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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Red Cross

(866 words)

Author(s): Kaiser, Jochen-Christoph
[German Version] I. The International Red Cross Movement. Sympathy and concern for the victims of war first reached a substantial public in the Crimean War (1854–1856), when a report of the British nurse F. Nightingale (who had spent some time at Kaiserswerth, during her training) drew attention throughout Europe to conditions in the Crimea. Her report also made an impression on Henry Dunant (1828–1910), a businessman from an upper-class family in Geneva. At the end of June in the same year, he vis…


(4,527 words)

Author(s): Rudolph, Kurt | Roloff, Jürgen
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Religious studies has adopted the term redeemer from the biblical language of Christianity to represent Latin redemptor (Vulgate) and Greek ῥυόμενος/ rhyómenos or λυτρωτής/ lytrōtḗs (Job 19:25; Isa 63:16; Acts 7:35; Rom 11:26). Luther used Erlöser (“redeemer”) in these cases, but Heiland (“savior”) to represent Latin salvator and Greek σωτήρ/ sōtḗr. The terms are synonymous in both German and English. The worldwide use of the term in non-Christian contexts has increasingly made it part of the metalinguistic te…

Redemptive Religion

(9 words)

[German Version] Typology of Religion, Redemption/Soteriology

Redemptorists (Liguorians)

(434 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris; CSR). The order was founded in 1732 in Scala, near Naples, by A.M. Liguori together with the Carmelite nun and mystic M. Celeste Crostarosa (1696–1755) and Tommaso Falcoia (1663–1743), bishop of Castellammare di Stabia. It is a congregation of priests who take simple life vows; its aim is sanctification through faithful discipleship and apostolic work. The members are to engage in extraordinary pastoral …

Redenbacher, Wilhelm

(145 words)

Author(s): Schwab, Ulrich
[German Version] (Jul 12, 1800, Pappenheim – Jul 14, 1876, Dornhausen) studied Protestant theology at Erlangen from 1819 to 1823 and became a pastor in Bavaria, where he wrote numerous short works and popular tales. From 1830 to 1834 he edited the Nördlinger Sonntagsblatt. In 1843 he was suspended from office on account of his appeal to Protestant soldiers during the so-called kneeling controversy (over an order requiring them to kneel before the Catholic consecrated host). Redenbacher moved to Saxony as a pastor but was able to return to a pastorate in Bavaria in 1852. Ulrich Schwab Biblio…


(772 words)

Author(s): Deckmann Fleck, Eliane Christina
[German Version] (Indians in Latin America). The term reduction (Span. reduccion) was used in three senses in America: (1) the process of gathering Indians into settlements or villages, (2) the settlement itself, and (3) the whole territory of the settlements, based on geographical or missionary criteria. The reduction project was designed to concentrate the indigenous population in settlements to be integrated into a “political and human life,” which presupposed giving up certain practices incompatible w…

Reed, Luther Dotterer

(232 words)

Author(s): Miller, Ronald R.
[German Version] (Mar 21, 1873, North Wales, PA – Apr 3, 1972, Philadelphia, PA), began a pastoral ministry in Pennsylvania in 1895, then became a professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, director of its library, and also its president. He also held the first chair in liturgics and church art in a Lutheran seminary in the United States. He founded the Lutheran Liturgical Association and was a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Hymn Society of America, and the joint committee that prepared the text and music of the Common Service Book of 1917. He chaired …


(469 words)

Author(s): Schnepf, Robert
[German Version] In everyday language, reflection is synonymous with contemplation or critical consideration. In this usage, it loses the specific element of reflexivity (self-reference) that it has by etymology (Lat. reflectere, “bend back”) and has been central to its philosophical use. Reflectio was used in this sense in the High Middle Ages (e.g. by Thomas Aquinas) as an alternative to reditio in seipsum to translate Greek epistrophḗ, which Neoplatonists like Proclus used for the return of the mind to itself. Later thinkers like Nicholas of Cusa could make reflectio an organiz…


(7,266 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Terminology Today we limit the term Reformation (from Lat. reformatio) exclusively to the events set in motion by M. Luther, ¶ U. Zwingli, and other Reformers, which led in the course of the 16th century to a cleavage within Western Christendom that has lasted to this day. Until well into the 19th century, however, the term still had its original, broader sense of reform (Reform, Idea of), under which the event we call the Reformation was subsumed. It was the appearance of the French word réforme in the 17th century, borrowed into German in the course of the 19t…

Reformation of Sigismund

(267 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Tilman M.
[German Version] The Reformation of Sigismund ( Reformatio Sigismundi) is an anonymous program of reform, written in German, which was published in 1439 under the name of the emperor Sigismund during the Council of Basel. It comprises a preface, a program of ecclesiastical and imperial reform, Sigismund’s dream vision, and two appendices. The document bemoans abuses throughout the Empire, which have arisen from the entanglement of spiritual and secular power; it therefore demands that the whole church c…

Reform Catholicism

(1,223 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Claus
[German Version] I. Terminology Reform Catholicism was described by the Catholic theologian and man of letters Joseph Müller in his Der Reformkatholizismus, die Religion der Zukunft (1899), which combined conspicuous orthodoxy with criticism of Neoscholasticism and demands for disciplinary reform (including synods, vitalization of the laity, social work, an end to confessional polemic, modern training of the clergy, reform of the Index, and keeping political Catholicism at arm’s length). The book was placed on the Index in 1891, and the pope commended the polemic of Pa…

Reformed Christianity

(7 words)

[German Version] Reformed Churches

Reformed Churches

(9,343 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard | Plasger, Georg | Strohm, Christoph | Guder, Darrell | Veddeler, Berend | Et al.
[German Version] I. History and Theology 1. Terminology. For programmatic theological reasons, the Reformed churches rejected the exonym Calvinist churches. They referred to themselves as Reformed churches because they did not think of themselves as new churchdoms alongside the one holy church but as a part of that church, albeit as part of it renewed according to God’s Word in Holy Scripture. In speaking of themselves, therefore, they eschewed references to a theological founder or a particular place of origin. The 17th-century formula ecclesia reformata semper reformanda means …

Reformed Colleges in Germany

(481 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] One of the central demands of the Wittenberg and Swiss Reformation was thorough theological education of all future clergy. In Lutheran territories, Reformed theological faculties in ¶ the existing universities served this function, but initially in Reformed territories such institutions were largely lacking. Only three existing comprehensive universities intermittently offered Reformed instruction: Heidelberg from 1559 to 1578 and from 1583 to 1662, Marburg between 1605 and 1624 and again after 1653, Frank…

Reform, Idea of

(2,727 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] In classical Latin, the verb reformare and the associated noun reformatio already denoted a transformation for the better: restoration of an earlier human condition, since lost (morality e.g. Pliny the Younger Panegyricus 53.1: “corruptos depravatosque mores . . . reformare et corrigere”; bodily health e.g. Theodorus Priscianus Euproiston 1.38: “oculorum aciem reformare”), or physical objects (e.g. Solinus, Collectanea rerum memorabilium 40.5: “templum reformare”) or improvement without regard to the past (e.g. Sen. Ep. 58.26: “reformatio morum”; Ep. 94.5…

Reformierter Bund

(973 words)

Author(s): Strohm, Christoph | Schilberg, Arno
[German Version] I. History The Reformed League (Reformierter Bund) was founded in August 1884 at a conference in Marburg commemorating the 400th anniversary of Zwingli’s birth; as a registered association, its purpose was defined as “preservation and cultivation of the goods and bounties of the Reformed Church.” It was conceived as a loose association of churches, congregations, and individual members, seeking to strengthen Reformed identity in light of the Lutheran preponderance in Germany, which…

Reform Judaism

(575 words)

Author(s): Meyer, Michael A.
[German Version] The Reform movement in Judaism (III) emerged as a religious response to the increasing intellectual, social, and political integration of Jews in Central Europe, especially Germany, during the first decades of the 19th century. The debate with the Enlightenment had raised questions as to the viability of traditional Judaism in the modern world and evoked a clearly perceptible need to adapt Judaism to the new conditions of Jewish life outside the medieval ghetto. Reforms were introduced in worship, including greater emphasis on external norms of conduct…

Refugee Aid

(690 words)

Author(s): Micksch, Jürgen
[German Version] The Bible can be called a book by refugees for refugees. The patriarch Abraham was himself a refugee. A famine drove him to journey to Egypt to survive (Gen 12:10). His descendants were exploited and oppressed in Egypt. The exodus from Egypt shows that God protects refugees, accompanying them and identifying with them. In their confession of faith, the people of Israel recall their experiences as refugees (Deut 26:5ff.). It followed that they would not oppress aliens in their own land. The New Testament speaks of Jesus’ flight to Egypt with his family (Matt 2:…
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