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


(416 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
Yoga, the Vedic term for “exertion,” “strain,” or “venture” (related to Gk. zygon and Lat. iugum, “yoke”), is a technical term used in various senses. 1. In a less technical sense yoga has to do with forms of trance (Ecstasy), asceticism, and meditation¶ . Two or three such rituals reach back to the end of the second century b.c. in southern Asia. Then in a more crystallized sense we find jñānayoga, bhaktiyoga, and karmayoga (yoga through the ways of knowledge, surrender/devotion, and action) in the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali (lived between 2d cent. b.c. and 2d cent. a.d.).…

Young Men’s Christian Association

(817 words)

Author(s): Roll, Dieter
1. History The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is a product of the 19th-century revivals, which in North America were greatly influenced by Methodism. Young male believers gathered for prayer and Bible reading (Bible Study), promoted missionary projects, looked after the socially disadvantaged, and spoke to other young men whose Christianity might be threatened by the developing industrial society. Out of these gatherings an association arose that, when it spread to Germany, cooperated with and yet also rivaled the Inner Mission. Inspired by English merchant and phi…

Young Women’s Christian Association

(856 words)

Author(s): Braun, Hanne | Frasch, Gerhild
The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) is a global alliance of national associations working on behalf of women. According to its purpose statement, the World YWCA “unites national associations in a worldwide women’s volunteer membership movement. Inspired by the Christian faith, the purpose of the World YWCA is to develop the leadership and collective power of women and girls around the world to achieve human rights, health, security, dignity, freedom, justice and peace for all people.” Its specific priorities are (1) women’s healt…


(1,428 words)

Author(s): Martin, Bernice
Youth, as a distinct phase of the life cycle, is not a universal phenomenon. Although the processes of sexual maturation and biological aging are the common experiences of human beings, age is not an equally salient principle of social organization in every society. Moreover, different societies divide up the spectrum of chronological age at various points for purposes of classifying socially recognized phases of the life cycle. In many preliterate and peasant societies the transition from child…

Youth Religions

(771 words)

Author(s): Gandow, Thomas
1. Term 1.1. F. W. Haack used the term “youth religions” in 1974 for the religious and parareligious movements that sprang up since the end of the 1960s that had a particular appeal to young people and young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 (Youth) and that, in their teaching and practice, involved a certain infantile regression on the part of their adherents. The Unification Church (or Moonies), for example, deliberately sets out to win supporters from young people and young adults. 1.2. The attraction of youth religions for their members rests on the unconditional commitm…

Youth Work

(3,134 words)

Author(s): Filo, Július | Prostrednik, Ondrej | Hegele, Günther | III, Mark H. Senter
1. Target According to the United Nations World Youth Report, 2005 (WYR), individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 are referred to as youth (p. 22). Most international Christian youth organizations, however, target those between 18 and 30. In their youth work, the churches orient themselves to national practice. The range is from the high school period, to which many of the young people in European and North American churches belong, to the age of 35 in some less-developed countries. According to the WYR…

Yugoslavia / Montenegro; Serbia

(1,897 words)

Author(s): Dolinar, France M.
1. Background “Yugoslavia” (lit. “land of the south Slavs”) is the name of a former country of southeast Europe occupying part of the Balkan Peninsula. The first use of the name was in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929–41). This entity was formed in 1918 as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, with the name changed in 1929. During World War II it was invaded and quickly conquered by the Axis powers. After the war a socialist, federative Yugoslavia replaced the former kingdom. Embracing the six republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro,…