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.

Subscriptions: see

Leipoldt, Johannes

(192 words)

Author(s): Haufe, Günther
[German Version] (Dec 20, 1880, Dresden – Feb 22, 1965, Ahrenshoop). Dr.phil. in 1903, Lic.theol. in 1905, Privatdozent in church history in Leipzig from 1905, then in Halle from 1906, associate professor in Halle in 1909, professor of New Testament in Kiel from 1909, in Münster from 1914, in Leipzig from 1916, made professor emeritus in 1959, visiting lecturer in Rostock from 1959. Leipoldt was one of the most distinguished historians of religion in his time, had a command of several Near Eastern languages, and…

Leipzig Disputation (1519)

(8 words)

[German Version] Luther, Martin

Leipzig Disputation (1827)

(8 words)

[German Version] Hahn, August

Leipzig Mission

(269 words)

Author(s): van der Heyden, Ulrich
[German Version] Leipzig Mission, a mission society founded by Lutherans in Dresden on Aug 17, 1836, as a follow-up to a support association that had been organized in 1819 to assist the Basel Mission and which moved to Leipzig in 1848. From 1832 to 1848, as a “preliminary school” it began training missionaries for the Basel Mission. Following the intention of its first director K. Graul (1844–1860), the society was to become the mission-dedicated rallying point of German-speaking Lutheranism. The…

Leipzig, University

(1,215 words)

Author(s): Wartenberg, Günther
[German Version] The rising commercial city of Leipzig was shaped by the development of the land by the Wettins, with recognition as a city c. 1165, as well as by the founding of St. Thomas, a seminary of Augustinian Canons, in 1212 and of the Dominican monastery in 1229. The establishment of the University of Leipzig on Dec 2, 1409 (confirmed by Pope Alexander V on Sep 9, 1409), as a consequence of the Western Schism of 1378, bundled the interests of the masters of the Prague Schools of Arts and …

Leisure Time

(1,098 words)

Author(s): Siemann, Jutta
[German Version] I. Concept; Social History – II. Social Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Concept; Social History 1. The concept of free (or leisure) time derives from a period of legal immunity in the Middle Ages. The German word Freizeit still used today for a religious retreat (E. Wunderlich, “Freizeiten,” RGG 3 III, 1958, 1122–1124). The notion of leisure time made its appearance in the context of industrialization and the struggle of trade unions for extended periods of rest for workers. Sociology treats it as the opposite of labor, wi…

Le Maistre Family

(187 words)

Author(s): Strohm, Christoph
[German Version] The three Le Maistre brothers were Jansenist theologians (Jansenism). The oldest, Antoine (May 2, 1608, Paris – Nov 4, 1658, Port Royal), was a successful lawyer in Paris and came under the influence of J. Duvergier de Hauranne, one of the first hermits in Port-Royal Abbey. Known for his piety, Antoine wrote apologies and, among other writings, also a biography of Bernard of Clairvaux. He began a Bible translation that was continued by the youngest brother, Isaac Louis (Mar 29, 1613, Paris – Jan 4, 1684, Pomponne; called Le Maistre de Sacy), who was the mo…

Leme da Silveira Cintra, Sebastião

(188 words)

Author(s): Bosl v. Papp, Katharina
[German Version] Leme da Silveira Cintra, Sebastião, (1882, Pinhal, São Paulo – Oct 17, 1942, Rio de Janeiro) was ordained priest in 1904 and consecrated bishop in 1911 in Rome. From 1916 to 1921, he was archbishop of Olinda and Recife, then bishop in 1921, and on Apr 18, 1930, he became archbishop of Rio de Janeiro. On Jun 5, 1930, he was appointed cardinal. He had a considerable influence on the shape of Catholic life in Brazil during the First Republic (1889–1930) and the authoritarian regime o…

Lempp, Albert

(141 words)

Author(s): Nicolaisen, Carsten
[German Version] (Feb 13, 1884, Heutingsheim, Württemberg – Jun 9, 1943, Starnberg) became the owner of the Christian Kaiser publishing house in Munich in 1911. At first Lempp's emphasis was on Bavarian liberal Protestantism (C. Geyer, F. Rittelmeyer), but then he became – with G. Merz as his theological consultant – the publishing pioneer and promoter of the works and series of K. Barth and his friends (Dialectical theology), without neglecting the Bavarian tradition and Lutheran theology. In the so-called Kirchenkampf (National Socialism: I), a circle of critical theologi…

Lenau, Nikolaus

(105 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Thomas
[German Version] Lenau, Nikolaus, (actually Niembsch Edler von Strehlenau; Aug 13, 1802, Csatád, Hungary – Aug 22, 1850, sanatorium Oberdöbling, Austria) was an Austrian lyric poet and writer of epic verse, who combined melancholy with traits of rebellion and social criticism, and was thus exemplary of the inner conflict of his epoch (Biedermeier, Vormärz ). He wrote atmospheric nature lyrics of great musicality, but also wrote poetry with a commitment to intellectual and political freedom. He employed material from the history o…

Lengeling, Emil Joseph

(178 words)

Author(s): Richter, Klemens
[German Version] (May 26, 1916, Dortmund – Jun 18, 1986, Münster), a Catholic theologian. In 1941, he was ordained priest; in 1959, he became professor of liturgical studies at the University of Münster; from 1962 to 1965, council adviser at Vatican II. In 1964, he was consultant to the committee for carrying out the liturgical constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium and to the Roman Congregation for Divine Worship. He was also the facilitator of several study groups on the renewal of the liturgy, which, as the dialogue between God and human beings, was for him the basic accom-¶ plishment of t…


(967 words)

Author(s): Jähnichen, Traugott
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Marxism-Leninism as a Worldview – III. The Leninist Concept of the Party – IV. The Leninist Theory of Revolution – V. Assessment I. Concept In various writings immediately after the death of V. Lenin, J. Stalin coined the term “Leninism” to characterize Marxist theory as elaborated by Lenin. Since the 1920s, the communist parties (Communism) have placed Lenin's writings, in canonical fashion, alongside the works of K. Marx and F. Engels. In the self- concept of the Soviet Communist move…

Lenin, Vladimir Ilich

(440 words)

Author(s): Jähnichen, Traugott
[German Version] (Apr 22, 1870, Simbirsk [now Ulyanovsk] – Jan 21, 1924, Gorki [now Gorki Leninskiye], near Moscow; pseudonym since 1901 of V. Ilich Ulyanov). On Nov 8, 1917, after the successful October Revolution, the theoretician, organizer, and widely influential spokesman of the radical, Bolshevik wing of Russian social democracy was elected “chairman of the Council of People's Commissars,” thus becoming the head of the Soviet Russian government. In his theoretical works and through his political activity, he laid the foundations of Soviet communism. When he began to study…


(5 words)

[German Version] Fasting

Lenten Pastoral Letters

(180 words)

Author(s): Gessel, Wilhelm M.
[German Version] Lenten pastoral letters are a special form of episcopal communication at the beginning of Lent (Fasting). The earliest prototypes are the Epistles of the apostles and the letters to local communities in the post-apostolic period. Beginning in the 18th century, these letters took on increasing importance in Germany as Lenten pastoral letters. It is important to distinguish didactic letters from those dealing with ethical, pastoral, and social questions. These letters go back to the…

Lenten Sermon

(6 words)

[German Version] Fasting

Lentulus, Letter of

(247 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] The Letter of Lentulus is an apocryphal “contemporary” description of Jesus' personality and appearance: long, dark brown hair, parted in the middle and curling below his ears, a short, slightly forked beard, bluish-gray eyes; a handsome, serious radiance (cf. Ps 45:3*). First mentioned c. 1350 by Ludolf the Carthusian, it probably dates from the 13th or 14th century (Italy?). It is preserved in manuscripts dating from the 14th through the 16th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries…


(564 words)

Author(s): Soboth, Christian
[German Version] 1. Christian David (Dec 26, 1720, Köslin [Koszalin], Pomerania – Aug 14, 1798, Riga), Lutheran theologian. In 1737 he began theological studies in Halle. In 1739 he was appointed tutor at the girls' school of the Halle orphanage; in 1740/1741 he served as a private tutor in Livonia and from 1742 held various pastorates there. In 1779 he was appointed general superintendent of Livonia. Beginning in 1741, he kept a journal based on the blood-and-wounds theology of N. v. Zinzendorf. In …

Leo Baeck Institute

(158 words)

Author(s): Römer, Nils
[German Version] The Leo Baeck Institute was established in Jerusalem, London, and New York in 1955 by the Council of Jews from Germany in order to promote the study of German Jewish history (L. Baeck). The New York institute has a library of 60,000 volumes, ¶ a large art collection, and extensive archives. A branch has been housed since 2001 in the Jewish Museum Berlin. The institute's Yearbook has been published in London since 1956, while its Bulletin has been published in Jerusalem, joined recently by the Jüdischer Almanach. In Germany the institute supports a Wissenschaftliche…

Leo, Heinrich

(361 words)

Author(s): Maltzahn, Christoph Frhr.v.
[German Version] (Mar 19, 1799, Rudolstadt – Apr 24, 1878, Halle), Protestant historian. After studying classical philology, philosophy, theology, and history, Leo was appointed associate professor in Berlin in 1825; in 1830 he was appointed full professor in Halle, where he served as rector from 1854 to 1856. After 1832 he was a political conservative and a pietist with catholicizing leanings. He conceptualized his ideal of an organic and systematic state in accordance with the Romantic notion of…

Leo III, Pope (Saint)

(362 words)

Author(s): E.v. Padberg, Lutz
[German Version] (pope Dec 26, 795 – Jun 12, 816). Born a Roman, Leo was a cleric of the basilica of St. John Lateran and cardinal priest of Sta. Susanna; on the same day Hadrian I was buried, he was “unanimously” elected pope. When he sent notice of his election to Charlemagne, he sent with it the keys to the tomb of Peter and the banner of Rome, strengthening ¶ Charlemagne's ties to the papacy by recognizing him as patricius of the Romans. Assaulted on Apr 25, 799, by assailants from the Roman opposition hoping to render him unfit for office, he fled to the kingdom of th…

Leo I, Pope (Saint)

(440 words)

Author(s): Wyrwa, Dietmar
[German Version] (pope Sep 29, 440 – Nov 10, 461). Born to a Tuscan family, Leo early on played an influential role among the clergy in Rome, where he came forward with important initiatives and measures ¶ to protect the purity of the faith. From his pontificate there survives a substantial literary corpus: 173 letters (30 addressed to him) and 97 sermons. In combination with some other material, this corpus documents his pontificate in considerable detail. The fact that he and Gregory the Great are the only popes honored with the epithet the Great reflects his towering historical impor…

Leo IV, Pope (Saint)

(319 words)

Author(s): Herbers, Klaus
[German Version] (pope Apr 10, 847 – Jul 17, 855). The son of the Roman Radoald, under Pope Gregory IV Leo was made subdeacon and under Pope Sergius II cardinal priest of Santi Quattro Coronati. Already elected in January of 847, he was consecrated by the Romans without imperial assent, supposedly because of the Saracen threat. In the light of earlier depredations, Leo's concern for the city of Rome and the Patrimonium Petri was especially intense (cf. the Civitas Leonina). With the support of southern Italy and Roman militias, Leo confronted the Saracens in 849 near Ostia…

Leo IX, Pope (Saint)

(296 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Wilfried
[German Version] (Bruno von Egisheim, born 1002; pope Feb 12, 1049 – Apr 19, 1054). Court chaplain to Conrad II, then bishop of Toul (1026–1051), Leo was appointed pope in December of 1048 by Henry III. After election by the clergy and people of Rome, he was enthroned on Feb 12, 1049. In numerous synods, Leo urged the need for reforming the church (elimination of simony and concubinage). On his journeys in Italy, France, and Germany, he presided over many dedications of churches and translations o…

Leonardo da Vinci

(546 words)

Author(s): Warnke, Martin
[German Version] (Apr 15, 1452, near Vinci – May 2, 1519, Amboise), Florentine universal artist, scientist, engineer, and theoretician. Born the illegitimate son of a notary and a young peasant woman, he was apprenticed around 1469 to the painter and sculptor Verrocchio. His drawing of a valley dated Aug 5, 1473, is one of the very earliest landscape pictures. In 1481 Leonardo began an Adoration of the Magi (Florence, Uffizi). Although it remained unfinished, its pyramidal triangular composition coupled with the extremely varied movements and gestures of the fi…

Leonard, Saint

(195 words)

Author(s): Padberg, Lutz E.v.
[German Version] (feast day Nov 6). There is no historic documentation of his life, but his vita and legend, which appeared around 1030 with the aim of disseminating what has hitherto been only a local cult, place him in the 6th century. They identify him as a monk in Micy who became a solitary in Noblac, near Limoges ¶ (today Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat), where he founded a monastery. He is said to have been baptized and instructed by Bishop Remigius of Reims and to have been at the court of Clovis. His cult quickly expanded to France, England, Italy, and …

Léonin and Pérotin

(356 words)

Author(s): Körndle, Franz
[German Version] (also the school of Notre Dame). According to an English music student in Paris at the end of the 13th century (Anonymous 4), Léonin was the most significant composer of organa ( optimus organista; Organum) in Paris in the period before 1200 (?). If he was an actual historical person, he might be identified with Leonius, a poet born c. 1135. Leonius appears to have earned a master's degree prior to 1179; by 1192 at the latest, he was a priest and a canon of Notre Dame. Probably he did not occupy the position of cantor or succentor. His major work is the Hystorie sacre gestas ab ori…

Leon, Moses ben Shem Tov de

(156 words)

Author(s): Dan, Joseph
[German Version] (1240, Leon – 1305, Arevalo), the greatest Jewish mystic in the Middle Ages and the main author of the book Zohar, the central work of the Kabbalah. De Leon mainly studied Jewish philosophy and the writings of M. Maimonides, but later devoted himself to the teachings of the Gerona circle of kabbalists and the kabbalists of Castile. He wrote the Zohar pseudepigraphically, attributing it to ancient sages; it was composed mainly between 1280 and 1291 and most of it is in an artificial Aramaic which De Leon formulated, though sections were pro…

Leontius of Byzantium

(602 words)

Author(s): Uthemann, Karl-Heinz
[German Version] (c. 490 – shortly after 542) was one of the hermits of the new laura, mentioned in the Vita Sabae by Cyril of Scythopolis (CPG 7536), who accompanied Sabas to Constantinople in 531 and there defended the dogma of Chalcedon against Monophysites, although he is supposed to have been an Origenist. Since Marcel Richard's critique, anticipated by P. Junglas (1908), of F. Loofs's hypothesis (1887), only five christological treatises transmitted as a corpus are attributed to this Leontius. Since no hint of…

Leontius of Jerusalem

(358 words)

Author(s): Uthemann, Karl-Heinz
[German Version] Leontius of Jerusalem, author of two christological treatises (538–544 ce; Neo-Chalcedonism), for which there is as yet no critical edition. Both address the aporias of the author's opponents: Monophysites (CPG 6917) and Nestorians (CPG 6918; Nestorianism). F. Loofs (1887) considered both works nothing more than revised writings of Leontius of Byzantium, but since Marcel Richard's criticism of Loofs's position in 1944, they have been held in much higher esteem, even by scholars who disagre…


(210 words)

Author(s): Küchler, Max
[German Version] Leontopolis, (Arab. Tell el-Yahudiyeh), an Egyptian city situated approx. 20 km to the north of Heliopolis and attested since the Old Kingdom (Egypt). A fortress during the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period, it was endowed with sanctuaries in the New Kingdom (A.-P. Zivie, VI, 1985f., 331–335). According to Strabo and Flavius Josephus (both: Ant. XII 387f.; XIII 62–73), Onias IV purified the ruined temple in Leontopolis around 160 bce and, in allusion to Isa 19:19 (“an altar in the midst of Egypt”), erected a Jewish temple and an al…

Leontyev, Konstantin Nikolaevič

(158 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] (Leont'ev; Jan 13, 1831, Kudinovo near Kaluga – Nov 12, 1891, Sergiev Posad), was initially a physician before entering the diplomatic service and finally becoming a censor. As a cultural philosopher, his worldview was shaped by aesthetic considerations. Beauty in the sense of diversity, power, and fullness was for him an objective fact. He thus became the advocate of Byzantine theocracy, ¶ aristocracy, and popular culture against democratic liberalism, petit-bourgeois attitudes, and egalitarianism. His return to the Orthodox faith following…

Leo of Ochrid

(199 words)

Author(s): Brennecke, Hanns Christof
[German Version] Leo of Ochrid, 11th-century Byzantine theologian, chartophylax of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, after 1025 in Achrida/Ochrid as autocephalous archbishop of Bulgaria under Byzantine rule. To support the anti-Western campaigns of the patriarch Michael Cerularius, in 1053 Leo composed an encyclical to “the Franks” ( RAPC 2, no. 862), addressed to the southern Italian bishop John of Trani, in which he attacked Western liturgical practices (Saturday fasting, unleavened bread in the Eucharist) as Judaizing heresy. Commissioned b…

Leo VI

(164 words)

Author(s): Tinnefeld, Franz
[German Version] (Sep 19, 866, Constantinople – May 11, 912, Constantinople), Byzantine co-emperor from Jun 1, 870, and emperor from Aug 29, 886; a major lawgiver and man of letters, student of Patriarch Photius of Constantinople, propagandistically called “the Wise” after the analogy of King Solomon in the Old Testament (cf. ByZ 88, 1995, 531, no. 2459). Leo's works include sermons, liturgical hymns, and a work on monastic asceticism. After his first three spouses died, in 906 he entered into a fourth marriage, prohibited by Byzantine (but not …

Leo XIII, Pope

(485 words)

Author(s): Wassilowsky, Günther
[German Version] (Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci, born Aug 2, 1810, Carpineto; pope Feb 20, 1878 – Jul 20, 1903). In the history of the papacy, Leo will be remembered above all as a political realist and the author of the first official Catholic social ethics (Catholic social teaching); his international diplomacy earned him his reputation as “the most significant pope of the 19th century” (Schwaiger). In the wake of the intransigent opposition of his predecessor Pius IX to the states that had emerged …

Leo XII, Pope

(410 words)

Author(s): Burkard, Dominik
[German Version] (Annibale Della Genga, born Aug 22, 1760, Spoleto; pope Sep 28, 1823 – Feb 10, 1829). Educated at the Accademia pontificia de'nobili ecclesiastici, he was ordained priest in 1783 and appointed private secretary to Pius VI in 1792; in 1793 he was made titular bishop of Tyre. In 1794 he was appointed nuncio to Cologne, but wartime confusion made it generally necessary for him to reside in Augsburg. There (with the aid of the uditore P. Dumont) he developed a network of informants that exerted great influence on Rome's German policy well into the 1820s. Re…

Leo X, Pope

(289 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Bernd Christian
[German Version] (Giovanni de' Medici, born Dec 11, 1475, Florence; pope Mar 11, 1513 [election] – Dec 11, 1521). The second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, he was made cardinal in 1489, but he had to leave Florence after the fall of the Medici in 1494 (G. Savonarola); in the north (Bologna, Germany, Flanders, France), he ¶ developed his interests in art, wealth, and power. Coming to Rome in 1500, he was able to use his wide-ranging relationships to restore his political influence and return to Florence in 1512. After election as pope on Mar 11, 1513,…


(7 words)

[German Version] Clean and Unclean

Leprosy Mission

(97 words)

Author(s): Grundmann, Christoffer H.
[German Version] is (a) a blanket term for Christian efforts to care for the human beings suffering from leprosy in overseas countries, especially from the 19th century onward, and (b) a designation used of the Mission to Lepers (today: Leprosy Mission International, London), a relief organization founded by the Irish Protestant W.C. Bailey in 1874/1878. Christoffer H. Grundmann Bibliography A.D. Miller, An Inn Called Wellcome, 1965 R. Brown, “Leprosy and the Church,” NCE VIII, 1967, 670 – 672 S.G. Browne, “The Christian Contribution to Leprosy and Tuberculosis,” in: idem, ed., Heral…

Lepsius, Johannes

(715 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] (Dec 15, 1858, Berlin – Feb 3, 1926, Merano), Protestant clergyman, after 1896 head of the humanitarian Armenian relief organization. Lepsius was the son of the famous Egyptologist Carl Richard Lepsius. His mother Elisabeth, a neo-Pietist supporter of J.H. Wichern's Inland Mission, played a decisive role in his religious development. He studied philosophy (doctorate in 1880) and theology with A. Cremer, as advised by F. Fabri. He served as curate and teacher with the German Protes…

Le Quien, Michel

(209 words)

Author(s): Podskalsky, Gerhard
[German Version] (Oct 8, 1661, Boulogne-sur-Mer – Mar 12, 1733, Paris), church historian, philologist, and controversial theologian. In 1681, he entered the Dominican order. In 1690 he published a monograph defending the Hebrew text of the Bible and the Vulgate translation, and between 1725 and 1731 he wrote several works on the invalidity of Anglican ordinations. In 1712, he had already published the works of John of Damascus in two volumes (PG 94–96; a third volume of “traces” never appeared). A…

Lérins Islands

(272 words)

Author(s): Elm, Susanna
[German Version] Lérins Islands, a group of islands 4 km south of Cannes, known since Strabo and Pliny the Elder as Lero (Ste. Marguerite) and Lerinum (St. Honorat). The islands acquired a certain distinction c. 400/410 when Honoratus of Arles founded an ascetic community of leading members of the Gallo-Roman aristocracy there, based on Egyptian cenobitic and eremitic models (Evagrius Ponticus, John Cassian). Ascetics and their families lived on the two largest islands – e.g. Eucherius of Lyon, hi…

Le Roy, Edouard

(191 words)

Author(s): Kracht, Klaus Große
[German Version] (Jun 18, 1870, Paris – Nov 9, 1954, Paris), mathematician and philosopher. After studying at the École Normale Supérieure, he began to teach at various grammar schools in Paris in 1919, and in the same year he became a member of the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques. In 1921, he followed H. Bergson at the Collège de France, and in 1945 he became a member of the Académie Française. On the foundation of a philosophy of religion based on a pragmatic philosophy of life, and …

Léry, Jean de

(235 words)

Author(s): Dreher, Martin N.
[German Version] (1534, Lamargelle, Burgundy – 1613, Isle-près-Montrichet, Switzerland), a shoemaker who studied theology in Geneva and became a Huguenot pastor (Huguenots). From 1556 to 1558, he moved to the Protestant colony France Antarctique (outside of Rio de Janeiro), which had been founded in 1555 by N. de Villegaignon in the bay of Rio de Janeiro under the patronage of G. de Coligny and which existed until 1558. His Brazilian Journal, begun on Nov 19, 1556 in the harbor of Hanfleur and finished in 1558 in La Blavet and Hanebon (Brittany), documents the fir…

Le Seur, Paul

(190 words)

Author(s): Grethlein, Christian
[German Version] (Jul 18, 1877, Berlin – Mar 13, 1963, Potsdam). Following theological studies in Berlin, during which he developed a lifelong attachment to the CVJM (YMCA equivalent), and after short temporary employments as a private tutor and curate, Le Seur was appointed mission inspector of the Berlin City Mission by A. Stoecker in 1905 and later became his successor. It was in the course of these activities – which were only interrupted by a military chaplaincy in Brussels during World War I…

Leskov, Nikolaj Semyonovich

(163 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] (Dec 4/16, 1831, Gorochovo near Orël – Feb 21/Mar 5, 1895, St. Petersburg), Russian author. The grandson of a clergyman, Leskov became familiar with the Orthodox Church at an early age. As an orphan, he was brought up in the household of a professor of medicine in Kiev, and spent years traveling throughout Russia in the employ of a trading company. Working as a professional journalist and employed by the ministry of culture from 1862 onward, he reflected the numerous experiences g…


(562 words)

Author(s): Ward, Kevin
[German Version] is a small mountain kingdom (2000: 30,355 km2; 2.1 million inhabitants; capital: Maseru) surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. Lesotho came into being in the 1820s as a political union (Basutoland) under King Moshoeshoe I, who consolidated the groups of Sotho/Tswana and Nguni speakers fleeing from the Zulu regime. It was constantly in danger of extinction, especially from the Boers from 1850, and became a British protectorate in 1868. From 1966, Lesotho has been independent as a co…

Leß, Gottfried

(153 words)

Author(s): Hammann, Konrad
[German Version] (Jan 31, 1736, Konitz, West Prussia – Aug 28, 1797, Hannover), studied theology in Jena and Halle. In 1763, he became associate professor and in 1765 professor in Göttingen. In 1791, he was appointed court chaplain and general superintendent in Hannover Leß sought to demonstrate apologetically the independence of the Christian religion from deism and materialism ( Beweiß der Wahrheit der Christlichen Religion, 1768, 51785) and to direct the Enlightenment revision of biblically based ecclesiastical doctrine into moderate channels conducive to r…

Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim

(1,635 words)

Author(s): Kronauer, Ulrich
[German Version] (Jan 22, 1729, Kamenz, Upper Lusatia – Feb 15, 1781, Braunschweig [Brunswick]). Lessing was the third of twelve children born to Johann Gottfried Lessing and Justina Salome Lessing. His father had been archdeacon in Kamenz since 1724; he became chief pastor in 1733, succeeding his father-in-law Gottfried Feller. Of Lessing's siblings, five died in infancy or childhood. He attended the public school in Kamenz and in 1741 entered the Princes' School of St. Afra in Meissen, where he …

Lessons and Carols

(156 words)

Author(s): Gray, Donald
[German Version] This is a Christmastide service suggested by George Henry Somerset Walpole, succentor (Cantor substitute) of Truro Cathedral (Cornwall), first adopted for use there on Christmas Eve, 1880, by Bishop E. Benson). It was introduced to King's College Chapel, Cambridge, in 1918 by Eric Milner-White (1884–1963). Its wide popularity derives from the broadcast from King's since 1928. There are few churches, chapels, or schools in England that do not hold a form of the service. Its definit…

Lestonnac, Jeanne de (Saint)

(194 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (1536, Bordeaux – Feb 2, 1640, Bordeaux). In the milieu of French post-Tridentine Catholicism, Lestonnac, who had been given a Calvinist upbringing by her mother, created a new model of connecting cloistered monastic life and pedagogical work with girls. The niece of the philosopher M. de Montaigne, she married Gaston de Montferrat (Montferrand) in 1573 and gave birth to seven children. Widowed in 1597, she founded in 1605/1606 in Bordeaux the “Filles (or Compagnie) de Notre Dame,…

Letter and Spirit

(2,860 words)

Author(s): Lüpke, Johannes von
[German Version] I. Theological and Philosophical Contexts – II. The Biblical Source Text – III. Scriptural Criticism and Critique of Reason I. Theological and Philosophical Contexts As a subject of theological effort, the distinction between letter and spirit is a matter not only for the doctrine of Holy Scripture (Bible: IV) but also for the doctrines of justification, creation, and the Trinity. It has made a significant contribution in the definition of the Christian identity, especially in relation to Judaism. In …

Letter of Jeremiah

(8 words)

[German Version] Jeremiah, Writings


(2,412 words)

Author(s): Mitchell, Margaret M.
[German Version] I. Form and Genre – II. Ancient Epistolary Literature I. Form and Genre 1. Letters in Christianity The letter is a literary form that has been of particular importance in the Christian religion since its beginnings as a means of communication, instruction, edification, and argumentation. This predilection for letters was rooted in the missionary character of earliest Christianity, which made it necessary to communicate over long distances, as well as in the surrounding cultures, which influenced…

Letter Symbolism

(7 words)

[German Version] Symbols/Symbol Theory

Leuba, James Henry

(171 words)

Author(s): Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] (Apr 9, 1868, Neuchâtel, Switzerland – Dec 8, 1946, Yellow Springs, OH). Born in Switzerland and brought up in a Reformed environment, Leuba lived in the United States from 1887 onward and studied at Clark University under S. Hall. His empirical study of conversion, which he submitted as a doctoral dissertation in 1895, is considered a pioneering work of the psychology of religion. From 1898 to 1933, Leuba was professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr College. Together with W. James, he became the foremost promoter of the American psychology of religion. ¶ His religion-critic…

Leuenberg Concord

(1,180 words)

Author(s): Lessing, Eckhard
[German Version] The Agreement between Reformation Churches in Europe (Leuenberg Concord) was finalized on Mar 16, 1973. It was immediately signed by 50 churches and has since been approved by 98 European churches and five outside of Europe. Reservations have been expressed primarily by the Swedish and Finnish churches, in part for legal reasons having to do with their status as state churches, in part on theological grounds. The Concord is the result of conversation between Lutheran and Reformed churches encouraged by the World Council of Churches and their int…

Leusden, Johann

(163 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] (Apr 26, 1624, Utrecht, the Netherlands – Sep 30, 1699, Utrecht, the Netherlands), Dutch theologian and expert in Near Eastern studies. ¶ Leusden became associate professor of oriental languages in Utrecht in 1650 and professor of Hebrew in 1653. Instructed by rabbis in Amsterdam, he made himself familiar with the Talmud and with rabbinic literature. Especially important was the text edition of the Biblia Hebraica (1660, 21667), which he organized together with the bookseller Joseph Athias. A model of accuracy and beauty in printing, it became t…

Leutheuser, Julius

(90 words)

Author(s): Nicolaisen, Carsten
[German Version] (Dec 9, 1900, Bayreuth – Nov 24, 1942, near Stalingrad) moved in 1927 as pastor – together with S. Leffler – from Bavaria to Thuringia, where in 1928/1929 they founded the National-Socialist oriented (Thuringian) Deutsche Christen (German Christians). From 1933 until entering military service in 1939, Leutheuser was a full-time member of the regional church council in Eisenach. Carsten Nicolaisen Bibliography Works include: Der Heiland in der Geschichte der Deutschen, 1934 Die deutsche Christusgemeinde und ihre Gegner, 1935 On Leutheuser: K. Meier, Die Deutsche…

Leuven, University

(362 words)

Author(s): Rieger, Reinhold
[German Version] The University of Leuven (Lovanium, Louvain), established by a bull of Martin V dated Dec 9, 1425, was opened on 7 Sep. 1426 by Duke John IV; the theological faculty was set up by Eugenius IV on Mar 3, 1432. The faculty of arts was organized in 1435 as four nationes (Brabant, Gaul, Flanders, Holland). In 1428 there was conflict between the university and the town over exemption from taxes. The university was dominated by the via antiqua (Universals controversy in the Middle Ages). In 1446 there was a dispute between Henry of Zomeren and Peter of Rivo over …


(267 words)

Author(s): James, Frank A.
[German Version] The Levellers were a radical democratic sect that formed in 17th-century England during the Puritan revolution (Puritans/Puritanism) and the Commonwealth period (England). The name, conferred by opponents, suggests that they sought to bring about a “leveling” of social classes and political standing in England. This faction developed in 1645/1646 among radical supporters of the Puritan revolution. Their aims were set forth in their primary work, The Principles and Maxims concerning Government and Religion of those commonly called Levellers (1658). The Leve…

Levi and Levites

(913 words)

Author(s): Achenbach, Reinhard
[German Version] The etymology of Levi and Levites (Heb. לֵוִי/ lēwî, לְוִיִּם/ lewîyim) is unclear – possibly from לוה/ lwh I, “person pledged for a debt,” or II, hypocoristically “client” (of the god N.N.?); a popular etymology relating it to join appears in Gen 29:34 and Num 18:2. According to legend, Levi was the son of Jacob and Leah (Gen 29:34; 35:23). Jacob is said to have cursed him and Simeon on account of their religious zeal in destroying the city of Shechem (Gen 34:25–31); this story explains why the tribes descended from them were divided and scattered in Israel (Gen 49:5–7). Histor…


(623 words)

Author(s): Rebiger, Bill
[German Version] The name Leviathan (Heb. לִוְיָתָן/ liwyātān) derives from the Hebrew root lwy and means “one that twists / curls up.” It denotes a serpentine marine creature mentioned in the Old Testament together with such other sea-monsters as Tannin, Rahab, and Yam (Dragon: I), from which it is sometimes indistinguishable. Numerous monsters, which can often be identified as personified forces of nature like the sea or the heavens, are part of the basic mythological stock of the OT (Myth/Mythology: II, 1…

Levi ben Gerson

(314 words)

Author(s): Dan, Joseph
[German Version] (Gersonides; acronym RaLBaG; 1288, Bagnols, Provence – 1344, Perpignan) is one of the most prominent rationalistic philosophers, scientists, and biblical exegetes of medieval Judaism. Born to a famous Provençal family, he lived most of his life in Orange and Avignon. He was known in Europe as Messer Leon de Bagnols or Magister Leo Hebreo de Bonnolis. Several of his treatises were translated into Latin and had an impact on European science, especially astronomy and philosophy. Levi…

Lévinas, Emmanuel

(516 words)

Author(s): Huizing, Klaas
[German Version] (Dec 30, 1905 [Jan 12, 1906 Old Style], Kaunas, Lithuania – Dec 25, 1995, Paris). Lévinas, a phenomenologist in the tradition of E. Husserl and M. Heidegger, productively utilized Jewish tradition to develop a “philosophy of the face.” Lévinas's family was Jewish; he grew up with the Bible and the classic Russian authors. In 1923 he moved to Strasbourg, where he studied philosophy. In 1928/1929 he spent a year in Freiburg studying with Husserl and Heidegger. After receiving his de…

Levirate Marriage

(6 words)

[German Version] Marriage

Levita, Elijah

(207 words)

Author(s): Raeder, Siegfried
[German Version] (Elias; 1469/1470, Ipsheim an der Aisch – Jan 5, 1549, Venice). The Jewish scholar in Hebraic studies and author Elijah Bokher Levita spent most of his life in Italy. From 1515 to 1527, he lived in Rome under the patronage of Aegidius (Giles) of Viterbo (general of the Augustinian order and cardinal), and worked with P. Fagius in Isny in 1540/1541. He is the author of lexicographical, grammatical, text-critical, exegetical and novelistic-poetic works written in Hebrew, some of which soon appeared in Latin translation. In his Masoret ha-Masoret [The tradition of trad…


(5 words)

[German Version] Pentateuch

Leviticus Rabba

(7 words)

[German Version] Wayyiqra Rabba

Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien

(246 words)

Author(s): Segal, Robert Alan
[German Version] (Apr 10, 1857, Paris – Mar 13, 1939, Paris), philosopher and anthropologist. He taught history of philosophy at the Sorbonne. Through his friendship with É. Durkheim, Lévy-Bruhl became interested in sociology and ethics. Lévy-Bruhl argued that morality varies with each culture and does so because human nature varies. Morality should therefore be studied by social scientists, not philosophers ( La morale et la science des mœurs, 1903). In Les fonctions mentales dans les sociétés inférieures (1910; ET: How ¶ Natives Think, 1926) Lévy-Bruhl was of the opinion th…

Lewandowski, Louis

(212 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Esther
[German Version] (Apr 3, 1821, Wreschen, Posen – Feb 3, 1894, Berlin), choir director, composer, and one of the most important reformers of Ashkenazic (Judaism: II) synagogue music. Lewandowski undertook his musical education in Berlin, first as boy Singerl with Cantor Ascher Lion and finally as the first Jewish student at the Akademie der Künste. Following the lead of the Viennese chief cantor S. Sulzer, Lewandowski created a choral worship service in Berlin, where he worked from 1840 as choral director in the Old Synagogue and fro…

Lewis, Clive Staples

(227 words)

Author(s): Mead, Marjorie
[German Version] (pseudonym C. Hamilton; Nov 29, 1898, Belfast – Nov 22, 1963, Oxford) was one of the most popular and influential Christian authors of the 20th century. In 1925, Lewis was elected to a Fellowship in English Language and Literature at ¶ Magdalen College in Oxford and became professor at Cambridge in 1954. His ability to use imaginative language to depict and clarify theological truths, coupled with his intentional avoidance of sectarian issues and his accomplished skill at rational argument, enabled him to be a powerful v…


(6 words)

[German Version] Dictionaries/Encyclopedias, Theological

Lexicons, Primary Sources, Journals, Series Abbreviations

(29,737 words)

Author(s): David E. Orton
[German Version] AA Archäologischer Anzeiger, Berlin 1849ff. AAAbo Acta Academiae Aboensis, Åbo AAAbo.H – Series A: Humaniora 1,1920ff. AAAp Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, post Constantin Tischendorf denuo ed. R.A. Lipsius et M. Bonnet, Leipzig 1–2.2, 1891–1903; repr. 1959; 1972; 1990 AACCB All-Africa Conference of Churches Bulletin, Nairobi etc. 1,1963/1964–11,1982 AAE Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, Copenhagen 1,1990ff. AAH Acta antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Budapest 1,1951ff. AANL Atti della Accademia Nazionale die Lincei, Rome AANL.MMemorie. Classe…

Lex orandi, Lex credendi

(285 words)

Author(s): Gerhards, Albert
[German Version] The lex orandi, lex credendi formula goes back to the Indiculus de gratia Dei (435/442), ascribed to Prosper of Aquitaine, where it appears in the context of arguments against Semi-Pelagianism. Citing 1 Tim 2:1–4 and the practice of the Early Church, the text states that the church's prayers are everywhere offered in the same way, “that the rule of prayer may determine the rule of belief” ( ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi; DH/DS, 246). Later the formula was extended to the relationship between liturgy and belief and interpreted variously. In the encyclical Media…

Leydekker, Melchior

(195 words)

Author(s): Spehr, Christopher
[German Version] (Mar 21, 1642, Middelburg, The Netherlands – Jan 6, 1721, Utrecht), studied theology in Utrecht (under G. Voetius) and in Leiden (under J. Hoornbeek and J. Cocceius), became a Reformed pastor in Renesse and Noordwelle, Zeeland, in 1662, was awarded a Dr. theol. in Leiden in 1675, and was appointed professor in Utrecht in 1678. As a follower of Voetius, Leydekker spoke out in favor of the orthodox preservation of the Dutch Reformed confession in opposition to Cartesianism and Spino…


(902 words)

Author(s): Sommer, Wolfgang | Koch, Ernst | Albrecht-Birkner, Veronika
[German Version] 1. Polycarp, the Elder (Mar 18, 1552, Winnenden, Württemberg – Feb 22, 1610, Dresden), student of J. Andreae and J. Heerbrand (master's degree 1570). In 1573 he was appointed pastor in Gellersdorf, Austria. After receiving his doctorate from Tübingen in 1576, he was appointed general superintendent in Wittenberg, where he also served as professor of theology and a member of the consistory. The framing, defense, and introduction of the Wittenberg Concord (see Book of Concord ) were the centerpiece of his work there. In 1587 he was ap…

Le Zoute Conference

(265 words)

Author(s): Ward, Kevin
[German Version] Le Zoute, in Belgium, was the forum for one of the most important international mission conferences of the inter-war period. Its theme ¶ was “Christian mission in Africa,” with particular reference to evangelism, education, and race relations. Its architect was J. Oldham, secretary of the International Missionary Council (the successor to the 1910 Edinburgh Conference). Oldham was concerned that missions should respond to new social and political currents in Africa: “The whole work of the Conference was…
▲   Back to top   ▲