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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Saadia Gaon

(368 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] (acronym RaSaG; 882, Faiyum, Upper Egypt – 942, Sura, Babylonia), from 928 the first non-Babylonian head (Gaon) of the rabbinic academy in Sura. As a philologist, exegete, controversialist, and philosopher, he was an outstanding figure in 10th-century Judaism. In 915 he settled in Palestine, where he wrote his first philological work, Sefer ha-Agron. From the year 921 at the latest, Saadia – who appears to have been a contentious character all his life – lived in Babylonia. There he became involved in the so-call Ben Meir controver…


(6 words)

[German Version] Finno-Ugric Religions


(439 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W.
[German Version] a Semitic people in the area of modern Yemen, home of an advanced civilization in antiquity. The center of the kingdom of Saba was the city of Mārib, situated in a riverine oasis. With it as a base, in the early 7th century bce the Sabaean ruler Karibʾil Watar gained ascendancy over the rival kingdoms of Qatabān to the south and Ḥaḍramaut to the east, along with the confederation of Minaean towns to the northwest. From the 3rd century bce on, the Sabaean kingdom expanded into the Yemenite uplands, where a competing Himyarite kingdom emerged in the 1st century ce. When the Sab…


(5 words)

[German Version] God

Sabas Monastery

(298 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] The monastery was established between 483 and 490 by St. Sabas alongside the Kidron Valley nine km southeast of Jerusalem. It was founded as a laura, consisting of individual caves in the rock with a communal building as its center. Despite its deep involvement in the Origenist controversies, by the time of the Persian invasion in 614 it had already experienced an initial spiritual and intellectual flowering (Cyril of Scythopolis); it played an essential role in the development of…

Sabas (Saint)

(174 words)

Author(s): Goehring, James E.
[German Version] (439, Cappadocia – May 12, 532, Palestine), founder of the Great Laura (Mar Saba). Sabas moved to Palestine as an ascetic at the age of 17, where he was sent to a monastery by Euthymius. He eventually embraced an anchoritic life, wandering in the desert for a number of years before settling in a cave in the Cedron Ravine. He began to attract disciples, which marks the beginning of the Great Laura. Its success led to the foundation of other related ascetic communities nearby. Sabas…

Sabatier, Paul

(268 words)

Author(s): Kracht, Klaus Große
[German Version] (Aug 3, 1858, Saint-Michel-de-Chabrillanoux – Mar 4, 1928, Strasbourg), Protestant theologian and historian. The son of a Reformed pastor, Sabatier began his study of Protestant theology in Paris in 1880. Inspired by the works of E. Renan, his teacher, he dedicated himself after 1884 to exploring the life and impact of Francis of Assisi. From 1885 to 1889 he served as an assistant minister in Straßburg, then a German city; when the German authorities demanded that he either adopt …


(219 words)

Author(s): Bonnet, Corinne
[German Version] (Sebazios, Sabadios, Sabos), a Thraco- Phrygian god (5th cent. bce), found throughout the Mediterranean region. In Anatolia he was associated with Attis, Men, and Cybele; in the Greek milieu, his orgiastic cult led him to be associated with Dionysus. Little is known of his original nature, but some evidence (in part iconographic) suggests that he had power over nature and the animal world and hence also “cosmic” power, which could benefit humankind and promote mental and physical wellbeing (cf. the magical hand of Sabazius, raised in blessing). His myth portrays ¶ Sabaz…


(573 words)

Author(s): Kirn, Hans-Martin | Solberg, Winton U.
[German Version] I. Europe Sabbatarians is a collective designation for various Christian groups in the context of Bible-oriented reform and revival movements; their common characteristic is observance of the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week (“Saturday Sabbatarians”). In English Puritanism (Puritans), advocates of strict Sunday observance could also be called Sabbatarians (“Sunday Sabbatarians”). Besides small medieval groups like the 12th-century Passagini in northern Italy, Sabbatarians in t…


(2,991 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Doering, Lutz | Hollender, Elisabeth | van Henten, Jan Willem | Volp, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament In the preexilic period, Sabbath (שַׁבָּת/ šabbāt) meant the day of the full moon; from the Exile on, it denoted a weekly day of rest. The origins of this day of rest go back to the early days of Exile. The earliest laws regarding the preexilic day of rest appear in the Book of the Covenant (Exod 23:10) and the cultic code in Exod 34:18–23, 25f. (v. 21) (Law and legislation: III). In the Book of the Covenant, the commandment to ¶ observe a day of rest is part of the privilege law of YHWH that deals with setting apart the firstfruits and firstborn …

Sabbath Songs

(357 words)

Author(s): Newsom, Carol A.
[German Version] (ShirShabb). The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice is a liturgical cycle of 13 related compositions. Each is dated to one of the first 13 Sabbaths of the year, according to the solar calendar. Nine manuscripts were found at Qumran (4Q400–407, 11Q17), and one at Masada (Mas 1k). The songs invoke and describe the praise of the angelic priests in the heavenly temple. Each song begins with a heading, “For the Maskil” (“Instructor”), and the date formula. The song proper opens with a call to praise, introduced by the imperative “halle…

Sabbatical Year

(277 words)

Author(s): Morgenstern, Matthias
[German Version] The Zionist (Zionism) settlement of Palestine made the sabbatical year newly relevant to Orthodox Judaism (Orthodoxy: III), even though its practical realization, the significance of its observance for salvation history, and the question whether discussion of the sabbatical year from the perspective of legal history provides a material basis for political claims to the Land of Israel all remain controversial issues. Independently of these developments within Judaism and with direc…


(304 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] In the theological conflicts of the 4th century, the Modalistic Monarchianism that was condemned as a heresy was often called Sabellianism. Marcellus of Ancyra and his followers in particular were considered “Sabellians,” because they rejected the doctrine of three divine hypostases (Hypostasis; cf. Origen) as tritheism, emphasizing God’s unity as μονάς/ monás instead, citing John 10:30. Eusebius of Caesarea considered Marcellus a “new Sabellius” but had nothing more to say about the author of this heresy, so that later the teachi…


(5 words)

[German Version] Talmud


(287 words)

Author(s): Olechowski, Thomas
[German Version] (Saxon Law Code), the most important medieval German law code, written between 1220 and 1235 by Eike v. Repgow (died after 1233) in Latin, then translated into Low German by Eike himself; it is the earliest extant example of German prose. It comprises a (rhymed) preface, a section dealing with common law, and a section dealing with feudal law (Feudal System). The Sachsenspiegel was recognized far beyond Saxony (Baltic, Transylvania). Although it was the work of a private individual, it effectively had legal authority; ¶ in the Saxon duchies, it was in use until 18…

Sachs, Hans

(292 words)

Author(s): Hahn, Reinhard
[German Version] (Nov 5, 1494, Nuremberg – Jan 19, 1576, Nuremberg), son of a tailor, apprenticed as a shoemaker; at the same time, he was introduced to mastersinging. During his journeyman travels (1511–1516), he composed his first songs and poems in rhymed couplets ( Spruchgedichte); then he settled in Nuremberg as a craftsman. Increasing prosperity later allowed him to give up shoemaking in favor of writing. The Reformation was a defining event. In 1523 he supported Luther with the Spruchgedicht, “Die Wittenbergisch Nachtigall.” Four prose dialogues (1524), important ex…

Sachs, Nelly

(188 words)

Author(s): Christophersen, Claudia
[German Version] (properly Leonie; Dec 10, 1891, Berlin – May 12, 1970, Stockholm), eminent author. She began writing poems and sonnets in 1910. In 1940 she fled to Stockholm to escape the terror of National Socialism. Her texts reflect her involvement with Jewish identity, kabbalistic mysticism, and the Shoa (Holocaust). Her language is highly metaphoric and free. Through her translations of modern Swedish poetry, she established contacts with the literary groups associated with Walter A. Berndso…


(1,064 words)

Author(s): Beutel, Albrecht | Wiggermann, Uta | Christophersen, Alf
[German Version] 1. August Friedrich Wilhelm (Feb 4, 1703, Harzgerode – Apr 23, 1786, Berlin), Reformed theologian. In 1722 he began to study theology in Frankfurt an der Oder; in 1724 he served as a domestic tutor in Stettin (Szczecin) and Holland, where he was influenced by Jean Barbeyrac (1674–1744), a critic of confessional tests, and Arminianism (Arminians: I). In 1728 he was appointed tutor to the heir to the throne of Hesse-Homburg. In 1731 he was appointed third preacher of German Reformed chu…

Sackmann, Jakobus (Jobst)

(104 words)

Author(s): Lütze, Frank Michael
[German Version] (Feb 13, 1643, Hanover – Jun 4, 1718, Limmer), pastor in Limmer, near Hanover, from 1680. His Low German sermons (Plattdeutsch, Services in), often employing crude imagery, gained him a reputation beyond the local congregation. Direct criticism of individual members of the congregation and ¶ the nobility in his sermons brought him before the consistory on several occasion. Only four transcribed sermons can be considered authentic. Sermons and anecdotes associated with him at a later date increasingly turned the headstrong preacher into a caricature. Frank Michael…

Sacrality, Transfer of

(294 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] The origins of the concept of transfert de sacralité are obscure. The earliest known occurrence is in the works of the historian Mona Ozouf, who since 1976 has studied the symbolic worlds, rituals, and “implicit theologies” (Assmann) in the festivals celebrated by the French Revolution. Syncretistic combination of pagan, Christian, and Masonic symbols and ceremonies, she believes, created a post-Christian politico-religious cult in which the revolutionary nation staged and constituted its…


(723 words)

Author(s): Steck, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. General Until the first half of the 12th century, sacramentum could denote any liturgical action of the church; since early Scholasticism, however, Western theology (in the Roman Catholic Church) has made a distinction between the seven sacraments and all other liturgical ¶ actions and signs, which are categorized as sacramentals. Although the sacramentals, like the sacraments, are visible signs of invisible grace, there is a qualitative difference: the sacraments, which go back in substance to Jesus Christ, are effective ex opere operato Christi, independent…


(585 words)

Author(s): Metzger, Marcel
[German Version] instructions for the bishop or priest presiding at liturgical celebrations. The reduction of the euchological formularies to writing came about as the formularies in use were written down, collected, and eventually supplemented by various local churches. This process extended from the initial production of disorganized collections to the arrangement of the formularies according to the liturgical year. Three original books have been identified as sources, much of whose content orig…


(10,176 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Nocke, Franz-Josef | Felmy, Karl Christian | Kandler, Karl-Hermann | Busch, Eberhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Church History In Christian usage, the term sacrament has two meanings: a broad meaning corresponding to the New Testament term μυστήριον/ mystḗrion (“mystery”), used as a term for mysteries of the faith in general, and a narrower meaning in the sense of certain liturgical actions that enable believers to share in the salvific grace effected by Christ. While medieval Scholastic theology in the West developed the narrower understanding of sacraments with increasingly precise and subtle definitions, …

Sacraments, Administration of the

(453 words)

Author(s): Kandler, Karl-Hermann
[German Version] Except for a few Free churches, all churches emphasize ordination as a prerequisite for administering the sacraments. Clearly special ministers were already administering the sacraments in the New Testament period (1 Cor 1:11ff.); it the post-NT period this was a matter of course (Ign. Smyrn. 8.1). In the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, apostolic succession guarantees the sacramental mediation of salvation through the priest: “The validity of the Eucharist depends on the validity of the office and its representative” ( Eucharistie und Priesteramt, 62). Th…

Sacred and Profane

(5,561 words)

Author(s): Paden, William E. | Milgrom, Jacob | Taeger, Jens-Wilhelm | Vroom, Henk M. | Hunsinger, George | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies While the sacred/profane duality has a long history, going back to the Romans, it was the emergence of an intercultural, anthropological perspective in the late 19th century that made it a significant descriptive category in comparative religious studies. In that context, the sacred/profane concept served to describe certain types of experience and behavior common to all human cultures. The anthropological interest in the sacred focused initially on early notions like taboo and mana, Oceanian terms that mean “forbidden”…

Sacred Heart of Jesus

(400 words)

Author(s): Lies, Lothar
[German Version] (wounded) symbolizes for Catholics the person of Jesus the theanthropic redeemer. The cult developed in the 11th century out of the medieval devotion to the Five Wounds, with motifs drawn from the Bible (Song of Songs, John), the fathers (Origen), and courtly literature (Minnesong), becoming a kind of courtly love of Christ, popular in monastic and mystic circles. In the effort to popularize this form of devotion (Claude de la Colombière SJ, 1641–1682), the visions of M.M. Alacoqu…

Sacred Heart of Mary

(163 words)

Author(s): Petri, Heinrich
[German Version] The “heart” is the innermost core of a person; the Sacred Heart of Mary symbolizes the holiness of the Mother of God (Mary, mother of Jesus), her love of God and her Son, and her maternal solicitude for us. Devotion to the Heart of Mary goes back to the Middle Ages (Mysticism: III, 3.b). Since the 17th century (Jean Eude, 1601–1680), there were efforts to justify liturgical devotion to the Heart of Mary theologically and gain official recognition for it. It has been permitted by R…

Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Societies, Orders, and Congregations of

(943 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] The rise of Catholic orders whose apostolate is connected to the veneration of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and is borne by the associated spirituality, is directly related to the spread of the public and liturgical cults of the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary as they prevailed from the 18th century, especially in France. With reference to the Heart of Mary societies, the dedication of the world to the Heart of Mary – a goal envisaged since the 19th century and attained in 1…

Sacredness and Sinfulness of the Church

(386 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Rolf
[German Version] The sacredness (or holiness) of the church is stated in principle in Eph 5:27: Christ sanctifies the church by cleansing it with the washing of water; it is then “holy” ( hágia, sancta) and without blemish, i.e. sinless. The creeds adopted the predicate of holiness as one of the essential marks of the church (BSLK 24). In the course of time, the sense of the church’s holiness was extended from moral spotlessness to include purity from heretical doctrine (sixth Synod of Toledo, 638; DH 493). For the faithful, mem…

Sacred Objects

(447 words)

Author(s): Kraatz, Martin
[German Version] Any object, natural or made by human hands, can be used by a religion and thus become a religious object. Sacredness is ascribed only to those religious objects that, to believers, effectively represent an agency of their religion or their personal religiosity – an agency that is outside their control but which has power over them –, that convey this effectiveness, or that have been touched and non-materially changed by it. From the perspective of religious studies, the quality of…

Sacred Sites

(2,374 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Reichert, Andreas | Dan, Joseph | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Characterization of a place as “sacred” or “holy” lends it a special status vis-à-vis its environment. Usually specific regulations govern how it is entered and used. Traditionally this status has been grounded in the belief that the site is proper to a deity or another spiritual being, or that a special power emanates from it. Sacred sites are particularly common at the center and on the fringes of group territories: the “men’s house” or festival ground defines the center of a village, just as the temple complex on …

Sacred Times

(1,513 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Metzger, Marcel | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Sacred times are ritually observed periods of time of varying duration that serve to modulate life within a community through reference to an exceptional shared experience. Someone who prays at an appointed hour knows that he or she is united with like-minded others even when alone. When people live close to nature, the necessary cooperation requires adaptation to the environment’s seasonal changes. There the ritual organization of temporal caesuras addresses bot…


(13,083 words)

Author(s): Borgeaud, Philippe | Marx, Alfred | Chaniotis, Angelos | Bremmer, Jan N. | Moscovitz, Leib | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The word sacrifice denotes both the living creature or offering sacrificed and the ritual action (e.g. destruction) through which that creature or object is dedicated to a supernatural being. If a distinction needs to be made, English and the Romance languages can use sacrifice (Eng. and Fr.; sacrificio Ital. and Span.) for the ritual action while using victim (Fr. victime, Span. víctima, Ital. vittima) for the creature sacrificed. Etymologically sacrifice suggests an action in which the sacrificed object is “made holy/sacred” (Lat. sacrum fac…


(97 words)

Author(s): Pree, Helmuth
[German Version] is the violation of persons, places, or things that have been dedicated to God or are associated with God. In canon law, physical attacks on the pope, bishops,or clergy and religious are penal offences, as are desecration, retention, or discarding the eucharistic species, profaning a holy object, and consecration of only one eucharistic species or of both outside a eucharistic celebration. Helmuth Pree Bibliography W. Rees, Die Strafgewalt der Kirche, 1993 B. Maier, D. Piattelli & M.J. Suda, “Religionsvergehen,” TRE XXIX, 1998, 49–61 B.F. Pighin, Diritto penale ca…


(495 words)

Author(s): Jordahn, Ottfried | Freigang, Christian
[German Version] I. Liturgy The sacristy ( sacristia; historically also secretarium,sacrarium, or vestiarium) is a separate room in a church building, usually near the altar, that communicates with the body of the church. It serves various purposes meant to be kept from public view. The word’s ultimate derivation from Latin sacer, “holy, sacred,” suggests its use as a place to store the sacred liturgical implements, paraments, and vestments (Vestments/Paraments, Vestments, Liturgical), as well as the liturgical books. The consecrated elements of the Eucharist ( reliqua sacramen…

Saddle Period

(388 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] (Ger. Sattelzeit) has become a central concept in the exploration of conceptual history by German historians. It was coined spontaneously by Reinhard Koselleck in the planning stage of a lexicon sponsored by the Arbeitskreis für moderne Sozialgeschichte, Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland(8 vols. in 9, 1972–1997). It is possible that echoes of the concept of so-called axial or pivotal ages, developed by H. Freyer and C. Schmitt (among others), played a role. Kosel…


(573 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Bernd
[German Version] After the Essenes and the Pharisees, the Sadducees were the most important Jewish party in Palestine in the period before 70 ce. They comprised the descendants and supporters of the (high-)priestly dynasty that traced its lineage to the eponymous priest Zadok of the Davidic and Solomonic period (2 Sam 8:17, etc.). The Greek word Σαδδουκαῖοι/ Saddukaíoi, always plural, first appears in Mark 12:28 and the works of Flavius Josephus ( Bell. II 119.164–166) – after the presumed dispersal of the party bearing that name. The Sadducees were already a recognizab…

Sadoleto, Jacopo

(280 words)

Author(s): Zschoch, Hellmut
[German Version] (Jul 12, 1477, Modena – Oct 18, 1547, Rome). In 1513 Leo X appointed Sadoleto, a Humanist famed for his linguistic skill, to the Curia for its diplomatic service; in 1517 he made him bishop of Carpentras. Sadoleto took the Reformation in Germany as a challenge to engage in his own theological work. He interpreted Pss 50 and 93 (1525/1530) with a clear interest in the moral renewal of the clergy. His commentary on Romans (1535) emphasized human free will vis-à-vis God so strongly that even Catholic theologians condemned it as semi-Pelagian. In 1536 he was appo…


(268 words)

Author(s): Vollmer, Ulrich
[German Version] The word saeculum derives from the same root as the Latin verb serere, “sow”; it suggests the notion of a group of human beings sown as seed: when the last seedling of a sowing has vanished, a saeculum has reached its end and a new saeculum begins. This background helps explain the rather vague definition of saeculum by Censorinus as “the longest possible human lifetime” (XVII 2), while Varro limits it concretely to 100 years ( De lingua latina VI 11). Following the Etruscans, who divided their history into ten saecula of varying length, Rome observed periodic interval…

Sagittarius, Johann Christfried

(187 words)

Author(s): Koch, Ernst
[German Version] (Sep 28, 1617, Bres­lau [now Wrocław] – Feb 19, 1689, Altenburg, Thuringia). After the death of his parents in 1623, Saggitarius was brought up in Jena. After attending school in Brunswick (to 1628) and university in Jena (to 1641), in 1641 he was appointed deputy school director in Hof. In 1643 he received his M.A. and became school director in Jena. In 1646 he was appointed professor of history and literature at Jena and in 1650 dean of the philosophical faculty. In 1651 he bega…

Sagittarius, Kaspar

(161 words)

Author(s): Albrecht-Birkner, Veronika
[German Version] (Sep 23, Lüneburg – Mar 9, 1694, Jena). After studying in Jena (1660) and Helmstedt (1662) and elsewhere, he was appointed principal in Saalfeld in 1668. He received his M.A. in 1671, his Lic.theol. in 1673, and his Dr.theol. in 1678 at Jena. In 1674 he was appointed professor of history in Jena and 1688 to the additional post of historiographer of the Ernestine court. Sagittarius published many works, primarily on history and church history (e.g. Introductio in historian ecclesiasticam, 2 vols., 1718) with special emphasis on Saxony and Thuringia. He was in contact with ¶ P…

Sägmüller, Johann Baptist

(201 words)

Author(s): Aymans, Winfried
[German Version] (Feb 24, 1860, Winterreute, near Biberach – Oct 22, 1942, Tübingen), Catholic canonist. After studying philosophy and theology in Tübingen, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1884; after three years as a parish priest, he served as a lecturer at the Wilhelmsstift in Tübingen from 1887 to 1893. In 1888 he received his doctorate and in 1893 was appointed adjunct professor of medieval history in Tübingen; from 1896 to 1926, he taught as professor of canon law and pedagogics in the Catholic faculty of theology in Tübingen. Sägmüller’s magnum opus was his historically org…

Saguna, Andrei

(185 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Johann
[German Version] (baptized Anastasiu; Jan 1, 1809, Miskolc – Jun 28, 1873, Sibiu/Herrmanstadt). Saguna, born to an Aromanian merchant family, studied law and philosophy in Pest and attended the Serbian Orthodox seminary in Vršac. A monk since 1833, he was ordained priest in 1837 and consecrated bishop of the Orthodox Romanians in Transylvania in 1848 in Sremski Karlovci. In 1864 he became the first archbishop of the autonomous Romanian Orthodox metropolitanate in Hungary. He created an independent…

Sahagún, Bernardino de Ribeira

(583 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (born Ribeira, B. de; Dec 1499?, Sahagún, León – Oct 1590?, Mexico City), Spanish Franciscan, pioneer of ethnography in America and cultural anthropology. Almost nothing is known of his childhood and youth. He probably studied at Salamanca, where he joined the Franciscans; in 1529 he was in Mexico, conquered only shortly before by H. Cortés. He stayed in Mexico until the end of his life, serving as a missionary, teacher, and researcher, and sometimes holding high office in his ord…

Šahrastānī, Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdalkarīm

(175 words)

Author(s): van Ess, Josef
[German Version] (1086, Šahristān, a village on the edge of the Qara Qum desert [modern Turkmenistan] – 1153, Šahristān), trained in Šāfiʿite law and Ašʿarite theology, he was noted primarily for a doxographic work in which he described the Islamic “sects,” as well as the orientations of the other Eastern religions and the views of ancient and modern philosophers. The book remains impressive for its transparency, but its value as a source is slight. More important were Šahrastānī’s dispute with Av…


(241 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Ulrich
[German Version] (Tell es-Saʿīdīyeh). Pritchard’s excavations between 1964 and 1967 and Tubb’s since 1985 show that occupation of this site in the central Jordan valley began in the Early Bronze period at the latest; at the end of the Late Bronze period and in the early Iron Age it experienced an urban florescence, probably as the residence of an Egyptian governor. The unique water supply system consisted of a roofed staircase leading to a spring outside the walls. After an occupation gap, the cit…

Šaiḫ al-Azhar

(125 words)

Author(s): Lohlker, Rüdiger
[German Version] The office of rector ( šaiḫ) of al-Azhar university in Cairo (Madrasah) was established toward the end of the 17th century. As the structures of traditional religious scholarship dropped away in the 19th century (Clergy: III), the associated centralization at the Azhar (Teaching authority: III) made the office increasingly important as the primary authority of Egyptian Islam. Since a reform implemented in 1961, the office has played an increasing role (not without tension) in legitimat…

Šaiḫ al-Islām

(171 words)

Author(s): Krawietz, Birgit
[German Version] This title first came into use toward the end of the 10th century in northeastern Iran. In the Islamic world, it is given to outstanding scholars of Šarīʿa (ʿ ulamāʾ: Clergy and laity: III) like the Syrian mufti Ibn Taimīya (died 1328) or Sufi authorities (Islam: II, 5). In the course of time (and with regional variations), it was given to certain important government offices or functionaries of religious law. The most famous holder of the title was the grand mufti of the Ottoman Empire (Ottomans), with his r…

Sailer, Johann Michael

(563 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Hubert
[German Version] (Nov 17, 1751, Aresing, near Schrobenhausen – May 20, 1832, Regensburg), ¶ Catholic theologian and bishop. He began his studies at Ingolstadt in 1770 (as a Jesuit novice until the Jesuits were suppressed in 1773) and was ordained to the priesthood in 1775. He began his academic career in Ingolstadt, where he was appointed second professor of dogmatics in 1780 (alongside his teacher M. Sattler), but he was dismissed the next year along with the other ex-Jesuits as an “obscurantist.” In 1794 he…

Saint Denis, Ruth

(146 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (Jan 20, 1879, Newark, NJ – Jul 21, 1968, Hollywood, CA), dancer and choreographer. After initial success in vaudeville and on Broadway, she focused her style on ethno-religious themes and became a pioneer of modern American dance. Particularly interested in the traditions of Egypt and India, she created the dances “Radha” (1906), “The Incense” (1909), and “The Cobra” (1909). On her tours in Europe and India, she danced in oriental costume. In 1915 she and her husband T. Shawn fou…
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