Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning†, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel

Religion Past and Present (RPP) Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG). This great resource, now at last available in English and Online, Religion Past and Present Online continues the tradition of deep knowledge and authority relied upon by generations of scholars in religious, theological, and biblical studies. Including the latest developments in research, Religion Past and Present Online encompasses a vast range of subjects connected with religion.

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(270 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich
[German Version] (died after 431), a disciple of Pelagius, was born into an aristocratic family and became a public advocate. It was in Rome, c. 399, that he met the Syrian priest Rufinus, who denied the existence of original sin (Aug. Pecc. orig. III, 3). Pelagius and Celestius left ¶ Rome c. 410 in the face of the Gothic invasion (Goths). They fled to Carthage, where Celestius was condemned by synodal decree (c. 411/412), inter alia on account of his rejection of the doctrine of original sin. Though Celestius appealed to Rome, his sentence was confirmed …


(375 words)

Author(s): Kreß, Hartmut
[German Version] In the history of Christianity celibacy has often been more highly valued than marriage. The Catholic Church's catechism of 1993 (no. 1618ff.) still praises celibacy and virginity. New Testament and Early Church statements form the background. For Paul it was the imminent eschatological expectation that gave celibacy and asceticism greater importance than marriage (1 Cor 7; cf. Matt 19:12). When celibacy is recommended in the New Testament, and especial…

Celibacy of the Clergy

(1,541 words)

Author(s): Felber, Anneliese | Lüdecke, Norbert | Puza, Richard
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. In the Christian Church – III.  Ethics I. History of Religions Celibacy, from Latin caelebs, “living alone,” refers to the unmarried state with the accent on sexual abstinence as practiced by a specific social group, while chastity represents a comprehensive form of abstinence going beyond the sexual. Celibacy is practiced for cultic reasons (purity [Pure and impure], defense against demons), societal needs (vestals; the preservation of ass…


(571 words)

Author(s): Hadot, Ilsetraut
[German Version] The original appearance of Celsus' polemic against the Christians, ᾽Αληθής λόγος/ Alēthḗs logos (“True Teaching” or “True Discourse”), is only roughly deducible from the quotes and paraphrases preserved in the eight volumes of Origen's Contra Celsum (written 249). The dating of the polemic to the years 176–180 is based on vague allusions to historical events in the fragments and remains hypothetical. The author belongs to the philosophical school of Middle Platonism. He defines the highest God …

Celtic Church

(161 words)

Author(s): Richter, Michael
[German Version] The relationships between Rome and the churches in the Celtic-speaking lands (Ireland, Britain, Brittany, Isle of Man) were institutionally regularized in the 12th century. Ever since the introduction of Christianity in those regions, there had been mutual influences between the church and the secular societies. These, however, were so diverse that it is impossible to speak of a homogeneous organized religion. Also in the early Middle Ages, Western Euro…

Celtic Religion

(952 words)

Author(s): Maier, Bernhard
[German Version] is a collective term commonly used for the myths, rituals, and cults of the Celts before they were christianized. The criteria for defining what falls under the generic term “Celtic religion” are in part linguistic, in part archaeological, and in part historical; however, distinct regional variations and chronological ¶ differentiations, not a fundamental inner unity of the respective phenomena, are to be assumed. Our knowledge derives primarily from archaeological finds from the pre-Roman and Roman periods, accoun…

Celtis, Conrad

(318 words)

Author(s): Machilek, Franz
[German Version] (Celtes; name Lat. from Bickel, Gk form: Protucius; Feb 1, 1459, Wipfeld – Feb 4, 1508, Vienna), a universal scholar and humanist (known since the 19th cent. as “the Archhumanist”). From 1476 to 1485, he studied the liberal arts and theology in Cologne as well as Heidelberg, where he attended the lectures of Agricola and earned his M.A. in 1485. He then taught poetics at Erfurt, Rostock, and Leipzig until 1487, when he became the first German to be crow…


(517 words)

Author(s): Maier, Bernhard
[German Version] The name “Celts” (Gk Keltoí and Galátai, Lat. Galli) has its origins in ancient ethnography and historiography, where it denotes numerous different peoples of Central and Western Europe. In modern usage, it refers either to peoples who already bore the name in antiquity, or to the speakers of languages belonging to the Celtic branch of Indo-European, including both ancient Continental Celtic (Gaulish and Celtiberian on the Iberian Peninsula, Lepontic in …


(6 words)

[German Version] Graveyard


(120 words)

Author(s): Holze, Heinrich
[German Version] The word “cenobites” is derived from Gk κοινός βίος/ koinós bíos and refers to the common life as the characteristic feature of the monastery, ¶ as opposed to the isolated life of anachorites. Pachomius is considered the founder of cenobitic monasticism; his rules committed the monks to poverty, celibacy, and obedience. Basil the Great of Caesarea anchored cenobitic monasticism in the church as an impetus toward its reform. John Cassian regarded the cenobites as the earliest fo…


(322 words)

Author(s): Schubert, Anselm | Germann, Michael
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Canon Law I. Church History Censorship is the partial or total suppression of written or printed works based on prior or subsequent ecclesiastical or governmental examination. The NT already rejects false teaching (Tit 3:9f.), and the development of the NT canon presupposes a process of censorship. In the Early Church and the Middle Ages, heresy was condemned by synods and bishops, but actual censorship of books was practiced only in is…

Central Africa

(243 words)

Author(s): Roser, Markus
[German Version] More than ten countries belong to the region of Central Africa (Angola, Burundi, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo [Congo, Republic of], the Democratic Republic of Congo [Congo, Democratic Republic], Ruanda, Chad, Central African Republic; Africa, see map) with an area of 4.6 million km2 and over 120 million inhabitants. Central Africa has suffered from the Arabian and trans-Atlantic slave trade. Christian missions began in the Kingdom of Kongo at the end of the 15th century at the…

Central African Republic

(438 words)

Author(s): Roser, Markus
[German Version] (République Centrafricaine) is an interior state in Central Africa. It has an area of 622,984 km2 and 3.9 million inhabitants (2003); its capital is Bangui (0.8 million); its official language is French, its national language Sango. The population consists of: 25% Gbaya, 24% Banda, 14% Mandjia, 8% Sara, 8% Mbaka, Sango, Yakoma, Zande, Kare, Pygmies, and others. From 1890, the country was administered as the colony of Ubangui-Schari in the Federation of French Equatorial Africa; in 1960, it gained independence under David Dacko. A…

Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, Edinburgh

(152 words)

Author(s): Walls, Andrew F.
[German Version] (CSCNWW). The CSCNWW was created to promote the study of Christian history, thought, and life in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean America, and Oceania, and to collect relevant source material. Founded in 1982 by Andrew Walls in Aberdeen, the CSCNWW moved to the University of Edinburgh in 1986. Its main fields of activity are: 1. postgraduate teaching and research (tutorials for doctoral students, a Master's course propaedeutic to research,…


(180 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (Gk Kerdon), a Syrian (?) Gnostic who was active as a Christian teacher in Rome c. 140. According to Irenaeus of Lyon ( Haer. I, 27.2f.), Cerdo came from the school of Simon Magus and introduced Marcion, his disciple and successor in Rome, to the distinction between the good god and the just god. (He is also mentioned in Hipp. Haer. VII, 10; 37.1f.; X, 9.1; Ps.-Tert. Adv. omn. haer. 6; and Epiph. Haer. 41; 42.3f.) The line of succession Simon – Cerdo – Marcion, however, is probably an anti-Marcionite fiction. A specific theology of Cerdo …

Ceremonial Marching

(8 words)

[German Version] Ritual Movement


(8 words)

[German Version] Rite and Ritual


(308 words)

Author(s): Hanig, Roman
[German Version] (Gk Kerinthos) was a Christian teacher in Asia Minor c. 100 ce (although the Apocryphal Epistle of James [uncertain], the Epistle to the Apostles, Hippolytus's Capita contra Gaium, and other sources place him in the early apostolic period). He was possibly opposed by the Johannine school (Irenaeus, Haer. III 3.4: anecdotal encounter with John at one of the public baths; III, 11.1: the Gospel of John allegedly directed against Cerinthus; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. III 28.1, etc.). Descriptions of Cerinthus's writings appearing in this context are not…


(3,343 words)

Author(s): Künne, Wolfgang | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy Certainty may be either objective or subjective (Goclenius: certitudo rei cognitae or certitudo hominis cognoscentis). Objective certainty is expressed by “It is certain that p,” subjective certainty by “The epistemic subject S is certain that p.” Objective and subjective certainty are logically independent: one can be certain that p although it is not certain that p; and it can be certain th…

César, August

(194 words)

Author(s): Dunkel, Daniela
[German Version] (Jul 21, 1863, Apolda – Dec 4, 1959, Jena). In 1888, César became parish curate and in 1890, pastor in Wiesenthal/Rhön. He was a member of the Weimar Regional Synod and of the Freunde der Christliche Welt (Friends of the Christian World) In 1906, he was elected pastor by the Reinoldi congregation in Dortmund. Following objections by a number of parishioners, the Westphalian Consistory invited him to take part in a colloquium (W. Zoellner). César'…
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