Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
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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Early Catholicism

(351 words)

Author(s): Alkier, Stefan
[German Version] The term “early Catholicism” is used when features of a hierarchical, official institutionalization of Christianity are discernible before the 3rd century (e.g. the binding of the Spirit to the office; the principle of tradition and succession; development of a monarchical episcopate; sacramentalism), ultimately leading to the firm establishment of Christianity i…

Early Church

(6,745 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph
[German Version] I. The Term – II. Periods of the Early Church – III. The History of the Church and of Christianity in Antiquity – IV. Review I. The Term The term “early church” is one of the most common English expressions used to designate the church during the times of the emperors in Greco-Roman antiquity, i.e. the Christian church from its beginnings until the end of antiquity or Late Antiquity. The end of this …

Early Education (Religious)

(435 words)

Author(s): Harz, Frieder
[German Version] Early education, also called elementary education (or pre-school education), refers to the pedagogically thought-through instruction of children before they start school. The questions arising from early religious education provide exemplary insights into its fundamental importance, but also into its manifold problems. As long as religious education (VII) was primarily concerned with th…

Early Judaism

(234 words)

Author(s): Wandrey, Irina
[German Version] The term refers to the period roughly between (a) the end of the Babylonian Exile (539 bce), the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem (520), and the completion of the Hebrew Bible, and (b) the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (70 ce) and the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism. The term “early Judaism” thus covers a period that historians, depending on where the focus of their interest lies, also refer to as the Hellenistic-Roman period (300 bce–200 ce), lately also as “Middle Judaism” (Boccaccini) or the Second Temple Period (520 bce–70 ce). It …


(892 words)

Author(s): Olson, Carl
[German Version] The earth represents a complex symbolic web of religious significance that includes its life-giving powers, ability to sustain life, and its tendency to accept the bodies of the dead. In some cultures, the earth is personified as a mother goddess, but this tendency is not universal despite the claim by Dieterich's Mutter Erde (Mother Earth, 1905), which constructs a theology of a single great goddess, associated with the earth. In fact, there are many goddesses and most of them are on…

East Asia Christian Conference (EACC)

(13 words)

[German Version] Christian Conference of Asia (CCA)

East Asian Dance and Theater

(521 words)

Author(s): Moser-Achuthath, Heike
[German Version] in all its forms shares the use of stylized (painted) mask s and costumes that ¶ define the role of the figure, partly in combination with dance, acrobatic elements, song, music, and the dramatization of a story (Indian dance, Kūṭiyāṭṭam). A connection between stage plays and the practice of the respective religion may also be observed (Animism, Buddhism, Confucianism, …


(5,925 words)

Author(s): Kraus, Georg | Kinzig, Wolfram | Schlemmer, Karl | Plank, Peter | Schwier, Helmut | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Church History – III. Liturgy – IV. Customs and Traditions – V. Homiletics and Education – VI. Art History I. Terminology Easter (cf. Ger. Ostern) is the English word for the feast of Jesus Christ's resurrection (II). The name in other Germanic and Romance languages derives instead from Gk πάσχα/ páscha (Aram. פַּסְחָא/ pascha' or פִּסְחָא/ pischa' for Heb. פֶּסַח/ pesah. [from פסח/ psh., “limp/go past”, etymology not entirely clear]; Lat. as pascha or passa), for example, Påske (Danish and Norwegian), Pasen (Dutch), Påsk (Swedish), Pasqua (…

Easter, Date of

(11 words)

[German Version] Paschal / Easter Calendrical Controversies

Easter Epistles

(251 words)

Author(s): Külzer, Andreas
[German Version] Epistles of the bishop of Alexandria, originally composed in Greek, on fixing the date of Easter, often, but not exclusively, addressed to the bishops and congregations in Egypt subject to him. The first author for this circle of recipients was Dionysius of Alexandria (247/48), although Demetrius of Alexandria had already written Easter epistles to the bishop…

Eastern Churches, Catholic

(410 words)

Author(s): Hardt, Michael
[German Version] The term Catholic Eastern churches refers to those churches that originally belonged to the old Eastern or Orthodox churches. In the process of the Orthodox separation from the Roman Catholic Church, they either remained in communion with the pope or later entered into unions with Rome. They acknowledge the primacy and infallibility of the pope, but have their own church law and celebrate the ¶ liturgy according to the respective Eastern Church rite so that they hardly differ from their Orthodox mother churches. Accordin…

East Syrian Liturgy

(946 words)

Author(s): Brakmann, Heinzgerd
[German Version] is a collective term for the worship of the ancient church catholicosate at Seleucia-Ctesiphon and its successor churches, the Apostolic Church of the East (“Assyrians,” “Nestorians”), the patriarchate of Babylon (Catholic “Chaldeans”) and the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church (Catholic “Syro-Malabars”; Unions with …

East Syrian (Nestorian) Church

(12 words)

[German Version] Apostolic Church of the East

Eating and Drinking,

(553 words)

Author(s): Borgeaud, Philippe
[German Version] in the comparative study of religion. Nourishment is both a symbol-laden reality and a biological necessity. Every human society chooses from among the available foods by making a traditional distinction between those that are fit for consumption and those that are not. Culinary habits and table manners have cultural implications that go far beyond anything that a purely …

Ebal, Mount

(309 words)

Author(s): Dexinger, Ferdinand
[German Version] A mountain (940 m) situated northeast of Nablus/Shechem opposite Mt Gerizim. According to Deut 27:4 (where the Samaritan Pentateuch and Old Latin have Gerizim!), an altar was to have been erected ¶ on Mt Ebal (according to Deut 11:29 [MT], the mount of the curse), not on Gerizim (mount of the blessing), and according to Josh 8:30 (in the LXX 9:2) this was done. Ebal may have replaced Gerizim in the MT for cult-polemic, indeed anti-Samaritan, reasons. For 4QJoshuaa, Gilgal seems to have been the site for the altar. On the northern slo…

Ebed Jesus

(191 words)

Author(s): Kaufhold, Hubert
[German Version] of Nisibis (‘Abdīšō’ bar Brīkā; mid- 13th cent. – early Nov 1318), was the last significant Nestorian (Syria) author of the Middle Ages. He is attested as bishop of Sīgār and Bēt ‘Arbāyē in 1284/1285, and as metropolitan of Nisibis and Armenia before 1290/1291. In his catalogue of authors, written in Syriac, he lists…

Ebeling, Gerhard

(1,181 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Lange, Dietz
[German Version] I. Life – II. Church Historian – III. Systematic Theologian Jul 6, 1912, Berlin-Steglitz – Sep 30, 2001, Zollikerberg/Zürich), Protestant German theologian. I. Life Ebeling began his theological studies in 1930; after studying at Marburg, Berlin, and Zürich, he passed his first theological examination for the examination office of the Confessing Church in Berlin. He prepared for pastoral ministry under …

Eberhard the Bearded,

(213 words)

Author(s): Mertens, Dieter
[German Version] V/I, count, from 1495 duke of Württemberg (Dec 11, 1445, Urach – Feb 25, 1496, Tübingen), son of Louis the Pious and Mechthild, Countess Palatine of the Rhine; in 1474 he was married to Barbara Gonzaga. Through his reunification (1482) and administrative reorganization of the land, but also through his resolute exercise of ecclesiastical power and establishment of the University of …

Eberlin von Günzburg, Johann

(298 words)

Author(s): Peters, Christian
[German Version] (c. 1465, Kleinkötz near Günzburg – Oct 1533, Leutershausen [Ansbach]). He married Martha of Aurach in 1524. An adherent of Franciscan Observantism in Heilbronn, Tübingen (until 1519), Basel (contact with K. Pellikan, Beatus Rhenanus, Zwingli) and Ulm (1521), he was also a humanist and the author of the pamphlet cycle Die 15 Bundesgenossen (Basel 1521; pamphlets). In 1522, he studied in Wittenberg (renunciation of his earlier writings, siding with Luther, “member of household” in the “Black Monastery”). He was a pamphleteer in the ¶ service of the moderate Reform…

Eber, Paul

(226 words)

Author(s): Scheible, Heinz
[German Version] (Nov 8, 1511, Kitzingen – Dec 10, 1569, Wittenberg) received his preliminary education in Ansbach and Nuremberg before moving to Wittenberg in 1532, where he received his M.A. in 1536, became professor at the pedagogical institute in 1541, professor of physics in 1544, a member of the consistory in 1546, professor of Hebrew and court preacher in 1557, city preacher and general superintendent of the Saxon electoral district in 1558 as the successor of J.Bugenhagen, ¶ Dr.theol. in 1559, and a member of the senate of the faculty of th…
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