Religion Past and Present

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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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Wach, Joachim

(261 words)

Author(s): Krüger, Oliver
[German Version] (Jan 25, 1898, Chemnitz – Aug 27, 1955, Locarno). After studying Protestant theology, philosophy, and Near Eastern languages with F. Heiler, E. Troeltsch, and E. Husserl, in 1922 he received his doctorate in religious studies from Leipzig, where he received his habilitation in 1924. In 1930 he received a doctorate in Protestant theology from Heidelberg. In 1935 racial politics forced him to give up his position at Leipzig. He emigrated to the United States, where he taught initial…

Wackenroder, Wilhelm Heinrich

(411 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Jul 13, 1773, Berlin – Feb 13, 1798, Berlin), German art theorist and writer, whose conception of art made him the forerunner of German Romanticism. At the Gymnasium he attended from 1786 to 1792, he formed a friendship wi…


(320 words)

Author(s): Wennemuth, Heike | Grözinger, Albrecht
[German Version] 1. Philipp Karl Eduard (Jun 28, 1800, Berlin – Jun 20, 1877, Dresden) studied natural science and German language and literature in Breslau (Wrocław), Halle, and Berlin, encouraged by K. v. Raumer. From 1824 to 1861 he taught at various (private) schools and ¶ published works for teachers. In 1827 he received a doctorate from Erlangen on the basis of his work on mineralogy; in 1861 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the theological faculty of Breslau. After 1839 he devoted himself increasingly to hymnology, publishing …

Wadi ed-Daliyeh

(6 words)

[German Version] Qumran

Wadi Murabba’at

(6 words)

[German Version] Qumran

Wagner, Falk

(368 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] (Feb 25, 1939, Vienna – Nov 18, 1998, Vienna) was brought up in a middle-class family. After studying Protestant theology, primarily with H.W. Wolff and Wolfhart Pannenberg, and philosophy, especially with T.W. Adorno and Wolfgang Cramer, he quickly became active in the biblicistic, socially conservative Heliand scouting association. In 1969 he received his Dr.theol. at Munich with a thesis entitled Der Gedanke der Persönlichkeit Gottes bei Fichte und Hegel. His habilitation followed in the winter semester of 1971/1972 with a critical interpretati…

Wagner, Peter Josef

(218 words)

Author(s): Praßl, Franz Karl
[German Version] (Aug 19, 1865, Kürenz, near Trier – Oct 17, 1931, Fribourg), musicologist. After training with Michael Hermesdorff at the cathedral in Trier, he studied in Straßburg (Strasbourg) with Gustav Jacobsthal and in Berlin with Heinrich Bellermann and P. Spitta. In 1893 he received his habilitation from Fribourg and taught there as a lecturer; he was appointed associate professor in 1897 and full professor in 1902. In 1920/1921 he served as rector. In 1901 he founded the Gregorian Academ…

Wagner, Richard

(287 words)

Author(s): Hartwich, Wolf-Daniel
[German Version] (May 22, 1813, Leipzig – Feb 13, 1883, Venice). After studying primarily as an autodidact, holding various positions as a conductor, and failing in an attempt to establish himself in Paris as an opera composer, in 1842 Wagner was appointed court conductor in Dresden. His participation in the 1848 Revolution forced him to take refuge in Switzerland. In 1864 King Ludwig II of Bavaria called Wagner to Munich and backed the production of his works. In 1872 Wagner moved to Bayreuth, where he built his

Wagner, Valentin

(170 words)

Author(s): Gündisch, Konrad
[German Version] (c. 1510, Kronstadt [Braşov] [?] – Sep 2, 1557, Kronstadt), Humanist and Reformer in Transylvania. After studying in Krakow and Wittenberg (1542/1543, master’s degree in 1554), he continued the work of his teacher J. Honter as rector of a Gymnasium (1544/1545), magistrate (1546) and councilor (1547), city pastor of Kronstadt (1549–1557), dean of the Burzenland (1552), and printer (works of classical authors and German Reformers, a Gk grammar, textbooks, anthologies o…


(288 words)

Author(s): Peskes, Esther
[German Version] Wahhabis, adherents of a theological school in Sunni Islam (II), founded in the center of the Arabian Peninsula by the Ḥanbalite scholar Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdalwahhāb (1703–1792). They originally called themselves al-muwaḥḥidūn, “affirmers of the singularity of God.” The core of Ibn ʿAbdalwahhāb’s teachings is a more restrictive interpretation of the requirements for fulfilling the obligation to affirm the singularity of God ( tauḥīd) and eschew its opposite, the “partnering” of anyone or anything else with God ( širk), than the interpretation of the traditional Sunni legal schools. Numerous religious practices tolerated in other schools of Sunni Islam (esp. veneration of saints and their tombs, the cult of prophets), and Sufi Islam, as well as practices of the Shiʿites, are condemned b…

Wahrmund, Ludwig

(216 words)

Author(s): Link, Christoph
[German Version] (Aug 21, 1860, Vienna – Sep 10, 1932, Prague), Catholic professor of canon law. After his habilitation in law in Vienna (1889), he was appointed associate professor (1891) and full professor (1894) in Chernivtsi. In 1896 he was appointed to a professorship in the faculty of law at Innsbruck. Wahrmund, who had been noted for his studies on legal history, became really famous in the “Wahrmund affair.” He aggressively asserted the incompatibility of the “Catholic worldvi…

Wake, William

(188 words)

Author(s): Amos, N. Scott
[German Version] (Jan 26, 1657, Blandford Forum, Dorset, England – Jan 24, 1737, London), a clergyman of the Church of England, was a leading ecclesiastical figure in his day. He was educated at Christ Church College, Oxford (M.A. 1679) and later received the degrees of B.D. and D.D. in 1689. He held n…


(183 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Martina
[German Version] (c. 755 – Aug 31, 836, Bobbio), brother of Adalhard of Corbie, with whom he founded the abbey of Corvey and the chapter of nuns at Herford. A cousin and adviser of Charlemagne, he was banished by Louis the Pious in 813 and forced to become a monk at Corbie Abbey. From 826 to 830 he was abbot of Corbie Abbey, succeeding his brother, and after 823 he was an adviser to Lothar I. Banished once more in 830, he went to Italy, where he was abbot of …


(387 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Johann
[German Version] Walachia, region in southern Romania divided by the Olt into Greater Walachia (Muntenia) and Lesser Walachia (Oltenia). An extension of the Eurasian Steppe, until well into the modern era Walachia was settled by various steppe peoples. In the context of the Danube Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria), historical sources also mention Orthodox Vlachs/Walachians (Romanians) in Walachia, canonically under Ochrid or Târnovo. In the 12th century, pagan Cumans ruled Walachia; they were …

Walahfrid Strabo

(334 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter
[German Version] (c. 807 – Aug 18, 849). Walahfrid, who grew up in poverty and suffered from a visual handicap (Strabo, “the cross-eyed”), was already writing Latin poetry on Reichenau at the age of 15. His first lengthy work was the metrical Visio Wettini (c. Easter 825). Around 826 he wrote the metrical legends of Blathmac, an Irish king’s son slain by Danish Vikings on the island of Iona, and the Cappadocian martyr Mammas, a Christian Orpheus figure. Around 827 he was relocated to Fulda, where he wrote exe…

Walatta Petros (Saint)

(316 words)

Author(s): Böll, Verena
[German Version] (1594/1595, Samada, Tabor region, Ethiopia – Nov 23, 1644, Rema Island, Ethiopia), Ethiopian saint; feast day Nov 23. Walatta Petros is considered a defender of the faith of Ethiopian Orthodoxy and is venerated as a martyr. She received a theological education in school, married Malka Krestos, a confidant of Emperor Susenyos (1607–1632), became a nun around 1620, and fought against Catholic missionaries (Jesuits) and the emperor’s efforts at union wit…

Walburga, Saint

(155 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Martina
[German Version] (Waldpurga, Walpurgis; c. 710, southern England – Feb 25, 779/790), of the Anglo-Saxon brothers Willibald (bishop of Eichstätt) and Wunibald (abbot of Heidenheim) and related to Boniface. She traveled to the continent in the 830s, possibly with Lioba, and may have lived in Tauber­bischofsheim. After Wunibald’s death, she succeeded him as abbess of the double abbey of Heidenheim, where she encouraged the nun Hugeburc to write the
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