Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning†, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel

Help us improve our service

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

Maaßen, Friedrich Bernard Christian

(242 words)

Author(s): Landau, Peter
[German Version] (Sep 24, 1823, Wismar – Apr 9, 1900, Wilten) studied law in various places, including Berlin. After receiving his degree from Rostock, he converted to Catholicism and began to teach as professor of Roman law at Budapest in 1855; his academic career then took him through Innsbruck and Graz in 1871 to a chair of canon law in Vienna. He was also politically active as a conservative; from 1882 to 1897, he sat on the Austrian supreme court and in 1885 was made a lifetime member of the …


(461 words)

Author(s): Assmann, Jan
[German Version] The Egyptian concept of “ maʿat” carries the basic meanings of “right” and “justice,” and by extension “truth” and “order.” It relates to a principle of solidarity that fosters harmony among humans and, applied to the cosmos, guarantees the success of the “solar cycle” and thus the continued existence of the world. Maʿat is something that is “spoken” (truth) and “done” (justice). An Egyptian “definition” of maʿat reads as follows: “The reward of the doer is that which is done for him. God deems this to be maʿat” (Helck, 29). The motif of “acting for each other” is e…

Mabillon, Jean

(420 words)

Author(s): Butterweck, Christel
[German Version] (Nov 23, 1632, St. Pierremont near Reims – Dec 27, 1707, St.-Germain-des-Prés near Paris) joined the order of the Maurists at the age of 21. Having become the assistant of Luc d'Achery for the edition of the Acta sanctorum ordinis Sancti Benedicti (ASOSB) in 1664, he discovered his life task in St. Germain: the study of the order's history, which he situated in the context of the general and ecclesiastical history of the Middle Ages. Study journeys brought him to Flanders, to Germany, and – by order of Louis XIV – ¶ to Italy, where he was to collect manuscripts…

Macarius Magnes

(181 words)

Author(s): Volp, Ulrich
[German Version] is the author of an apology of Christianity (Ἀποκριτικὸς ἢ μονογενής/ Apokritikós ḗ monogenḗs) written either before 303 (Crafer) or around 400; almost nothing is otherwise known of him. Taking the form of a dialogue with a pagan, this work advances rational arguments supporting incarnation, divine monarchy, and resurrection in response to pagan-philosophical criticism and is thus an important source for, among other things, research on Porphyry. Fragments of a homily on Genesis (CPG 6116) hav…

Macarius of Antioch

(211 words)

Author(s): Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] (Makarios, birth name Ioannis; born in Aleppo), Orthodox patriarch from 1641 to 1688. After the death of his wife, Macarius became priest, then bishop of Beroea (Aleppo). He was given the name Macarius in 1641 upon becoming patriarch of Antioch (with see in Damascus). He is noteworthy for his journeys to Moscow, during which he solicited financial assistance. An account of his first journey (1652–1656) through Turkey, Moldavia, Walachia, the Ukraine, and Russia was written by his …

Macarius of Egypt (Saint)

(197 words)

Author(s): Fitschen, Klaus
[German Version] (also Macarius the Great; c. 300, in Upper Egypt – c. 390, in the Scetic Desert). Details of his life are mostly recorded by Palladius of Helenopolis ( Historia Lausiaca, 17) and the Historia Monachorum in Aegypto (ch. 21). Genuine statements by Macarius himself are only preserved in the Apophthegmata Patrum ; Gennadius of Marseille ( Vir. ill. 10) mentions a letter entitled Ad iuniores professionis suae which is possibly extant (CPG 2415, 1). From about 330 onward, Macarius became the father of asceticism (IV) in the Scetic Desert (Wadi Natrun)…

Macarius of Moscow (Saint)

(192 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] (Makarij, birth name: Mikhail; c. 1482, Moscow – Dec 31, 1563, Moscow) was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church on Jun 6, 1988 at its Millennium Council in Sergiyev Posad. Having become a mo…

Macarius (Symeon of Mesopotamia)

(460 words)

Author(s): Fitschen, Klaus
[German Version] is the author of numerous ascetic letters, question-and-answer texts ( Erotapokriseis), and didactic writings dating to the second half of the 4th century. These were handed down under the name Macarius of Egypt (thus also Ps.-Macarius in scholarly studies), but also under that of a certain Symeon of Mesopotamia. Among his works, which draw on Syrian and partly (in exegesis) also on Alexandrian tradition, the Epistola magna had a strong literary impact. This didactic epistle addressing ascetics was used by Gregory of Nyssa for his tractate De Instituto christiano. Fr…


(473 words)

Author(s): Malek, Roman
[German Version] (Chinese Aomen, Port. Macau) was founded around 1557 as the “City of the Holy Name of God” at the end of the Pearl River estuary (Canton Bay) and was a territory under Portuguese administration until 1999. Until the founding of Hong Kong in 1842, Macau was a center of East Asian trade, a gate to China, as well as a place of cross-cultural dialogue and of Sino-Lusitanian relations (“Rome of the Far East”). The city consists of the Macau Peninsula and of the islands of Taipa and Coloane, covers an area of 23.5 km…

Macaulay, Zachary

(166 words)

Author(s): Smith, Mark
[German Version] (Apr 2, 1768, Inverary – May 13, 1838, London), the son of a minister in the Church of Scotland, worked from the age of 16 …


(1,097 words)

Author(s): van Henten, Jan Willem
[German Version] The name Maccabees denotes primarily a family of Jewish freedom fighters and leaders, also called the Hasmoneans (see below). It can also refer to a collection of postcanonical Jewish writings (Maccabees, Books of the), and in Christian traditions to a group of Jewish martyrs during the persecution under the Seleucid Antiochus IV. This persecution triggered the Maccabean revolt under the priest Mattathias ¶ and his five sons. Mattathias, who belonged to the priestly division of Jehoiarib (1 Chr 24:7), was ordered by Antiochus to offer sacrifi…

Maccabees, Books of the

(1,868 words)

Author(s): van Henten, Jan Willem
[German Version] In his commentary on Dan 4:3, Hippolytus of Rome mentions 1 Maccabees, the first mention of a numbering of the books of Maccabees. Codex Alexandrinus (5th cent.; Biblical manuscripts: II, 2) contains all four; it and other manuscripts show that they were transmitted as part of the Septuagint (Bible translations). 4 Maccabees

Maccovius, Johannes

(172 words)

Author(s): Strohm, Christoph
[German Version] (Makowski; 1588, Lobzenic, Poland – Jun 24, 1644, Franeker, the Netherlands) attended secondary school in Danzig and studied in various places including Heidelberg. In 1…

MacDonald, George

(158 words)

Author(s): Hein, Rolland
[German Version] (Dec 10, 1824, Huntly, Aberdeenshire – Sep 18, 1905, Ashstead, Surrey), Scottish writer known for his mythopoeia (J.R.R. Tolkien). Originally a theologian (M.A. 1845, King's College, Aberdeen), MacDonald was trained as a congregational minister at Highbury Seminary in London. His work Phantastes (1858), a fantasy for adults, helped effect the conversion of C.S. Lewis. His literary career began with David Elginbrod (1863), followed by many theological romances, notably for their descriptions of Scottish peasant life and t…

Macdonnell, Sir Alexander

(166 words)

Author(s): Ellens, Jacob P.
[German Version] (1794, Belfast – Jan 21, 1875, Dublin), Irish politician, educated in Westminster and Oxford, where he gained his B.A. in 1816, winning in total four distinctions for Latin, English verse, and essays, an accumulation of prizes that had only been awarded once before. Interrupting a career as a lawyer in England, he returned to Ireland, where he was appointed minister for public education, remaining in office from 1839 to 1871. Although a convinced Protestant, he worked to make it possible for poor ¶ Catholics to receive a Catholic education, and …


(621 words)

Author(s): Kraft, Ekkehard
[German Version] The Republic of Macedonia (capital Skopje), with an area of 25,333 km2, had a population in 1994 of 1,940,000, of whom 66.5% were Slavo-Macedonians, 22.9% Albanians, 4% Turks, 3% Roma, and 2.1% Serbs. The Republic of Macedonia comprises the portion of historical Macedonia that went to Serbia after the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913. During the Middle Ages, this ethnically mixed territory had belonged to the Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria) and then the Byzantine Empire; later it came under Ottoman rule…

Macedonius I of Constantinople

(184 words)

Author(s): Gemeinhardt, Peter
[German Version] (died c. 360) was a presbyter and an opponent of Bishop Paul (Athan. Hist. Ar. 7), whom he replaced first temporarily in 341/342 and then permanently in 351. According to Socrates Scholasticus ( Hist. eccl. II 38.3, 14), he ordered the persecution of his predecessor's supporters and the destruction of the Novatian churches. From the Synod of Sirmium (358) onward, he belonged to the circles of Homoiousians associated with Basil of Ancyra and George of Laodicea, but was excluded from the Synod of Seleucia in 359 and…


(457 words)

Author(s): Bloedhorn, Hanswulf
[German Version] Memory of the ancient name has been preserved in that of the Jordanian village Mukawer (30 km south of Madaba), in which remains of the Roman/Byzantine period are still found, including those of churches. The fortress Machaerus itself is located on a spur immediately to the west and is protected on both sides by deep valleys. According to Jos. Bell. VII 164–189, John Hyrcanus II built the first stronghold, which was destroyed by Gabinius in 57 bce. It was rebuilt by Herod the Great with an upper and a lower town; according to Pliny the Elder ( Naturalis historia, V 17.72), it …

Machaut, Guillaume de

(234 words)

Author(s): Hülk, Walburga
[German Version] (c. 1300–1377), French poet and composer, probably from the village of Machault in the Ardennes. There are no records of his family. He was possibly educated by canons in Reims. He became secretary to John of Luxembourg, king of Bohemia, with whom he traveled throughout Europe. From 1340 he was canon in Reims; poet and composer in the service of various princely courts; composer of great lyrical (ballads, rondos, virelais) and religious musical works (Motet, Mass); also author of numerous dits, complex allegorical and didactic poems widely known in the 14th century, including “Confort d'ami” (1357) for the imprisoned king of Navarre, other allegorical love dits, and the interesting prosimetrum “Le Livre du Voir-Dit” (1363/1364), which redefines love and authorship, an…
▲   Back to top   ▲