Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
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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Oates, Wayne Edward

(172 words)

Author(s): Domsgen, Michael
[German Version] (Jun 24, 1917, Greenville, SC – Oct 21, 1999, Louisville, KY), psychologist of religion, representative of the Pastoral Counseling movement in the United States. Oates taught at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville: from 1948 to 1974 as assistant professor, from 1983 to 1992 as senior professor; and from 1992 to 1994 as senior research professor of psychology of religion and pastoral care. From 1974 to 1991 he was professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at…


(4,263 words)

Author(s): Hock, Klaus | Steymans, Hans Ulrich | Börner-Klein, Dagmar | Fitzgerald, John T. | Krieg, Arno | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Church History – VI. Ethics – VII. Law I. Religious Studies As a solemn affirmation of a statement, an oath takes its religious quality from the underlying belief in the power of words to effect a blessing or curse (Blessing and curse). Therefore the early phenomenology of religion classed oaths with invective, curses, etc. as words of consecration: those who swear oaths identify themselves with their words and are “consecrated…

Oath of Secrecy, Church Officials

(208 words)

Author(s): Pirson, Dietrich
[German Version] The oath of secrecy is the term used for the duty of clergy and church officers not to report, or comment on, facts and events of a confidential nature that they have come to know in the exercise of their office. The obligation of the oath in relation to the church forms part of the official relationship regulated by church law. The content of the oath goes materially further than the pastoral seal of the confessional. It does not include facts that are in any case public knowledg…

Oaxtepec Congress

(570 words)

Author(s): Prien, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] (1978), an assembly of churches of Latin America. Oaxtepec is an important step in the process of cooperation in Latin American Protestantism that began with the Congresses on Christian Work in Latin America (CCWLA), in 1916 in Panama (Panama Congress), in1925 in Montevideo, and in 1929 in Havana, and the foundation of National Councils of Churches. After World War II, when German immigrant churches had also joined the councils and a call arose for continental representation of th…

Obadiah/Book of Obadiah

(1,347 words)

Author(s): Köckert, Matthias
[German Version] I. Place in the Canon – II. Structure – III. Growth – IV. Date – V. Name I. Place in the Canon The book of Obadiah (Gk Abdias) is part of the Book of the Twelve (Prophetic books); in the Hebrew canon ¶ it follows Amos, in the Greek, Joel (cf. Lives of the Prophets). It shares motifs and catchwords with both. II. Structure Obadiah uses Edom to exemplify the relationship of Israel to the nations. The linkage of two levels of communication (Wehrle) in vv. 1 and 15 divides the book into two parts. After the superscription, v. 1 links two speech ev…


(2,323 words)

Author(s): Gantke, Wolfgang | Beutler, Johannes | Slenczka, Notger | Schweitzer, Friedrich | Sieckmann, Jan-R.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics – IV. Education and Ethics – V. Law I. Religious Studies Emphasis on the phenomenon known as obedience varies among religions, but wherever human beings are understood as hearers of a divine or sacred word obedience plays an important role as the claim of a higher, transhuman power on human beings. The religious will to obey presupposes prevailing over one’s own self-will for the sake of God or what is holy. The Enlighten-¶ ment, which calls human beings to autonomy, led to a crisis of the religious concept of o…


(188 words)

Author(s): Wißmann, Hans
[German Version] Obelisk, a high, slender pillar found in Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom (Gk ὀβελός/ obelós, “pointed column,” actually “skewer”), mostly with a square base and a pyramid-shaped top, often gilded. Its cultic significance, linked with the sun god Re, comes from the fact that the first rays of the sun reached the top and illuminated it. Pairs of obelisks were often set up in the temple of the sun god; their sides and plinth were usually inscribed with hieroglyphs. In antiquity it was already …

Oberammergau Passion Play

(8 words)

[German Version] Passion Plays

Oberheid, Heinrich Josef

(281 words)

Author(s): Faulenbach, Heiner
[German Version] (Feb 7, 1895, Mülheim on the Ruhr – Nov 17, 1977, Düsseldorf), studied theology and national economics, and gained a doctorate. Between 1920 and 1925 he was successfully employed in the Stinnes company, and became director. From 1933 he served as a pastor. From 1920 he adopted national popular views, and in 1928 joined the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP, National Socialism). He failed from 1926 in his own economic enterprises, but as an assault leader in the Sturmabteilung (SA) soon became one of the most important agitators for Deutsche Christ…

Oberlin House

(183 words)

Author(s): Collmar, Norbert
[German Version] is named, like many educational and welfare institutions, after J.F. Oberlin. It was opened on Nov 30, 1874 by the Oberlin Association (Oberlinverein, founded 1871) in the poor and populous weaver settlement of Nowawe (now Potsdam-Babelsberg) as a training college and infants school. From 1879 it was directed by Theodor Hoppe, on the model of the mother houses in Kaiserswerth. Oberlin House was extended to include care for the sick, “cripples,” and the deaf-mute-blind. Its sisters…

Oberlin, Johann Friedrich

(434 words)

Author(s): Collmar, Norbert
[German Version] (Aug 31, 1740, Strasbourg – Jun 2, 1826 Waldersbach im Steintal, Alsace), pastor, mystical welfare and social reformer, and founder of the first kindergarten. Oberlin studied philosophy and theology at Strasbourg. In his family and during his studies of theology he became acquainted with Pietism. In 1760 he drew up his “solemn acts of dedication to God,” which he confirmed in 1765, 1770, and 1822. He rejected revivalist pressure, and pietist anthropology and educational method, an…

Obermayer, Klaus

(209 words)

Author(s): Link, Christoph
[German Version] (May 5, 1916, Wiesbaden – Aug 14, 1988, Erlangen), Protestant jurist. He served as an officer from the first days of the war. After 1945 he studied and completed his professional qualification, and then practiced as a lawyer for several years in state and church administration. In 1958 he gained his Habilitation. From 1960 until his retirement in 1984 he was full professor of public law and church law in Erlangen. Obermayer was one of the pioneers of administrative law founded on the rule of law, informed by basic rights and in co…

Oberthür, Franz

(303 words)

Author(s): Decot, Rolf
[German Version] (Aug 6, 1745, Würzburg – Aug 30, 1831, Würzburg), ordained priest in 1769; professor of dogmatics and history of dogma in Würzburg from 1773 to 1809 (temporarily removed from office in 1803 following secularization); canon at the Hauck Stift in 1774; cathedral canon in 1821; in 1829 Bavarian privy counselor. Oberthür was the author of theological handbooks and encyclopedias; he also wrote on local history and edited patristic texts. Not strikingly speculative as a thinker, he was …


(1,063 words)

Author(s): Künne, Wolfgang | Großhans, Hans-Peter
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Fundamental Theology I. Philosophy An object (Ger. Gegenstand) is anything to which a predicate can be applied, or to which identificatory reference can be made by way of a proper name, designation, or deictic expression, hence anything with regard to which statements can be made and judgments can be passed. (“Individual,” “entity,” or “object” [Ger. Objekt] are frequently employed in this sense in analytic philosophy.) In the eyes of some philosophers, this understanding of the conception of object is broader than the ¶…

Object-Relations Theory

(346 words)

Author(s): Fraas, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] Psychic energy (libido) is always directed toward specific “objects” of drives (Drive, Drive theory). According to S. Freud’s theory of primary narcissism, it focuses initially on the self, not yet perceived as distinct from the mother. The interruption of the symbiosis between mother and child (narcissistic wound) compels the child to turn outward. Only by perceiving him- or herself as his own person, distinct from his first attachment figure, can the child build a relationship t…


(958 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] I. Pueri oblati – II. Adults – III. Oblate Institutes I. Pueri oblati Oblates (from Lat. oblati, “offered”) were already known in the Early Church. Parents or guardians dedicated children to a monastic vocation, thus – echoing the Old Testament example of Samson and Samuel – offering their most precious possession to God. The legal basis of this practice was the paternal right of disposal recognized by Jewish and Roman legal tradition. The early monastic rules make explicit provision for oblation…


(801 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Reinhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics From a Protestant perspective, obligation (in the sense of binding authority) is assigned only to the Word of God (VI), the self-revealing power of which can lead to deeper insights and to “new Decalogues” (Luther); the latter must be examined by the church as a community with strict reference to the canon. The articles of faith assert binding authority insofar as they are based on Scripture as “the only rule and guiding principle” (BSLK 767, 15), and, at a further remove, insofar as agreement is rea…

Obrecht, Jacob

(217 words)

Author(s): Haslmayr, Harald
[German Version] (Hobrecht; c. 1450 – 1505, Ferrara), Franco-Flemish composer of the Dutch vocal polyphony (Church music:IV, 2.a). He was ordained priest in 1840 and appointed choirmaster at Cambrai Cathedral in 1484/1485. He held other posts as a church musician in Bruges and Antwerp. In 1487/1488 and 1504, he traveled to Ferrara, where in 1505 he died of the plague. Obrecht’s main works are 29 settings of the Ordinary of the Mass, 28 Latin motets, and numerous secular chansons in Old French and …


(530 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. The term observantia denoted in classical Latin the due veneration of other human beings, especially those who surpass us in age, wisdom, and worth (Cic. De inventione 2.66, 161). In Latin of the imperial period it also came to mean respect for customs and laws (on the relationship with religio, cf. 2 Macc 6:11, Vulgate). From the early Middle Ages, the term was especially applied to religious behavior understood as compliance with divine commands: on the one hand, with regard to keeping church rules in general, especially tho…


(332 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] From the late 14th century, reforming groups or tendencies within monasticism (III, 4.b), especially in the mendicant orders and most especially among the Franciscans, were called observants ( observantes, fratres de observantia etc.). In internal debates ¶ about the right way of life, they opposed easing of the rule and other kinds of adaptation that had crept in (Conventuals), and advocated strict following of the rules as rigorously interpreted, together with other prescriptions ( observantia regularis etc., Observance). In this, restoration of the vita commu…
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