Religion Past and Present

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Edited by: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning†, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel

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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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Dabney, Robert Lewis

(151 words)

Author(s): McKim, Donald K.
[German Version] (Mar 5, 1820, Louisa County, VA – Jan 3, 1898, Victoria, TX), a premier 19th-century Presbyterian theologian in the USA. He was a pastor, and then taught church history and systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia (1853–1883). Dabney supported slavery before the Civil War and served as chaplain to “Stonewall” Jackson during the war. He became professor of philosophy at the University of Texas (1883–1893) and helped establish Austin Seminary (1894–1895). Dabney's Lectures in Systematic Theology (1871), while similar to the West…

Dabra Dāmo

(447 words)

Author(s): Böll, Verena
[German Version] is the site of a Christian monastery complex with two churches, located approx. 100 km east of Axum in the region of Tigray, Ethiopia. Ethiopian tradition attributes the founding of the monastery and the introduction of the Pachomian rule (Pachomius) to Abbā Za-Mikāʾēl Aragāwi (e.g. EMML 3738). He was one of the nine holy monks who came to Ethiopia at the ¶ end of the 5th century. King Gabra Masqāl (6th cent.) is reputed to have built Enda Abuna Aragāwi, the main church within the compl…

Dabra Libānos

(461 words)

Author(s): Böll, Verena
[German Version] is a famous monastery in Šawā, Ethiopia, located approx. 100 km north of the current capital, Addis Ababā. Emperor Zarʾā Yāʿqob changed the original name Dabra ʿAsbo to Dabra Libānos ¶ on Dec 26, 1445. The holy monk Takla Hāymānot (died 1312) founded the monastery in 1284. One version of his hagiography ( Gadla) assigns him the main political role in the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty in 1270, instead of his teacher Iyasus Moʿā (c. 1214–1294). This transfer of religious…

Dabra Miṭmāq,

(291 words)

Author(s): Böll, Verena
[German Version] church in Tagulat, Šawā, Ethiopia. It was constructed by King Zarʾā Yāʿqob around 1440. Several Marian miracles that took place at the Egyptian monastery of Dabra Miṭmāq were also passed on in Ethi¶ opian tradition ( Taʾāmmra Māryām, The Book of Mary's Miracles, e.g. EMML 3872). Zarʾā Yāʿqob promoted the veneration of Mary in Ethiopia and wished to preserve the memory of the destroyed Egyptian monastery. Dabra Miṭmāq attained significance in…

Dach, Simon

(133 words)

Author(s): Segebrecht, Wulf
[German Version] (Jul 29, 1605, Memel – Apr 15, 1659, Königsberg [Kaliningrad]) studied Protestant theology, classical languages, rhetoric and poetry in Königsberg. In 1633, he went to work at the Cathedral School in Königsberg and, in 1639, became the professor poëseos at the Albertina at the express wish of the prince-elector. Dach's poetry consists primarily of occasional poems in Latin and German. His friendship songs, set to music and published by the cathedral organist Heinrich Albert ( Aria), were dedicated to the musical/poetic “Königs…


(98 words)

Author(s): Rebenich, Stefan
[German Version] The Dacians originally settled between the lower Danube, the Tisza and the Carpathian arc. The Romans subdued them in three wars (85–106 ce). Established in 106, the province of Dacia (Transylvania, Oltenia, Banat) was abandoned by Aurelian around 271. ¶ The name was carried over to territories lying south of the Danube. Christianity probably found its way into Dacia as early as the 3rd century. Stefan Rebenich Bibliography H. Wolff, “Dakien,” in: F. Vittinghoff, ed., Europäische Wirtschaftsund Sozialgeschichte in der römischen Kaiserzeit, 1990, 616–630 J. Burian…

da Costa, Uriël

(149 words)

Author(s): Friedrich, Martin
[German Version] (1583/1584, Oporto – April, 1640, Amsterdam). The son of a Portuguese Converso, Costa was able to return to Judaism after moving to Amsterdam in 1615. In 1618 he was excluded from the synagogue in Hamburg for criticizing important points of the Halakhic tradition (Halakhah). The Amsterdam synagogue pronounced a further ban in 1623 following his denial of the immortality of the soul. Costa's Exame das tradiçôes Phariseas (1624), in which he defended his opinions, was burnt. Costa was prepared to retract some of his statements, but i…

Dahle, Lars Nilsen

(103 words)

Author(s): Haanes, Vidar L.
[German Version] (Dec 7, 1843, Grytten, Norway – Feb 20, 1925, Stavanger), missionary to Madagascar 1870–1987, and general secretary of the Norwegian Missionary Society (Norwegian Missions) 1889–1920. He was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 1889. Dahle participated in the 1910 World Missions Conference in Edinburgh and was a member of the Continuation Committee. In 1887 he revised the Malagasy Bible. Vidar L. Haanes Bibliography Works include: Books and articles on Malagasy folklore, language, and geography, e.g. Specimens of Malagasy Folklore, 1877. Num…

Daillé, Jean

(167 words)

Author(s): Dingel, Irene
[German Version] (Dallaeus; Jan 1, 1594, Châtellerault – Apr 15, 1670, Paris), Reformed theologian. After studying philosophy in Châtellerault and Poitiers, Daillé turned to theology in 1612 in Saumur. As the tutor of the grandchildren of P. Duplessis-Mornay in Saumur, he became friends with the professors of the academy and traveled with his students through Western …


(283 words)

Author(s): Käppel, Lutz
[German Version] Greek δαίμων, may be etymologically related to δαίω “disperse” (i.e. the fateless?); originally “divine being, divine power” (= ϑεός, “god”) (Hom. Iliad 1.222 etc.), but already in Hes. Erga 121–126 it referred to the “soul of a deceased person.” The two concepts fuse in the image of daimons as punishing avengers (souls of the ¶ murdered execute vengeance as daimons). The concept of the “personal” daimon that influences the fate of the individual appeared from the 6th century bce (Theognis 161–164, Heraclitus 22 B 119 D.-K., Pindarus, Olympia 13.28, 105, Sophoc. Trachin…

Dalai Lama

(1,187 words)

Author(s): Sørensen, Per K.
[German Version] I. Institution and History – II. Present Situation I. Institution and History Dalai Lama (Mongolian-Tibetan “ocean [of knowledge]-teacher”) refers to the spiritual and political head of the Tibetans and of the Gelugpa School, the order in Tibet that functions as the governmental institution. The Dalai Lama is also everywhere viewed as the religious …

Dalberg, Karl Theodor Anton Maria v.

(198 words)

Author(s): Bischof, Franz Xaver
[German Version] (Feb 8, 1744, Mannheim – Feb 10, 1817, Regensburg) became governor of Mainz in Erfurt in 1771 (becoming associated here with J.W. v. Goethe and F. v. Schiller, among others), head of the cathedral school in Würzburg in 1780, Electoral archbishop of Mainz and archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1802, as well as prince-bishop of Worms and…

d'Alembert, Jean le Rond

(514 words)

Author(s): Kronauer, Ulrich
[German Version] (Nov 16 [17?],1717, Paris – Oct 29, 1783, Paris), illegitimate child of Madame de Tencin and the officer Destouches, was abandoned by his mother on the steps of the church of St. Jean Le Rond – hence the first part of his name. His father provided for his education in the Jansenist Collège des Quatres Nations (Jansenism), where he acquired the second part of his name. Quite early on, d'Alembert gained fame as a mathematician and physicist. One still speaks today of the “d'Alembertian principle” developed in 1743 in the Traité de dynamique, by which he contributed to a fo…

Dale, Robert William

(166 words)

Author(s): Thompson, David M.
[German Version] (Dec 1, 1829, London – Mar 13, 1895, Birmingham) received his M.A. in 1853, London, Doctor of Divinity at Yale, and Doctor of Laws at Glasgow in 1883. Dale became a lay minister at Carr's Lane Congregational Church in Birmingham, and in 1859 he became its pastor. He was Chairman of the Congregational Union in 1869, and first President of the International Congregational Council in 1891. Dale emphasized the objective character of the redemption ¶ wrought by Christ and was critical of the Calvinist doctrine of election and the s…

Dali, Salvador

(296 words)

Author(s): Rombold, Günter
[German Version] (May 11, 1904, Figueras, Catalonia – Jan 23, 1989, Figueras), painter and author. Salvador Dalí studied art in Madrid (1921–1923 and 1925/1926), lived in Paris (1928–1940) and the USA (1940–1948), and thereafter spent most of his remaining years in Spain. During his studies, he acquired and perfected his sleek, translucent technique with which he could render even the finest naturalistic details. In 1929, he cooperated with L. Buñuel in writing the “scenario” for the film An Andalusian Dog, a series of shocking scenes expressing the irrationality …

Dalman, Hermann Gustav

(124 words)

Author(s): Timm, Stefan
[German Version] (actually Marx; Jun 9, 1855, Niesky – Aug 19, 1941, Herrnhut), Old Testament scholar and explorer of Palestine. From Jerusalem, Dalman undertook archaeological investigations (Archaeology, Jerusalem, Petra) as the first director of the Deutsches Evangelisches Institut für Altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes (German Evangelical Institute for the Study of the Holy Land in Antiquity) (1902–1916) and gathered materials from all areas of information concerning the region, of which some still await publication in Greifswald, Dalman's later workplace. Stef…


(460 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] refers to the essence of all the effects of natural or social events that, in contrast to benefit, do not maintain or increase the possibilities of human life, but diminish them. The subject of ethical consideration cannot be damage caused by nature (IV), but only damage as the consequence of human action. The deliberate production of damage b…


(290 words)

Author(s): Halfwassen, Jens
[German Version] (c. 458, Damascus – after 538, Emesa), Neoplatonist and the last head of the Platonic Academy until Justinian I abolished it in 529. In 531, on the invitation of Great King Khosrau, he went into exile in Persia, but returned to Athens in 532/533. Heavily influenced by Plotinus, Iamblichos, and Proclus, Damascius gave Neoplatonism a critical epistemological turn, after the epistemological optimism of Proclus, through an agnosticism in the name of transcendence. Starting from Plato's Parmenides, he placed greatest emphasis on the pure …


(2,359 words)

Author(s): Weber, Thomas | Heid, Stefan | Nagel, Tilman
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Early Church – III. Arab Period – IV. Christianity in Damascus I. Archaeology Damascus, modern Dimešq ( aš-Šām), is located 3 km east of where the Baradā river (cf. 2 Kgs 5:12) emerges from the ravine (Rabwāt al-Minšār) between Mount ¶ Hermon) and Mount Qasyūn (Anti-Lebanon). It is the center of the largest Syrian mountain-border oasis – the Ghutah, an area threatened by overdevelopment – and since 1946 has been the capital of the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). According to legend, Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world, …

Damascus Document

(856 words)

Author(s): Lichtenberger, Hermann
[German Version] The Damascus Document has been known since its discovery in 1896/97 in the Genizah of the Ezra Synagogue in Cairo and its publication in 1910 by Schechter. Although it has also been called Fragments of a Zadokite Work because of the special role played by the Zadokites (Zadok/Zadokites) in it, the designation Damascus Document (Cairo Damascus Document = CD [Qumran]) has generally established itself because of the mention of the “new covenant in the l…
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