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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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…
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