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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Labadie, Jean de

(465 words)

Author(s): Wallmann, Johannes
[German Version] (Feb 13, 1610, Bourg, near Bordeaux – Feb 12, 1674, Altona, near Hamburg). Labadie entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1625; in 1639, after theological studies (1636–1639) at Bordeaux and ordination to the priesthood, he obtained permission to leave the Jesuits and become a secular priest. He founded devotional communities in Paris and southern France, for a time showing some attraction to Jansenism. Soon he was struck by the idea of reforming the church after the model of the earlies…


(246 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] (λάβαρον, λάβωρον). According to Eusebius of Caesarea Vita Const. I 26–31 (cf. II 7; Autopsy), a labarum is a vexillum (military standard) with a Christogram at the top, medallions of the emperor and his sons, and drapery attached to a crossbar. Introduced in the context of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Oct 28, 312) with the victory over Maxentius, it appears to have originated in the (probably one and only) vision of Constantine the Great, during which he allegedly saw a solar cross …

Labbé (Labbeus), Philippe

(153 words)

Author(s): Decot, Rolf
[German Version] (Jul 10, 1607, Bourges – Mar 17, 1667, Paris), French Jesuit (1623), theologian, philologist, and editor of sources pertaining to church history. After lecturing in Caen, Bourges, and Paris, Labbé worked mainly as an author. An erudite compiler with many interests (geography, chronology, patristics, Byzantine studies), he wrote more than 80 works and was regarded as one of the leading scholars of his time. His most important publication is the compilation of the acts of the counci…


(5,199 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Ebach, Jürgen | Brakelmann, Günter | Ruh, Hans | Müller, Severin
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Sociology and Social History – IV. Economics – V. Theology and Social Ethics – VI. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Labor (or work) is an activity peculiar to human beings; it consists of acting purposefully to affect nature, which represents the raw material for labor. Unlike animals, human beings must deliberately transform nature, for example to produce tools, in order to use it to satisfy their needs. The term labor has overtones of both necessity and utility, whereas activities that often demand extraordin…

Laborer Priests

(252 words)

Author(s): Mette, Norbert
[German Version] Between 1941 and 1944, for various reasons (pastoral care for French forced laborers under German occupation, France as a missionary territory, acquaintance with the living conditions of the workers) a few diocesan and regular priests in France sought to establish contact with the working classes, most of whom were alienated from the church. To this end, they deliberately gave up their secure way of life to take jobs as workers, day laborers, etc. From this beginning, there grew t…

Labor Movement

(2,324 words)

Author(s): Besier, Gerhard
[German Version] I. Concept and Structure – II. Aims – III. History I. Concept and Structure Since the 1840s, the phrase labor movement has been a commonly accepted collective term for all European and North American self-help movements and self-protection movements pursuing the economic, political, and cultural emancipation of workers. Its organizational forms have included parties, trade unions, associations, and cooperative societies, with sometimes substantial national and regional differences. Ideologically w…


(700 words)

Author(s): Hiller, Stefan | Hutter, Manfred
[German Version] I. Minoan and Mycenaean Religion – II. Symbolism I. Minoan and Mycenaean Religion The Greek word λαβύρινϑος/ labýrinthos and the presumably cognate λάβρυς/ lábrys, “(double-headed) axe,” come from a non-Greek or pre-Greek language stratum, from which the Greeks borrowed them somewhere in the Aegean-Anatolian region. In Asia Minor the toponym Labranda in Caria, with its shrine and the archaic cultic image of Zeus wielding a labrys (“Zeus Labraundeus”), points to Crete, where myth identifies the labyrinth at Knossos, designed by …

La Chaise, François d'Aix de

(253 words)

Author(s): Geiss, Peter
[German Version] (Aug 25, 1624, Château d'Aix, Département Loire – Jan 20, 1709, Paris), S.J., was the father confessor of King Louis XIV for many years. After attending the Jesuit college in Roanne, La Chaise entered the Jesuit novitiate in Avignon in 1639. In 1668, he assumed the directorship of the college in Grenoble and became provincial of Lyon in 1674. In 1675, Louis XIV appointed him royal councilor and made him his personal father confessor at court, where La Chaise soon obtained the conf…


(535 words)

Author(s): Na'aman, Nadav
[German Version] was an important Canaanite and Israelite city in the Shephelah. Tel Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir) is located near the Lachish valley, a main route leading from the coastal plain to the Hebron hills. In 1929 W. Albright proposed its identification with Lachish and his suggestion is generally accepted today. The derivation of the name is unknown. Lachish was the most important Late Bronze Canaanite city in the southern Shephelah, and three of its kings are mentioned in the Amarna letters…

Lachmann, Johann

(168 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Tilman Matthias
[German Version] (1491, Heilbronn – 1538/1539, Heilbronn ) was the son of a bell founder. He gained his M.A. in Heidelberg in 1508 before studying law. In 1514, he became pastoral administrator in Heilbronn, ¶ where in 1521 he received the Dr.iur.utr. and took up a pastoral position. From 1524, Lachmann taught Reformation principles. He was a moderating influence during the Peasants' War, mediating between the council and the peasants. Later, he also strove for peaceful solutions with regard to the Anabaptists. In 1525, Lachmann signed the Syngramma Suevicum (J. Brenz). In subseque…

Lacordaire, Jean Baptiste Henri

(304 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Claus
[German Version] (name in religion: Henri-Dominique; May 5, 1802, Recey-sur-Ource – Nov 21, 1861, Sorèze), OP, preacher. After studying law in Dijon and brief legal practice in Paris, Lacordaire experienced a conversion and entered the seminary at Issy in 1824 (ordained to the priesthood in 1827). During the July Revolution of 1830, together with C. de Montalembert, he joined H. de Lamennais to found the newspaper L'Avenir with the motto “God and Freedom.” Its ideas were condemned in 1832 in the encyclical Mirari Vos. Lacordaire submitted, and broke with Lamennais. With his 18…

Lactantius, Lucius Caecilius Firmianus

(447 words)

Author(s): Pollmann, Karla
[German Version] (c. 250–325), Christian Latin writer. Lactantius pursued extensive literary and philosophical studies; one of his teachers was Arnobius the Elder. At some time prior to 300, he was summoned to Nicomedia by Diocletian to teach rhetoric. At the outset of persecutions of Christians under Diocletian (303), he resigned from his teaching position and began to write as an apologist for the Christian religion. Because of his polished Latin, he has been called a “Christian Cicero.” Circa 314/315, Constantine brought him to Trier to tutor Crispus. In the treatise De opificio D…

Lacunza y Díaz, Manuel de

(270 words)

Author(s): Delgado, Mariano
[German Version] (Jul 19, 1731, Santiago de Chile – Jun 17, 1801, Imola, Italy). Lacuza joined the Jesuits in 1747 in Santiago, where he preached and taught. In 1767, when the Jesuits were outlawed, he went into exile in Imola (then in the Papal States). There under the pseudonym Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra he composed an extensive work on the second coming of Christ and the conversion of the Jews, in which he espoused a moderate chiliasm (Millenarianism/ Chiliasm). It first appeared in print in 1824, u…


(133 words)

Author(s): Zauzich, Maria-Christine
[German Version] 1. Spanish-speaking Indios (Native American Indians); in Mexico and Central America, “mestizos” of white and Indian parentage. 2. In Latin America, also synonymous with “devious, crafty” ( ladino). 3. Jews in the Mediterranean region who speak the Judeo-Spanish language. 4. Obsolete name for Rhaetians. 5. In Guatemala today, all whites or people of mixed ancestry. There is an ethnic conflict between the Ladino minority and the indigenous Maya. Originally the Maya discriminated against the Ladinos as “bastar…

Laestadius, Lars Levi

(249 words)

Author(s): Laasonen, Pentti
[German Version] (Jan 10, 1800, Piteå, Sweden – Feb 21, 1861, Pajala). From 1825 to 1848, Laestadius served as pastor in Karesuando, a village in northern Sweden where most of the people spoke Finnish or Northern Sami; from 1826 to 1849, he served as pastor in Pajala. There he began a vigorous campaign against ¶ the widespread alcoholism in Sámpi. He was a strict preacher of repentance, who attacked “whoremongers and drunkards,” but he was also an elegant pulpit orator, employing nuanced verbal imagery. Having experienced a conversion in Pajala, in …

La Faye, Antoine

(193 words)

Author(s): Sallmann, Martin
[German Version] (1540, Châteaudun – Sep 1615, Geneva [plague]), Reformed theologian. Little is known of his youth and education. La Faye arrived in Geneva in 1561 and became a citizen in 1568. Enjoying the patronage of T. Beza, La Faye's career is characterized by a steady but controversial advancement: lecturer at the Collège, doctor of medicine in Padua (1574), director of the Collège (1575), lecturer in philosophy at the academy, professor of philosophy (1578–1580), professor of theology (1581…

Lafitau, Joseph-François

(203 words)

Author(s): Zorn, Jean-François
[German Version] (May 31, 1681, Bordeaux – Jul 3, 1746, Bordeaux), Jesuit missionary in Québec. From 1712 to 1717 and from 1727 to 1729, Lafitau worked among the Native American Indians (II, 1; Hurons, Iroquois) in the mission at Sault Saint-Louis. After returning to France in 1717, he published a memoir on his discovery of ginseng in America and in 1724 his Mœurs des sauvages amériquains comparées aux mœurs des premiers temps, in which he contrasted his observations to those of other ethnographers as well as the missionary reports ( Relations) of the Jesuits. He compared the ethos o…

Lagarde, Paul Anton de

(574 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] (to 1854: P.A. Bötticher; Nov 2, 1827, Berlin – Dec 22, 1891, Göttingen), Near ¶ Eastern scholar and cultural philosopher. Lagarde may be considered a classic representative of modern intellectual religiosity (Religiousness among intellectuals); thanks to his great sensitivity to the antagonism between social modernization and purposive-rational conduct of life, he sought through religio-historical research to instigate a national religious renewal of German culture. An unhappy childhood resulted in a labile psychological constitution and a pr…

Lagerkvist, Pär

(317 words)

Author(s): Sandberg, Hans-Joachim
[German Version] (May 23, 1891, Växjö, Sweden – Jul 11, 1974, Stockholm). Lagerkvist grew up with a conflicted relationship to the narrowness and protectiveness of Free Church religiosity. His childhood fear of the numinous laid the groundwork for an oeuvre dominated by the dark side of human existence. His endeavor to survive the acid test of life, to see good triumph over evil, is manifest in the range of his titles: Ångest (Anguish;1916); Kaos (Chaos;1919); Onda sagor (Evil yales;1924); Det besegrade livet (The triumph over life; 1927); Bödeln (1933, dramatized 1934; ET: “The H…

Lagerlöf, Selma Ottilia Lovisa

(350 words)

Author(s): Sander, Ulrike-Christine
[German Version] (Nov 20, 1858, Mårbacka estate, Värmland – Mar 16, 1940, Mårbacka), Swedish author and Nobel laureate (1909). Her very first novel, Gösta Berlings saga (1891; ET: The Story of Gösta Berling, 1898), in neo-Romantic style, attracted national and international attention. The initial misestimation of her as a “naïve” author drawing unconsciously on oral tradition soon yielded to the realization that she was employing an advanced, artistically mature, architectonically detailed narrative technique (intertextuality,…
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