Religion Past and Present

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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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Zabarella, Jacopo

(260 words)

Author(s): Salatowsky, Sascha
[German Version] (Sep 9, 1533, Padua – Oct 15, 1589, Padua), Aristotelian philosopher. Zabarella studied the humanistic disciplines along with logic, mathematics, and natural philosophy in Padua, which then belonged to the Venetian Republic. In 1564 he was appointed professor of logic at the university. In 1568 he moved to the chair of natural philosophy, which he occupied until his death. Zabarella was already famous in his own lifetime for his innovative definition of logic as an instrumental me…

Zaberella, Francesco

(164 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Hans
[German Version] (de Zabarellis; Aug 10, 1360, Padua – Sep 26, 1417, Constance), important canonist, cardinal. After studying at Bologna, he taught at Bologna, Florence (Dr.utr.iuris), and Padua. In 1410 he became bishop of Florence and in 1411 was made a cardinal. To resolve the Great Western Schism, he urged a council; he was one of the most important figures in the preparation and successful completion of the Council of Constance (Constance, Council of). He played an important role in formulating the decree Haec sancta (Conciliar theory) and deposing the antipope John ¶ XXIII. He als…


(7 words)

[German Version] Elizabeth and Zachariah

Zacharias, Pope (Saint)

(183 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Wilfried
[German Version] (Dec 3, 741 – Mar 15, 752) made an alliance with the Franks, but also sought an accommodation with the Lombards and Byzantium (Constantinople). A Roman council in 743 dealt with disciplinary questions and matrimonial law; a synod in 745 condemned the heretics Aldebert and Clement. In 747 Zacharias wrote to Pippin, the mayor of the palace, regarding the Christian life of clergy and laity (M. Tangl, ed., MGH.Ep 1, 1916, 479–487); he gave Boniface advice on church discipline. Scholar…

Zacharias Scholasticus

(241 words)

Author(s): Nebes, Norbert
[German Version] (also called Rhetor; c. 465, near Gaza – before 553), Monophysites, lawyer, and historian. After studying in Alexandria and Berytos (modern Beirut), he practiced as a rhetor in Constantinople. From 527 on he was bishop of Mytilene on Lesbos; in that office he was an adherent of Chalcedon (Chalcedon, Council of). His extensive oeuvre, most of which survives in Syriac translation, includes biographies such as his life of Severus of Antioch and ¶ apologetic works, the most important of which, the Ammonius, is named after its main speaker; it is directed against p…


(311 words)

Author(s): Dan, Joseph
[German Version] The term zaddiq (קידְּצַ/ ṣaddîq; “Righteous”) is in most cases a vague, general title associating with religious devotion and leadership. It indicates social involvement and ethical perfection beyond the strict demands of the Halakhah and prominent position in the religious community. The verse in Pro 10:25 gave this term a cosmic meaning: the zaddiq is the foundation of the universe ( axis mundi). The legends of the 36 zaddiqim who are the justification of the world’s existence developed from this concept. In the Kabbalah, the term was used to indicate the ni…


(459 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Zadok (Heb. קוֹדצָ[ינֵבְּ]/[ b enê] ṣādôq, “Zadok”/“Sons of Zadok = Zadokites”) was considered the ancestor of the Zadokite priests (1 Kgs 4:2) in the temple (II, 4) of Jerusalem (I), who were believed to have officiated under Solomon, the founder of the temple. The fact that, in the narrative of David’s (I) succession to the throne (2 Sam 7–1 Kgs 2), he appears as a homo novus with no previous history certainly does not point to Zadok’s pre-Israelite origins, but rather to the fact that it was only at a late date that he was given a role in the D…


(186 words)

Author(s): Kraft, Ekkehard
[German Version] Zagreb, capital of the Republic of Croatia, situated between the Sava and the slopes of Mount Medvenica. It is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop and an Orthodox metropolitan. Settlement of what is now Zagreb goes back to the pre-Roman period. In 1094 (or shortly before 1091), King Ladislaus I of Hungary and Croatia erected the see of Zagreb and made the town also a county seat. The diocese was initially suffragan to Esztergom and after the 12th century to Kálocsa; in additio…


(601 words)

Author(s): Ulrichs, Hans-Georg
[German Version] 1. Franz Michael (Jun 4, 1833, Moers – Mar 3, 1900, Bremen), from 1862 to his death, head of the Norddeutsche Mission; co-founder of the Continental Mission Conference (1866); worked closely with G. Warneck and the Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift ( AMZ, 1874ff.), which Warneck founded, and critical of the pro-colonial tendency in the mission and its idea of a people’s church. In 1890 he resigned as head of the Deutscher Evangelischer Missionsrat. In theology he was influenced by the Erlangen school, and pedagogically h…

Zahn-Harnack, Agnes von

(201 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] (Jun 19, 1884, Gießen – May 22, 1950, Berlin), daughter of A. v. Harnack; journalist and campaigner for women’s rights. After teacher training and earning her Dr.phil. (1912), from 1914 to 1918 she tested a career in social planning concretely in the civil service. After joining the German Democratic Party in 1919, she earned a reputation as a high-profile, culturally sensitive internationally-minded organizer of the bourgeois women’s movement; from 1931 to 1933 she chaired the Fe…

Zahn, Johannes Christoph Andreas

(113 words)

Author(s): Wennemuth, Heike
[German Version] (Aug 1, 1817, Eschenbach – Feb 17, 1895, Neuendettelsau). After studying theology, primarily at Erlangen, Zahn served from 1854 to 1888 as director of the teachers’ college in Altdorf. His excellent training in church music supported his work in hymnology. Zahn left his mark on the reform of Protestant congregational and choral ¶ singing, not least through his assistance in producing hymn and tune books (Hymnal: I, 4). He published his fundamental researches in Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder aus den Quellen geschöpft (6 vols., 1889–1983),…


(7 words)

[German Version] Congo, Democratic Republic

Zalman Shazar

(203 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Barbara
[German Version] (Shazar is an acronym of Shneur Zalman Rubashov; Oct 6, 1889, Mir [now in Belarus] – Oct 5, 1974, Jerusalem), third president of the state of Israel, journalist and scholar, major leader of the Zionist labor movement. After a traditional upbringing in a Hasidic milieu, he studied history and philosophy in St. Petersburg, Freiburg, Straßburg (Strasbourg), and Berlin. In 1905 he had already joined the Zionist workers’ party Po‘ale Zion (Zionism). In 1924 he emigrated to Palestine, where he sat on all the critical political committees, while at the same time working on Davar…


(569 words)

Author(s): Henkel, Reinhard
[German Version] Zambia, a country in southern Africa. The name comes from the Zambesi river that marks the southern frontier with Zimbabwe. Under British influence from c. 1890, in 1924 it became a British protectorate under the name of Northern Rhodesia. It became independent in 1964 under the leadership of the former mission pupil Kenneth D. Kaunda. With an area of 752,614 km2 and 10.8 million inhabitants (2003), Zambia is a medium-sized African country. Most of the country is between 1,000 and 1,500 m above sea level. It has a tropical climate with alt…

Zanchius, Hieronymus

(311 words)

Author(s): Campi, Emidio
[German Version] (Feb 2, 1516, Alzano, near Bergamo – Nov 19, 1590, Neustadt). In 1531 Zanchius joined the Augustinian Canons in Bergamo. In 1541 he was sent to Lucca, where he converted to Protestantism under the influence of Peter Martyr Vermigli. Fleeing Italy in 1551, he stayed in Geneva for ten months and took refuge in Straßburg (Strasbourg) from 1553 to 1563. He served as professor of Old Testament at the College of St. Thomas until he was forced to leave Straßburg as a result of his confli…

Zander, Lev Aleksandrovich

(178 words)

Author(s): Ruppert, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] (Feb 19, 1893, St. Petersburg – Dec 17, 1964, Paris), Russian philosopher and theologian. After earning his Lic.iur. in 1913, he studied philosophy at Heidelberg in 1913/1914. He lectured at the universities of Perm (1918) and Vladivostok (1919–1922). In 1925 he was cofounder of the Institut de Théologie Orthodoxe Saint-Serge in Paris and became its professor of philosophy and denominational studies. He was the most prominent student of S.N. Bulgakov and promoter of his works. He …


(2,516 words)

Author(s): Cereti, Carlo Giovanni
[German Version] I. Concept Zoroastrianism is the name given to the religion founded at least 2,600 years ago by Zarathustra (in the Avesta: Zaraθuštra). The date and place of Zarathustra’s birth are still a matter of debate in the scholarly community, although Pahlavi literature cites the year 258 before Alexander the Great as the traditional date (see III below). Pahlavi literature also preserves a legendary account of Zarathustra’s life. Zoroastrianism emerged as a monotheism (I) that was characterized by a mitigated dualism (I) and in which free choice played a ¶ decisive role. Ho…

Zarʾā Yāʿeqob

(413 words)

Author(s): Böll, Verena
[German Version] (1399–1468), emperor of Ethiopia (1434–1468). Zarʾā Yāʿeqob’s reign was marked by wars of conquest and domestic political reforms. By restructuring the administration and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, he centralized the kingdom, establishing his residence in Dabra Berhān. The coastal regions (Massawa) were absorbed and a fleet was built. In the north (Eritrea), he created the office of the Bāḥr nagāš, who ruled there in his stead. In 1445 he defeated Sultan ¶ Badlāy ibn Saʿd ad-Din and conquered the East. He supported the church, restructured the lit…

Zār Cult

(104 words)

Author(s): Heine, Peter
[German Version] In Sudan, Egypt, and (through migration) some countries of the Persian Gulf region, cults centered on possession and healing (Sickness and healing: II), which probably originated in sub-Saharan Africa, are called Zār cults, a term deriving from the Arabic verb zāra, “visit.” Today Zār is found primarily in the rural areas of these countries or in the traditional quarters of the large cities. It is practiced primarily by women of Muslim but also Christian background who are exposed to strong social pressures. Peter Heine Bibliography I.M. Lewis et al., eds., Women’s Med…

Zasius, Ulrich

(314 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Jan
[German Version] (1461, Constance – 1535, Freiburg im Breisgau). In 1494 Zasius was appointed town clerk in Freiburg, where he became director of the Latin school in 1496. In 1501 he earned his Dr.legum; in 1506, after many years of teaching, he was appointed professor of leges at the University of Freiburg. In 1508 Maximilian I gave him the title of imperial counselor. Zasius is considered the most important German jurist of the 16th century. His contemporaries already ranked him alongside Andreas Alciatus (1492–1550) and G. Budé, the two …
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