. Term The word “vocation,” deriving from the Latin verb voco, “call,” is nearly interchangeable with “calling.” In popular usage “vocation” designates a secular job or career. Sometimes the term is limited to specific jobs, to service-oriented professions like social work, or to professions holding higher social status, such as medicine or law. “Vocation” is also used to designate the occupations of pastor, priest, nun, or monk. These popular uses restrict and secularize the more expansive and religious…


(1,413 words)

Author(s): Brown, Robert F.
1. Term The term “voluntarism” derives from Lat. voluntas, “will.” The correlative term voluntarius refers to acting of one’s own accord. In everyday language, a voluntary decision or act is one free from coercion or external causation. More robust types of voluntarism assert that free acts are not determined even by a person’s innate desires or characteristics, although freedom of choice may be circumscribed by the range of alternatives apparent to or deemed feasible by the chooser. Empiricists who affirm that desire or passion is not under the control of reason are som…


(852 words)

Author(s): Russell, Horace O.
Voodoo, or vodun (as it is often known in African countries), is a religion of Caribbean origin, developed in Haiti by peoples of African descent in response to the social, political, economic, and religious oppression consequent on transatlantic slavery. It originated largely against the background of both the remembered religious past of the slaves, primarily from Dahomey (since 1975, named Benin), and the rites of the Roman Catholic Church as propagated by the Spanish and French. It may be seen…


(754 words)

Author(s): Schwarz, Karl
1. Term Very much like an oath, a vow is a solemn promise to do or not to do something. In the history of religion it had its origin in the do-ut-des concept of sacrifice (i.e., reciprocity): it was made in order to make the deity kindly disposed or to secure divine help in an emergency. To be distinguished from a vow that is conditioned on a reciprocal act on the part of the deity is the unconditional vow; when such a vow is valid for all time, it is called eternal. 2. Biblical Aspects In Israel the place of the vow was between sacrifice and prayer. It frequently occurs in the OT, almost…


(5 words)

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