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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I Ching

(650 words)

Author(s): Röllicke, Hermann-Josef
[German Version] ( Yi Jing), the “Book of Changes,” also known as Zhou Yi, the “Changes [according to the usage of the dynasty] of Zhou”; its oldest portions (possibly 9th cent. bce) were set out in writing by scholars of the Western Zhou dynasty on the basis of older priestly practices of divination, manticism, and oracle consultation. The book runs through a cycle of 26=64 diagrams ( gua) encompassing the entirety of all world states and changes. The base 2 number indicates that every event in the world is either to be interpreted as changing or as unchanging…


(459 words)

Author(s): Brunotte, Ulrike
[German Version] (“the breaking of images”) I The iconoclastic incidents that took place in the Byzantine state between 726 and 843 must be interpreted against the background of a highly differentiated Christian veneration of images (VI) which was capable of profoundly disturbing the power-political balance between the image of Christ and that of the emperor. The event marking the beginning of the first, imperially decreed iconoclastic phase in 726 was the removal, by Leo III, of the image of Christ fr…

Iconoclastic Controversy/Iconoclasts

(8 words)

[German Version] Veneration of images


(6,550 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Güntram | Arnulf, Arwed | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Finster, Barbara | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Iconography and the Bible – IV. Christian Iconography – V. Jewish Iconography – VI. Islamic Iconography – VII. Buddhist Iconography – VIII. Hindu Iconography I. Religious Studies Iconography (Gk εἰκονογραϕία/ eikonographía) originally meant the description of images (Arist. Poet. XV; Strabo XV 1.19), but nowadays is used to refer to the methodical study of images. Where scholars distinguish between iconography, iconology , and iconics (Ger. Ikonik), iconography denotes the description of the object, …


(7 words)

[German Version] Veneration of Images


(391 words)

Author(s): Beyer, Andreas
[German Version] The term “iconology” is derived from Greek εἰκονολογία/ eikonología, to “speak in images.” It originally referred to a corpus of iconographical elements (allegories, symbols, attributes, emblems, etc.) for use in artists' workshops and was thus roughly equivalent to a “science of symbols” – as prominently documented in the enormously successful illustrated compendium Iconologia by Cesare Ripa (1593). Nowadays, however, the term designates a method of art history that was introduced by the cultural scientist Aby Warburg around 1900 …


(424 words)

Author(s): Ivanov, Vladimir
[German Version] (Gk εἰκονοστάσις/ eikonostásis) refers to a barrier that separates the altar (III, 1.c) from the central section of the sanctuary. The development of Orthodox worship (II, 7) and its interpretation exerted essential influence on its structure and iconographic program. The early phase in the development of the iconostasis remains hypothetical in many respects. The ¶ period beginning in the 9th century with the victory of icon renerators (Veneration of images: VI) is marked by the appearance of sacred and liturgical forms that were inte…


(1,605 words)

Author(s): Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Technique and Material – III. Theological Basis – IV. History I. Terminology The word icon, from Gk εἰκών/ eikṓn (“image, likeness”), is usually associated with egg-tempera paintings on a primed wood panel, used in the cult of the Eastern Orthodox churches (i.e. the churches that have accepted the Council of Chalcedon, but also a few pre-Chalcedonian churches such as the Coptic [Copts] and ¶ Ethiopian Orthodox Churches). Pictures are called icons only if they authentically represent a kind of sacramen…


(5 words)

[German Version] Thought


(849 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] Idea, in Greek ἰδέα/ idéa or εἶδος/ eídos, “form”; in pre-philosophical usage this means particularly the form of a human being (e.g. Plato Prot. 315e; Hom. Il. III 39; V 787; X 316). This also explains philosophical usage: since it is by their form that people are recognized, the idea can be generally that which makes something understandable. To perceive something that makes it what it is means the same as to perceive its idea. Plato uses this expression very early, using “idea” to distinguish between understanding an object and the object's actual existence. Thus Socrate…


(1,690 words)

Author(s): Mirbach, Dagmar | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Ethics I. Philosophy The term ideal derives from Lat. idealis, idealiter, first used by Martianus Capella ( ad ideam pertinens); from the 13th century on, it was used in two senses: (1) as existing in the Platonic “idea” or “archetypally” in the divine spirit ( esse exemplariter), and (2) as existing only as a model in the mind ( esse in intellectu). Systematically, the ideal lies between the poles of ideas and empirical reality. The ideal differs from the universality of ideas inasmuch as it individualizes an idea in a sin…

Ideal City

(508 words)

Author(s): Oechslin, Werner
[German Version] The concept of the ideal city is of modern provenience and controversial. The entire history of modern city founding is indebted to the early “ideal” patterns (Hippodamian checker-board pattern, radial geometric pattern) of urban layouts. The ancient sources compiled by Frontinus and Vitruvius yield the entire repertoire of inner forms (city entrance, streets, city square/forum) that still dominated the theory of city planning ( embellissement) in 18th-century France, from where it continued to influence modern city planning (Berlin city plann…


(1,891 words)

Author(s): Stolzenberg, Jürgen
[German Version] I. Forms of Idealism – II. German Idealism The term Idealism is used as a category in classifying philosophical theories and systems. Its opposite is materialism. A philosophical theory is Idealistic if it seeks to defend at least one of the following theses: (1) there are mental processes (Ideas) that are not reducible to material entities; (2) the objects of the physical world exist only in the mode of subjective ideas; (3) the objects of the physical world are accessible epistemically …


(2,915 words)

Author(s): Gephart, Werner | Schütt, Hans-Peter | Schlapkohl, Corinna | Stroh, Ralf | Mette, Norbert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics – V. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Identity is not in the classical repertoire of religious studies and the sociology of religion. But the central problem of social identity, formulated as a question, makes its religious significance obvious: “Where do we come from?” is answered by creation (I) myths that refer to an original identity; “Who are we?” and “Where are we going?” are answered by religious promises and conc…

Identity Philosophy

(9 words)

[German Version] Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph

Ideological Criticism

(257 words)

Author(s): Scott, Peter
[German Version] In critical/Western Marxism, ideological criticism is the criticism of ideas and discourses that obscure or misrepresent the true, emancipatory interests of social agents. If thought and social being do not coincide, as K. Marx argued, ideas may serve the dominant order and legitimate and sustain relations of domination. Ideological criticism thereby encompasses an epistemology for testing true and false knowledge and a critical theory of human freedom in society. Central to Weste…


(2,041 words)

Author(s): Bohlender, Matthias | Stoellger, Philipp | Lohmann, Friedrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Sociology of Knowledge I. Philosophy 1. The meaning of the word ideology cannot be separated from its historical use (a) as an epistemological term denoting a general theory of perceptions, ideas, and notions (ideo-logy), and (b) as a politico-philosophical term denoting a general critique of knowledge, an analysis intended to clear up false or distorted forms and objects of cognition (Ideological criticism). Although the origin of these two sides of ideology is usually traced to F. Bacon, Francis's discussion of “idols,” its theor…


(755 words)

Author(s): Römer, Thomas C. | Sandelin, Karl-Gustav
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament I. Old Testament The rejection of other gods (see also God, Representations and Symbols of) is, according to the Old Testament witness, a chief characteristic of Yahwism. Biblical Hebrew, however, has no word corresponding to the English “idols.” The texts that polemicize against other gods refer to them with various insults (e.g. “dung,” Ezek 22:3–4; “weaklings,” Ps 96:5; or “abominations,” Deut 29:16*). According to the current state of research, bib…

“I” (Ego)

(415 words)

Author(s): Stolzenberg, Jürgen
[German Version] The “I” or ego did not become a central concept of philosophy until the modern era. According to R. Descartes, the term denotes a substantial thinking being ( res cogitans) with immediate and indubitable knowledge of its own existence, on the basis of which it can be made the foundation of philosophy and all branches of knowledge. Since this certainty is attained without any knowledge of material bodies, it follows that the substance of the mind ( res cogitans) differs in reality from material substance ( res extensa). The question of the ontological status of the e…

“I” (Ego) Psychology

(385 words)

Author(s): Fraas, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] In S. Freud's understanding, the ego, along with the id and the super-ego, represents one of the three entities in the psychic system ( Das Ich und das Es, 1923; ET: The Ego and the Id, 1927). Its origin is not yet sufficiently explained in Freud's writings. Increased observation of the healthy personality (Personality/Personality psychology) and the influence of social factors (impact of A. Adler's individual psychology) and cultural factors led to the insight that the ego, as an expression of the continuity and u…
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