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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Kaas, Ludwig

(183 words)

Author(s): Körner, Hans-Michael
[German Version] (May 23, 1881, Trier – Apr 25, 1952, Rome, Vatican City), is one of the most controversial figures of German political Catholicism. Much influenced by his studies in Rome, and from 1920 a close confidant of Eugenio Pacelli, the later Pope Pius XII, he entered politics as a Centrist member in the Weimar National Assembly in 1919. He was a member of the Reichstag from 1920 to 1933, and chair of the Center Party (Parties: III) from 1928 to 1933. Probably in ignorance of the totalitar…


(204 words)

Author(s): Grabar, Oleg
[German Version] ( Kaʿaba; Arab. for “cube”). A stone construction measuring 12×10×15 m in the center of the great mosque in Mecca (II). A hall was built above it around 700 ce, and in the 8th century (there were further extensions later) a courtyard and colonnade were added; inside there is a windowless room with three columns. The story that it was built by an Egyptian Christian carpenter is dubious and may reflect the later Islamic tendency to downplay the possible accomplishments of pre-Islamic times. The Kaʿba has a simp…


(321 words)

Author(s): Podskalsky, Gerhard | Congourdeau, Marie-Hélène
[German Version] 1. Neilos Metropolitan of Thessalonica 1361–1363 (baptismal name: Nikolaos; end of the 13th cent., Thessalonica – 1363, Thessalonica), was the uncle of the more famous theologian Nikolaos Kabasilas (2.). After the synod of 1341, he changed from a fervent admirer of Thomas Aquinas ( Summa theologica; Summa contra Gentiles, in the translation by his student D. Cydones) to a polemical adherent of Palamism which radically rejected the scholastic method (on the major points: filioque , papal primacy), and, consequently, was also elected…


(1,981 words)

Author(s): Kilcher, Andreas | Dan, Joseph
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Jewish Kabbalah – III. Christian Kabbalah I. Philosophy of Religion Since c. 1200, Kabbalah has been the designation for Jewish mysticism (III, 2). According to the name, the term Kabbalah means “reception” or “tradition”: the reception of an orally transmitted, esoteric knowledge concerning the “secrets of Scripture” ( rasin de oraita; sitre tora). The material that can be considered Kabbalah can be described in terms of (a) the philosophy of religion or phenomenology, or (b) history. A phenomenologica…


(257 words)

Author(s): Horstmann, Monika
[German Version] (born in the first half of the 15th cent.?) was a poet-saint from northern India. He was born into an Islamized lower Hindu caste of weavers in which the Tantric tradition (Tantrism) of the Nāthyogīs was cultivated. His activities are linked with Benares and Magahar (near Gorakhpur). Kabīr is considered the most significant poet of the Sant- Bhakti. A monistic ontology and the emphasis on human mo…

Kabisch, Richard

(324 words)

Author(s): Lachmann, Rainer
[German Version] (May 21, 1868, Kemnitz near Greifswald – Oct 30, 1914, Flanders). The son of a Pomeranian pastor, he studied German language and literature as well as history from 1885, and then Protestant theology in Greifswald and Bonn. In 1889, he completed his doctorate and became curate in Saarbrücken. In 1891, he was appointed director of a Latin school in Altenkirchen, in 1892 he became lecturer in the seminary, and from 1903 to 1910 he was the director of the seminaries in Uetersen, Holstein, and later Prenzlau. In 1910, he became royal senior executive officer (


(5 words)

[German Version] Qaddish


(327 words)

Author(s): Na'aman, Nadav
[German Version] An oasis in northern Sinai, on the southern border of Canaan (Num 34:4; Ezek 47:19; 48:48) and a station on the way from Egypt to Beer-Sheba and from the coast of Philistia to the Gulf of Eilat. Its name is derived from the West Semitic root qdš (“holy”); the meaning of the second element (“Barnea”) is unknown. It is also known by the names En-mishpat (Gen 14:7) and “waters of Meribah”/ “Meribath kadesh”. According to the biblical tradition, Kadesh played an important role in the early history of Israel. After the departure f…


(5 words)

[German Version] Qāḍi

Kafka, Franz

(1,412 words)

Author(s): Reuß, Roland
[German Version] (Aug 3, 1883, Prague – Jun 3, 1924, Kierling near Vienna). The son of Hermann Kafka and Julie Kafka ( née Löwy), Franz Kafka grew up in a middle-class Prague family of assimilated Jews; his father's shop sold fashion accessories. He studied law at the Charles University in Prague, graduating in 1906. His earliest extant writings date from this period – letters describing his first job with the insurance firm Assicurazioni Generali in 1908, then his employment with the Workers' Accident Insurance Inst…


(720 words)

Author(s): Bassi, Hasko v. | Schröder, Markus
[German Version] 1. Theodor Christian Heinrich Mar 18, 1847, Loit near Apenrade, North Schleswig – Nov 26, 1932, Baden-Baden). Rooted in the cultural and religious milieu of North Schleswig and marked by the German-Danish border conflict…

Kagawa Toyohiko

(284 words)

Author(s): Dohi, Akio
[German Version] (Jul 10, 1888, Kobe – Apr 23, 1960, Tokyo). Kagawa was baptized by an American missionary in 1904. In 1909 he began his own missionary work in the slums of Kobe, where he preached the gospel to people suffering from the dehumanizing results of poverty. In 1917, after studying at Princeton University and Theological Seminary, he led workers' and peasants' movements to establish human rights, with a view to putting the redemptive love of Christ into practice. In 1923, at the time of the Kanto eart…

Kähler, Martin

(1,222 words)

Author(s): Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] (Jan 6, 1835, Neuhausen, near Königsberg (Kaliningrad) – Sep 7, 1912, Freudenstadt). Kähler, the son of a Lutheran pastor, grew up in Neuhausen, near Königsberg, and after 1841 in Preussisch Holland (Pa…

Kahl, Wilhelm

(205 words)

Author(s): Landau, Peter
[German Version] (Jun 17, 1849, Kleinheubach – May 14, 1932 Berlin), professor of church, civil and criminal law in Rostock (1879–1881), Erlangen (1883–1888), Bonn (1888–1895), and Berlin (after 1895). His scholarly work initially included church law, beginning with a monograph on the important Temporaliensperre [1876, Suspension of temporalities] which was important in the Kulturkampf . His principal work on church law is the Lehrsystem des Kirchenrechts und der Kirchenpolitik [1894, System of church law and church politics], whose separately published first section dealt almost exclusively with state church law. It also contained principles of church politics, in which Kahl rejected the separation of church and state, but proposed the ethical equality of church and state while authority over the church would rest with the st…

Kahnis, Karl Friedrich August

(160 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] (Dec 22, 1814, Greiz, Vogtland – Jun 20, 1888, Leipzig). Kahnis became associate professor in Breslau (Warcław) in 1844 and professor of dogmatics in Leipzig in 1850. He emerged as a proponent of a moderate Lutheran confessionalism which is evident from his major work Die lutherische Dogmatik historisch-genetisch dargestellt [Lutheran dogmatics presented historically and genetically] (3 vols., 1861–1868; 2 vols., 21874/1875). His theology emphasizes Scripture and confession. In opposition to K.I. Nitzsch, he was critical of union (Unions, …

Kaïris, Theophilos

(191 words)

Author(s): Papaderos, Alexandros
[German Version] (Oct 19, 1784, Andros – Jan 9, 1853, Syros), Greek Orthodox priest monk and a philosopher of the Enlightenment. He studied philosophy and natural science in Pisa and Paris, where he formed a friendship with A. Korais. He was headmaster in Smyrna and Kydonia, and took part in the Greek War of Independence (from 1821). He founded an orphanage on ¶ the island of Andros (1835), where he taught his scientific and theophilanthropic ideas. The political turmoils of his times, the spiritual and sociocultur…


(432 words)

Author(s): Englert, Rudolf
[German Version] The Greek term καιρός/ kairós refers to the quality of a time: what it is good for (in contrast to χρόνος/ chrónos [Chronology], which also means “time” in Gk, but points to the quantitative aspect of time: to the time someone needs to do something). The quality of a time cannot be measured like the time of day, but can only be deduced through experience and intuition, by interpreting the “signs of the time”: as the moment at which it is time for something, the right time or the fruitful moment. The i…

Kaiser, Georg

(264 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Nov 25, 1878, Magdeburg – Jun 4, 1945, Ascona), wrote more than 70 dramas and is considered one of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th century. He was one of the most staged authors of the 1920s and an important representative of Berlin's literary intellectualism, but sank into oblivion after 1933. From a thematic and formal point of view, Kaiser's dramas are strongly influenced by Expressionism. In his two-part drama Gas (1918/1920), he denounces the exploitation and functionalization forced upon the human being by modernism and industrializa…


(444 words)

Author(s): Götzelmann, Arnd
[German Version] Kaiserswerth, now part of the city of Düsseldorf, is well known in church and diaconal circles for the oldest deaconess institute there, which was founded in 1836 by T. and F. Fliedner (Diakonia center). This cradle of the “female diakonia” became the world center for motherhouses and associations on the Fliedner model. Today's “Kaiserswerther Diakonie” in Düs-¶ seldorf with a total of 2,136 workers (as of October 1999) includes the motherhouse and its retirement homes with 175 deaconesses (166 of them retired), 112 diaconal sisters and…

Kalands Brethren

(214 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Bernd Christian
[German Version] ( fratres calendarii). In the late Middle Ages, Kalands Brethren were religious brotherhoods (II, 1; fraternitates), widespread especially in ¶ lower Saxony, membership in which was generally reserved for priests. One can divide the widely varied, guild-like alliances, named Kalands Brethren since the 13th century (after their worship assemblies on the calends of each month), into parish Kalands Brethren, Kalands Brethren founded by the nobility, and – only in northern Germany – the “Sedes Kalands Br…
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