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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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…


(461 words)

Author(s): Jones, F. Stanley
[German Version] name for ancient Jewish Christians that is first found in Iren. Haer. I 26.2 (᾿Έβιωναῖοι, ebiōnaîoi, Aram. form of a Heb. word meaning “poor”; Ebionitae = ecclesiastical Lat.). The origin of the term cannot be determined with certainty. In view of the religious usage of the term in the ancient Near East, the HB (e.g. Jer 20:13; Ps 86:1), the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (e.g. Pss.Sol. 10:6; 18:2), and the writings from Qumran (e.g. 1QM XI 13, 1QpHab XII 3, 4Q171 II 9), however, the name was probably a religious …

Ebionites, Gospel of the

(314 words)

Author(s): Jones, F. Stanley
[German Version] Modern designation for a gospel used by the ancient Jewish Christians, from which Epiphanius cites seven excerpts in his presentation of the “Ebionites.” The implied authorship by Matthew ( Haer. XXX 13.3) often leads to the equation of Gos. Eb. with a Gospel of the Twelve Apostles, which is mentioned solely by name in Or. Hom. in Luke 1:1. The assignment of other fragments from Jewish Christian gospels to Gos. Eb. is controversial. H. Waitz ( NTApo, 21924) attributed many sayings of Jesus in the Pseudo-Clementines to Gos. Eb. G. Strecker, in contrast, denied that an…


(432 words)

Author(s): Archi, Alfonso
[German Version] (modern Tell Mardikh). A Bronze Age site of 56 ha located nearly 60 km south of Aleppo. The town's development peaked in the Early Bronze IV A (Mardikh IIB 1, c. 2400–2350 bce). Dating from this period is the Royal Palace G, excavated for nearly 2400 m2, which should have occupied a large part of the acropolis. The main archive, with originally some 2500 tablets, was preserved close to the Court of Audience, as well as an archive of 242 texts concerning foodstuffs consumed at the court. A second flourishing period was Mardikh IIIA-IIIB (c. 2000–1600 bce). In …

Ebner, Christina

(268 words)

Author(s): Ehrenschwendtner, Marie-Luise
[German Version] (Good Friday, 1277, Nuremberg – Dec 27, 1356, Engelthal Convent). The patrician's daughter entered the Engelthal Convent (Dominican) at the age of twelve. Her uncompromising conceptualization of the imitatio Christi and cloistered lifestyle led to corporal suffering and isolation within the community. Beginning in 1291, Ebner had extraordinary spiritual experiences that brought her fame in subsequent decades even outside her convent (1350…

Ebner-Eschenbach, Marie

(297 words)

Author(s): Gabriel, Norbert
[German Version] (Baroness of; Sep 13, 1830, Zdislavic Castle, Moravia – Mar 12, 1916, Vienna) was an important narrator and aphorist of Austrian Late Realism. In 1848, she married her cousin Moriz, a professor at the engineers’ academy in Vienna and later lieutenant field marshal; the marriage was childless. Ebner-Eschenbach was distinguished in 1898 with Austria's highest civil order, the Cross of Honor for Arts and Literature; in 1900, she was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna. Following initially unsuccessful efforts as a dramati…

Ebner, Margareta

(165 words)

Author(s): Ehrenschwendtner, Marie-Luise
[German Version] (c. 1291, Donauwörth – Jun 20, 1351, Maria Medingen). This patrician's daughter entered the Convent of Maria Medingen at a very early age. Constantly ill and isolated within the convent from 1312 on, she understood her illness as her path to God. Prayer, contemplation, and asceticism under the banner of an intense devotion to Christ (reflection on the Passion, the childhood of Jesus, etc.) led her to mystical experiences (visions, auditions, glossolalia). ¶ Henry of Nördlingen was important for her spiri…

Ebo of Reims

(175 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Martina
[German Version] (c. 778–851), from a family of royal fiscalines, was archbishop of Reims (816/17–835 and 840/41) and, from 845, bishop of Hildesheim. Ebo devoted himself to the development of his archdiocese, church reform, and the mission in Denmark. Having been instrumental in the overthrow of Louis I, the ¶ Pious in 833, he was himself deposed in 835, only to be reinstated in 840 by Lothar I. Expelled once again in 841, Louis the German finally made him bishop of Hildesheim. The controversy su…

Ebrard, Johannes Heinrich August

(292 words)

Author(s): Bonkhoff, Bernhard H.
[German Version] (Jan 18, 1818, Erlangen – Jul 23, 1888, Erlangen). The son of the French-Reformed pastor of the Huguenot colony, Ebrard became a committed proponent of the Erlangen School in its reformed modification. After a brief period as lecturer in Erlangen, his book Wissenschaftliche Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte in response to D.F.Strauß's Life of Jesus brought him a call to Zürich as associate professor, whence he returned to Erlangen in 1847 as professor of Reformed theology. In 1853, h…

Ecclesiastes Rabbah

(7 words)

[German Version] Qohelet Rabbah

Ecclesiastical Language

(514 words)

Author(s): Grözinger, Albrecht
[German Version] can refer in a quite general sense to the language spoken in a particular ecclesiastical, theological, liturgical (Liturgical languages), or religious context. To that extent, a certain vagueness attaches to the term itself, whose semantic content can then only be determined more clearly through an analysis of its concrete use. Such analysis distinguishes strategically between descriptive, critical, and constructive levels, though in certain contexts all three levels may be interwoven. The expression is used descriptively when it describes …

Ecclesiastical Penalties

(480 words)

Author(s): Rees, Wilhelm
[German Version] are legal restrictions imposed by the Catholic Church on church members who culpably and accountably violate church law. In continuity with CIC/1917, CIC/1983 c.1312 §1 distinguishes censures ( CIC/1983 cc.1331–1335; cf. CCEO cc.1431f., 1434f.), namely, excommunication, interdict, and suspension (clerics), from expiatory penalties ( CIC/1983 cc.1336–1338; CCEO cc.1429f.; 1433). Such include residency stipulations and prohibitions, withdrawal of authorizations, offices, privilege…

Ecclesiastical Power

(498 words)

Author(s): de Wall, Heinrich
[German Version] The concept of “ecclesiastical power” is not very common in the newer doctrine of Protestant canon law; however, in Roman Catholicism, the authority of the Church and related concepts ( sacra potestas, potestas ecclesiastica, potestas ordinis, and potestas jurisdictionis) are the foundation of the Church's legal ¶ structure. Nevertheless, the justification for and the scope of the authority of the Church were among the most important controversial issues of the Reformation ( CA 28). In Protestantism, the concept of the power of …

Ecclesiastical Province/Region

(186 words)

Author(s): Rees, Wilhelm
[German Version] In contrast to the ecclesiastical region ( regio ecclesiastica; CD art. 39ff.), since the 4th century the ecclesiastical province ( provincia ecclesiastica) has belonged to the constitutional structure of the Catholic Church. It is the assembly of neighboring particular churches to promote pastoral work and relationships among the diocesan bishops in the union of particular churches so created ( CIC/1983 c. 431 §1). The provincial council and the metropolitan have leadership authority ( CIC/1983 c. 432 §1). Neighboring ecclesias…

Ecclesia supplet/Suppletion

(180 words)

Author(s): Potz, Richard
[German Version] (Lat. ecclesia supplet = “the church supplements”). In Catholic canon law, under ¶ certain circumstances absent jurisdiction is replaced according to CIC c.144 §1. This is not the sanctioning of invalid legal acts but the legal delegation of authority or jurisdiction in cases involving either an actual or legally assumed error on the part of the ecclesiastical community in question or a positive and demonst…

Ecclesiola in ecclesia

(7 words)

[German Version] Church


(408 words)

Author(s): Beintker, Michael
[German Version] or doctrine of the church (chapter “de ecclesia” in 16th and 17th-cent. dogmatics) refers to the subdivision of dogmatics which develops the concept of the church and clarifies the question of the nature, task, form, and structure of the church. A distinction can be made between a more implicit ecclesiology (pre-theoretical self-reflection of a church) and an exp…


(7 words)

[German Version] Amenophis IV (Echnaton)


(183 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Martina
[German Version] (Luxemburg). In 697/698, abbess Irmina of Oeren gifted her portion of the villa Epternacus to Willibrord (died 739), who obtained the other portion c. 700 from Plectrud and Pippin II in order to found his monastery. Willibrord's grave in Echternach attracted many pilgrims, and Alcuin wrote his Vita of the missionary there. The scriptorium produced the outstanding products of an insular scribal art and flourished again from the 11th century ( Codex Egberti; court studio of the Salians). From c. 848 on, it was a canonical institution; from 973, it came under the Rule of Ben…

Echter of Mespelbrunn, Julius

(212 words)

Author(s): Smolinsky, Heribert
[German Version] (Mar 18, 1545, Mespelbrunn – Sep 13, 1617, Würzburg), prince-bishop of Würzburg. After his studies and a church career, Echter became dean of the cathedral (1570) and bishop (1573) in Würzburg. At first, he devoted himself to the organization and centralization of the territory, founding the Julius Hospital (1576–79) and the University of Würzburg (1582), to beco…

Eckhart, Meister

(1,467 words)

Author(s): Langer, Otto
[German Version] I. Life – II. Work – III. Influence (Eckhart v. Hochheim; c. 1260, Tambach – probably early 1328, Avignon) I. Life Born around 1260 in or near Tambach, south of Gotha, Eckhart entered the Dominican order in Erfurt. He began general studies in Cologne in 1280, was lector sententiarum in Paris (1293–1294) prior in Erfurt and vicarius provincialis in Thuringia (1294–1298), magister regens in Paris (1302), provincial of the newly founded province of Saxony (1303), after 1307 additionally vicar general …

Eck, Johann

(555 words)

Author(s): Wicks, Jared
[German Version] (born J. Maier; Nov 13, 1486, Egg an der Günz – Feb 10, 1543, Ingolstadt) was a prolific opponent of the Reformation. After an initial education under his uncle in Rottenburg, he studied in Heidelberg, Tübingen (M.A. 1501), Cologne, and Freiburg im Breisgau (1502–1510). Then he held the chair of theology in Ingolstadt for the rest of his life. Eck's Chrysopassus (1514) taught that God predestines to salvation those whom he foresees will acquiesce to his prevenient grace. In 1518, after Eck cr…


(769 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Albrecht, Michael
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. Philosophy I. Comparative Religion The term “eclecticism” denotes philosophical or religious systems in which elements of various provenance have been deliberately combined; it was already used in this sense by ancient writers (Diogenes Laertius; cf. II below). In modern usage, the term usually carries a negative connotation, based on the assumptio…

Ecological Movement

(2,070 words)

Author(s): Timpf, Siegfried
[German Version] I. History – II. Analysis – III. Organizations – IV. The Future I. History The ecological movement has a complex internal structure that is expressed in sharply divergent forms of organization and practice, goals, and understandings of nature and society. The theme common to all currents within the movement is that of man's relationship to nature. There are three streams within th…

Ecological Theology

(809 words)

Author(s): Primavesi, Anne
[German Version] The term “ecology” was coined in 1866 by E. Haeckel to denote a new branch of biological research. It now also includes the concept of an ¶ ecosystem in the sense of a concept of a co-evolutionary (Evolution) and ultimately cooperative dynamic. The older notion defined environmental relationships as an abstract system in which an exchange of matter and energy takes place and whose functioning …


(5 words)

[German Version] Environment/Ecology

Economic Cycle

(542 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] refers to short-term variations in the capacity of the productive potential of the overall economy. Economic development proceeds in waves with upturns and downturns. In an upturn, demand increases rapidly. The capacity of the economy grows. At some point, normal production capacity is attained, but upward forces do not typically become static at this point. …

Economic Ethics

(1,931 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. History – II. Problems and Themes I. History As reflection on the lived ethos, ethics has since Antiquity also considered economic participation, as it touches on ethos, as an essential component of ethos. Aristotle restricted economy to securing household autarchy, from which commerce was distinct; and, insofar as it produced money from money in transactions involving interest, he rejected it ( Eth. Nic. 1256 b 1–8). The Bible, especially in the OT, gives numerous rules regarding the support …

Economic History

(2,672 words)

Author(s): Fischer, Wolfram | Ohst, Martin
[German Version] I. General – II. Church I. General Economic history, simply speaking, is concerned with how over the centuries people have earned their livelihood, have obtained for themselves food, clothing, and shelter, have communicated with each other sometimes across rivers, mountains, and oceans, have met, bartered (Exchange), traded (Trade), developed m…


(3,290 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Scope – II. History and Disciplines – III. Present Foci of Interest – IV. Significance for Theology I. Scope Traditionally economics has been defined primarily by its subject matter. It is the branch of inquiry that deals with economic phenomena (Economy: I). Methodologically, over a lengthy course of development (see II below) it has become increasingly autonomous, adopting the empirical and quantitative proce…


(6,870 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Rüpke, Jörg | Schneider, Helmuth | Otto, Eckart | Penslar, Derek | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Economic Systems and their Theories – III. Economy and Religion I. The Concept The term economy encompasses the totality of all individual actions and social interactions that serve to produce goods (commodities or services [Service sector]) for the purpose of satisfying human needs (Consumption). As a rule, the “production” of commodities means that human labor and …


(1,025 words)

Author(s): Lewis, Ioan M.
[German Version] Individual ecstatics and wider currents of religious ecstasy have left their mark at various times in all the “world” religions, and are also widely reported in anthropological and missionary studies of Third World “local” religions. This is not surprising since such ecstatic encounters are generally interpreted as the most impressive (if less …


(856 words)

Author(s): Freile, Carlos
[German Version] covers an area of 275,830 km2 and has a population of 13 million; its capital is Quito. Situated in the Andes in northwestern South America, it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Colombia, and Peru. The climate is essentially determined by the Andean cordillera: while the coastal region (Costa) and the Amazon lowlands (Oriente) enjoy a tropical climate, the inner valle…


(3,308 words)

Author(s): Kleinschwärzer-Meister, Birgitta | Ivanov, Vladimir | Schwöbel, Christoph | Baier, Klaus A.
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Dogmatics 1. The Catholic Understanding The term “ecumene,” from the present passive participle of the Greek verb οἰκεῖν/ oikeín, “to dwell,” originally denoted the inhabited earth. The use of the term in Scripture is ambiguous: the OT (apolitically) in the sense of “world,” the NT, in addition to that, of the “earth” as the …

Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians

(828 words)

Author(s): Kamphausen, Erhard
[German Version] (EATWOT) represents the largest ecumenically oriented theological movement in non-European Christianity. Founded in 1976 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it strives to disentangle theology from the Western tradition and to conceive an independent, indigenous theology (Indigenization). In it are gathered the most renowned representatives of Latin American liberation theology and contextual theologies (Contextual theology) from Asia, Africa, and the ethnic minorities of North America (African, Native American, Hispanic). Various strands of contextual lib…

Ecumenical Movement

(10,763 words)

Author(s): Wendebourg, Dorothea | Koschorke, Klaus | Sattler, Dorothea | Lippy, Charleas H. | Geldbach, Erich | Et al.
[German Version] I. 1st to 19th Century – II. 20th and 21st Centuries I. 1st to 19th Century 1. Early Church The concerns of the first centuries of the church were less with the establishing of fellowship than with its preservation – focused in the fellowship of the Lord's Supper – among Christians and congregations (Paul, Saint, Apostolic Council, Clement I (Romanus), Ignatius [Ignatian …

Ecumenical Theology

(381 words)

Author(s): Neuner, Peter
[German Version] In essence, any theology is ecumenical in that the Christian truth is addressed to all. Ecumenical theology in a narrower sense deals with the division of Christianity into exclusive confessions (denominations) and reflects possibilities for overcoming the various divisions with the objective of one fellowship among the Christian churches. Ecumenical theology developed out of the controversial theology that defended the claim to be the church of Jesus Christ against competing claims, refuting them (polemi…


(850 words)

Author(s): Harris, Joseph
[German Version] I. The name Edda (“great-grandmother”) is applied in one 14th-century Icelandic ms. to the work now know as The Prose Edda ( PrE) or Snorri's Edda. Seventeenth-century Icelandic scholars extended the name to a recently discovered collection like the presumed source of PrE, now known as The Poetic Edda ( PE) or Elder Edda. These two are referred to in studies of myth and religion as the “eddas,” but as an adjective “eddic” designates similar poetry elsewhere in Icelandic literature. II. PE, as it exists in an Icelandic vellum of c. 1…

Eddy, Mary Baker

(259 words)

Author(s): Gottschalk, Stephen
[German Version] (Jul 16, 1821, Bow, NH – Dec 3, 1910, Chestnut Hill, MA) was preoccupied during the first half of her life with the problem of theodicy: how a good and all-powerful God could be responsible for a world of sin and pain. As the result of a healing she experienced in 1866, Eddy came to the conclusion that the problem of evil could only be answered through a radical shift in Christian thought about the nature of being. Her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875) maintains that matter is not an objective limiting substance that i…

Edelmann, Johann Christian

(285 words)

Author(s): Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] (Jul 9, 1698, Weißenfels – Feb 15, 1767, Berlin), student of theology in Jena (1720–1724, under J.F. Buddeus and J.G. Walch [1]) and tutor (1724–1734, in Vienna, Dresden, et alibi). Influenced by G. Arnold, Edelmann sought contact with various (radical) Pietist communities, such as the Gichtelians (J.G. Gichtel) and Herrnhut Brethren (after 1735; Bohemian and Moravian Brethren). In 1736, he …


(566 words)

Author(s): Drijvers, Han J.W.
[German Version] was built in 303/302 bce by Seleucus I in a strategically favorable location in northern Mesopotamia. After the collapse of the Seleucid empire (Seleucids) in 132 bce, it was capital of the Osroene kingdom under the Arab Abgar dynasty, which nominally reigned until 242 ce. Its indigenous name was Urhai, present-day Urfa, a provincial capital in southeast Turkey. In 165/166 ce, Edessa became a Roman client state, and a Colonia Romana in 213. The cession of Nisibis to the Sassanids in …


(806 words)

Author(s): Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] The term edification (“building up”) in its metaphorical religious sense was introduced by the NT (Gk οἰκοδομή/ oikodomē, Lat. aedificatio). It denotes a central aspect of ecclesiology (Church) involving the interplay between the part and the whole. Despite both the deficient and inflationary senses the word has taken on in modern usage, its original, precise sense is vital for theological reflection on the church and the local congregation. The metaphorical use of edification in the NT, borrowed loosely from OT usage, refers t…

Edifying Literature

(3,117 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Weismayer, Josef | Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] I. To the Reformation – II. Modern Era – III. Present I. To the Reformation The term “edifying literature” (or “devotional literature”) embraces all Christian literature that is not liturgical, juristic, merely informative, or scholarly (history, theology) but is meant to edify and encourage piety and Christian conduct. But the boundaries distinguishing e…


(314 words)

Author(s): Ehrenschwendtner, Marie-Luise
[German Version] (Scots Gaelic: Dun Eideann), capital of Scotland. Situated near the Firth of Forth, Castle Rock had probably long served as a stronghold when King David I founded Holyrood Abbey there and granted Edinburgh market rights in 1130. Elevated to city status by Robert the Bruce in 1329, Edinburgh rose to become the political and economic center of Scotland and …

Edinburgh Conference (1910)

(1,350 words)

Author(s): Walls, Andrew F. | Koschorke, Klaus
[German Version] I. The Conference – II. Reception in Asia, Africa, and Latin America – III. Ecumenical Significance I. The Conference The “World Missionary Conference to consider Missionary Problems in relation to the Non-Christian World” met in the assembly hall of the United Free Church of Scotland in Edinburgh from Jun 14 to 23, 1910. Originally conceived as a successor to the conferences of London …

Edmund, Saint

(142 words)

Author(s): Fichte, Jörg O.
[German Version] (Eadmund; 840–869), king of East Anglia, was slain in 869 by the Vikings after refusing to share his kingdom with the pagan conqueror Inguar. Before he was beheaded, his body, like that of St. Sebastian, was riddled with arrows. He was already being revered as a martyr shortly after his death, and in the 10th century his remains were translated to Bury St. Edmunds, whose abbey then became a pilgrimage site. Feast day, Nov 20. Jörg O. Fichte Bibliography T. Arnold, Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey, vol. I, 1890, 3–209 F. Hervey, ed., The History of King Edmund the …


(972 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] ( ‘edôm) means “reddish,” and the parallel term Seir ( sē'îr) “rough,” probably the brush in the mountains. They designate a landscape or ethnicity south of ¶ the Dead Sea: in the first instance, to the southeast, between Wādī l-Ḥasā and the Gulf of Aqaba, but also in the Wādī l-'Araba and the southern Negeb. “Seir” occurs first in the Amarna Letters (Amarna; EA 288.26; mid-14th cent.) and in a place list of Ramses II (mid-13th cent.), “Edom” in a letter from the eighth year of Merneptah…


(15,718 words)

Author(s): Grethlein, Christian | Zenkert, Georg | Harich-Schwarzbauer, Henriette | Fox, Michael V. | Klauck, Hans-Josef | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Philosophy – III. Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. Bible – V. Church History – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology and Pedagogy – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Concept Traditionally, “education” has denoted the intentional interaction of adults with the younger generation in order-usually-to influence them positively; whether it makes sense to speak of education when negative goals are deliberately pursued is …

Educational Novel (Bildungsroman)

(84 words)

Author(s): Ziolkowski, Eric
[German Version] Bildungsroman (educational novel) is the label coined by Karl Morgenstern in the early 1820s for a literary genre that depicts the mental and intellectual education of the main protagonist, from childhood to maturity, thereby contributing to the reader's education ( Bildung). The prototype is C.M. Wieland's Geschichte des Agathon, although Morgenstern and likewise W. Dilthey and other later critics saw J.W. v. Goethe 's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre as the preeminent example. Eric Ziolkowski Bibliography R. Selbmann, Der deutsche Bildungsroman, 1984.


(5,784 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg | Preul, Reiner | Schweitzer, Friedrich | Leschinsky, Achim
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. History – III. Philosophy – IV. Philosophy of Religion, Dogmatics, Ethics – V. Practical Theology and Education – VI. Social History I. Terminology This article deals with formative education, corresponding to the German term Bildung (cf. Fr. formation). (The related article education deals with the subject area of Erziehung, covering education and training. Bildung or formation may be considered more general, with cultural overtones, while Erziehung places more emphasis on schooling.) ¶ Even in its earliest form, OHG bildunga (“creat…

Education of Adults

(2,610 words)

Author(s): Vogel, Norbert
[German Version] I. General Remarks – II. Practical Theology and Educational Theory and Practice I. General Remarks The concrete focus of this article is on the situation in Germany. 1. Institutions The pluralism of adult education agencies in Germany, which is founded in history as well as democratic theory, manifests itself in a series of institutions offering specific, sometimes also convergent educational programs. For the advancement of the public, adult education centers ( Evening classes ) are of particular significance with th…

Education, Theory of

(7,852 words)

Author(s): Nipkow, Karl Ernst | Koerrenz, Ralf | Tenorth, H.-Elmar | Schweitzer, Friedrich
[German Version] I. The Term – II. History – III. Present-Day Emphases – IV. Significance for Theology I. The Term The expression “theory of education” (or: “education theory and methodology” – Ger. Pädagogik) serves as a “collective term for all theoretical and practical endeavors in respect of education. As a theory, it refers to the essence of the teaching(s) or science(s) ‘about’ and ‘for’ education, and also to educationally significan…

Edwards, Jonathan

(560 words)

Author(s): McDermott, Gerald R.
[German Version] (Oct 5, 1703, East Windsor, CT – Mar 22, 1758, Princeton, NJ). American philosopher-theologian who described the revival (Revival/Revival movements) in his Northampton (MA) parish in A Faithful Narrative (1737) and defended the Great Awakening in The Distinguishing Marks (1741) and Some Thoughts Concerning the Revival (1743). In 1746 he published an analysis of religious experience, Religious Affections. After losing his pulpit (1750) in a controversy over communion qualifications, Edwards led a mission to Indians in Sockbridge (MA), where he wrote Freedom of …

Edward VI, King

(190 words)

Author(s): Cameron, Euan
[German Version] of England (Oct 12, 1537, Hampton Court – Jul 6, 1553, Greenwich), Henry VIII's only legitimate son by Jane Seymour. Edward VI was educated by such Renaissance scholars as John Cheke (1514–1557), Richard Coxe (1500–1581) and Roger Ascham (1515–1568) who inclined towards Protestantism, and until 1549 was dominated by his uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector. Somerset began to introduce the Reformation in England. He enhanced state control over the church, introduced Thomas Cranmer's Protestant Book of Homilies (1547), oversaw the first …

Edzard, Esdras

(151 words)

Author(s): Friedrich, Martin
[German Version] (or Edzardus) (Jun 28, 1629, Hamburg – Jan 1, 1708, Hamburg). After studying Protestant theology and oriental languages, he received the Lic.theol. in 1656 and was a private scholar in Hamburg from 1657. From 1659 on, Edzard taught Hebrew language and literature to many students, including A.H. Francke (I), while also working for the conversion of the Jews of Ham…

Effective History/Reception History

(5,400 words)

Author(s): Steinmann, Michael | Schüle, Andreas | Rösel, Martin | Luz, Ulrich | Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Applications I. Philosophy The concept of effective history ( Wirkungsgeschichte) takes on philosophical significance in the hermeneutics of H.G. Gadamer, where it represents the attempt to clarify the fundamental requirement for understanding texts and make this understanding transparent in its own historically conditioned context. …

Egard, Paul

(199 words)

Author(s): Sträter, Udo
[German Version] (c. 1580, Kellinghusen, Holstein – 1655, Nortorf), a Holstein pastor; after studies in Rostock, he was initially deacon, then rector in Rendsburg, and, from 1610, pastor in Nortorf. Egard was a dedicated advocate of inner-Lutheran church critique, the author of edifying books and of practice-orientated interpretations of the Bible. As a supporter and defender of J. Arndt ( Ehrenrettung Johannis Arndten, 1624), he is assigned to the orthodox wing of the Arndt School. Egard was the first Luther…

Egbert of York

(134 words)

Author(s): Fichte, Jörg O.
[German Version] (died 766) belonged to the Northumbrian royal family and was a reforming archbishop of York (from 735 an archdiocese once again) who ¶ endeavored to abolish abuses in church administration and pastoral care. He founded the famous cathedral school in which he taught theology himself – Alcuin was one of his students. The numerous writings attributed to him include the canon collection Excerptiones e dictis et canonibus SS. Patrum (transmitted from dates in the 11th cent.), the Dialogus ecclesiasticae institutionis, a collection of canon law decisions, the Poenitential…

Egbert, Saint

(121 words)

Author(s): Fichte, Jörg O.
[German Version] (Ecgberht; died 729) was a Northumbrian monk from the monastery at Lindisfarne who voluntarily exiled himself to Ireland in order to attain spiritual perfection. From there, he prepared the missions of Wigbert to Frisia and of Willibrord to Germany. From 716 on, he lived on Iona, where he enforced the Roman calculation for the date for Easter and imposed the Roman tonsure on the monks. His feast day is April 24. Jörg O. Fichte Bibliography Beda, Historia Ecclesiastica, ed. C. Plummer, 1896, 3.4; 4.3; 5.9–10 W. Levison, England and the Continent in the Eighth Century, 1946 M.…

Egede, Hans

(141 words)

Author(s): Haanes, Vidar L.
[German Version] (Jan 21, 1686 Harstad, Norway – Nov 5, 1758 Stubbekøbing, Denmark), “The Apostle of Greenland.” From 1707 to 1717 Egede was a Lutheran pastor in Lofoten, Norway. He was a pioneer missionary to Greenland in 1722. Egede's wife, Gertrud Rask, was a remarkable missionary in her own right. After many difficulties, their unselfish service during a smallpox epidemic…

Egeria (Aetheria)

(340 words)

Author(s): Röwekamp, Georg
[German Version] The Lady Egeria (also known as Aetheria) is the author of a personal pilgrimage account to the sacred sites (III) in the Near East that was discovered in 1884 by Gian F. Gamurrini in an 11th-century manuscript. The author's name can only be deduced from a letter written by Valerius of Bierzo (died 691), the various versions of which attest to several different fo…

Egerton Papyrus

(607 words)

Author(s): Lührmann, Dieter
[German Version] Named after a patron of the British Museum, Papyrus Egerton 2 (= PLondon Christ.1) was purchased in Egypt in 1934; the exact location of its discovery, however, cannot be ascertained with certainty. At the time of its publication in 1935, the papyrus was considered to be the oldest extant Christian document (dating to “c. 150”), though it lost that status in the …


(626 words)

Author(s): Klaes, Norbert
[German Version] The egg, focus of the mysterious processes of incubation and hatching, from the shell of which fresh new life bursts forth, was an important symbol in many ancient creation myths. The primordial Chaos out of which the cosmos arose was frequently depicted as a cosmic egg (e.g. in Egypt, India, China, Greece, Indonesia, Polynesia, Africa) in which primeval matter lay dormant in an undiffe…

Egidy, Moritz of

(162 words)

Author(s): Egidy, Berndt v.
[German Version] (Aug 29, 1847, Mainz – Dec 28, 1898, Potsdam) became a military officer, as was the family tradition, and was dismissed from military ser-¶ vice prematurely in 1890 at the rank of first lieutenant. The cause for his decomissioning were the “serious reservations,” in which Egidy avowed a confession- and dogma-free Christianity. From that point onward, he apeared as a freelance author and lecturer, and increasin…


(707 words)

Author(s): Kreß, Hartmut
[German Version] The term originated in the 18 century. I. Kant described as moral egoists those who see only their own needs and happiness instead of seeking the basis for volitional decisions in moral obligations. The opposite of “egoism” for Kant was the mindset of a tolerant, cosmopolitan “pluralism” (Pluralism, altruism). Apart from the term, egoism, coined in the modern era, ancient religion and philosophy already discussed excessive love of self, unilateral selfishness or an internal “perver…

Egranus, Johannes Sylvius

(196 words)

Author(s): Smolinsky, Heribert
[German Version] (Wildenauer; born in Eger, died Jun 11, 1535 in Joachimsthal, Erzgebirge [Ore ¶ Mountains]) began studying in Leipzig in the year 1500, earning his Master of Arts in 1507. In 1517 he became preacher at St. Marien in Zwickau, where he got into a dispute with the Franciscans over the legend of Anna. In 1518, he became involved in a literary controversy with Hieronymus Dungersheim of …


(11,934 words)

Author(s): Schenkel, Wolfgang | Weintritt, Otfried | Assmann, Jan | Bergman, Jan | Modrzejewski, Joseph Mélèze | Et al.
[German Version] I. General – II. History and Society – III. Religion and Culture I. General 1. Name/Designations In Egyptian-Coptic, Egypt is “the black (i.e. land)” (Egyptian *Kū́mut, Coptic Kēme, etc.) after the dark soil, in Semitic languages, generally, Miṣr-, etc., in Hebrew also מָצוֹר / Māṣôr (“border,” i.e. “borderland”?), in Greek after a sanctuary of the god Ptah as a designation for the old capital city Memphis, Aígyptos, i.e. Aígupto-s (in contemporary Egyptian perhaps *Hekoptáḥ). 2. Geography The central area of the country is the river oasis of the lowe…

Egyptian Liturgy

(7 words)

[German Version] Rites, Oriental

Egyptians, Gospel of the

(439 words)

Author(s): Wisse, Frederik
[German Version] I. Greek Gospel of the Egyptians – II. The So-called Gospel of the Egyptians from Nag Hammadi I. Greek Gospel of the Egyptians The Greek Gospel of the Egyptians was an apocryphal gospel known to Clement of AlexandriaClement of Alexandria who cites from it a brief dialogue between Jesus and Salome which was used by the encratites (Asceticism) in defense of their rejection of human procreation (Clement, Stromata III 45.3; 63.2; 64.2; 66.1; 92.1). Clement refutes the encratite implications of Jesus' answers and appears …
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