Religion Past and Present

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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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(428 words)

Author(s): Wilson, H. Clyde
[German Version] Athapaskan-speaking peoples came from northeastern Asia to North America, perhaps as early as 10,000 years ago. Some of their descendants, the Apache and Navajo, migrated south between 1100 and 1500 ce and occupied territory in the American southwest. There are six Apache tribes: the Jicarilla, Lipan, Kiowa Apache, the Mescalero, Chiricahua, and the Western Apache. Religion, like all aspects of their social life, is …

Apáczai Csere, János

(175 words)

Author(s): Keserü, Bálint
[German Version] (1625, Apáca – 1659, Klausenburg), Hungarian reformed teacher and scholar. After university studies in the Netherlands, Apáczai became professor in 1653 at the college of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Julia), where his inaugural lecture harshly criticizing the educational situation in Transylvania caused strong displeasure, also on the part of the prince. Because of alleged insubordination, Apáczai was transferred to the reformed Latin school in Klausenburg, where he died prematurely. His culturo-political programmatic writings (e.g. De summa scholarum necessit…


(132 words)

Author(s): Gogolok, Osmar
[German Version] is the most important site for pilgrimages to Mary in Brazil (with approx. 6 million pilgrims annually) on the Paraíba River in São Paulo. In 1717, fishermen drew a clay figurine, “Our Lady of the Conception,” from the water. Venerated by the people, the church recognized it in 1743. Emperor Don Pedro I placed independent Brazil under her prot…


(1,107 words)

Author(s): Smit, Dirk J.
[German Version] I. Definition – II. History – III. Theology of Apartheid I. Definition “Apartheid” (Afrikaans for “apartness,” “separateness”) refers to the official political system in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. Called “separate development” since the 1960s, it sanctioned a strict racial segregation (Racism) and the political and economic discrimination against all people legally classified as “non-white.” II. History The history of racial conflict, segregation, and discrimination reaches back to the beginning of co…


(488 words)

Author(s): Hossenfelder, Malte | Sarot, Marcel
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Dogma I. Philosophy ἀπάθεια/ apatheia, “freedom from affects,” is a central concept in Stoic ethics. As did the competing Epicureans (Epicureanism) and Pyrrhoneans (Skepticism), the Stoics saw happiness, regarded as the telos (goal), in inner peace, in the calm and balance of the soul. In their view, the affect, an “overdeveloped urge,” escaped from the control of reason, threatened these qualities (SVF 3,378). I…


(129 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (died after 180), the most important disciple of Marcion, was a Christian teacher in Alexandria and Rome. He moderated his master's dualism: below the highest, good God there are two angelic deities, namely the creator of the world and the “fiery” God of the OT. Christ forms his body from the matter of the heavenly bodies. Apelles applied rationalist criticism to the OT. His norms were Marcion's “NT” canon (and a gospel of his own?), as well as the Revelations ( phaneroseis) of the prophetess Philumene. The latter are no longer extant, nor are his Syllogisms. Gerhard May Bibli…


(192 words)

Author(s): Lipinski, Edward
[German Version] (Sharon). Aphek, in the plain of Sharon (Heb. אֲפֵק, Akkad. uruAp-qu, Aram. ʾpq, Gk ᾽Αφεκ [also Aphekos, Pēgai, Antipatris], Arab. Rās al-ʿAyn, crusader Mirabel), is situated 12 km east of Tel Aviv, near the source of the river Jarkon, to which Aphek owes its name, “Source”. It is located on one of the main highways of Canaan and appears already in Egyptian execration texts (19th cent. bce) and in topographical lists. In the MBA and LBA periods it was a city-state but in the 13th century pr…


(158 words)

Author(s): Horst, Pieter W. van der
[German Version] is a Greek town in Caria (Asia Minor), approx. 90 km east of Miletus. From time immemorial it was a shrine of the mother goddess of Asia Minor. The town flourished during the Imperial era and developed into one of the most important cultural centers of Anatolia. There is no evidence of Christianity in Aphrodisias prior to the 4th century but t…


(546 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (᾽Αφρδίτη; Lat. Venus). Most of the Greek cities dedicated shrines to the Greek goddess Aphrodite; she is rarely found as the city deity, as in Aphrodisias in Asia Minor; Corinth is considered her city. Within the internal social structure of the polis Aphrodite was chosen as goddess in the following contexts: 1. By young women on the day befo…


(231 words)

Author(s): Esbroeck, Michel van
[German Version] from Gk ἀ (negation), φθείρω/ ptheirō, "perish, decay" and δοκέω/ dokeō, "appear." From c. 518 onwards, the Aphthartodocetae (Lat. incorrupticolae) differed from the Monophysites in asserting that Christ's body was eternally incorruptible. Until the end of the 6th century, their sphere of influence embraced Syria and Egypt, as well as Armenia until the …


(2,076 words)

Author(s): Hellholm, David | Frankfurter, David
[German Version] I. Form and Genre – II. Literature (in Antiquity) I. Form and Genre 1. Genre. Apocalypse as a literary genre represents a genre of revelatory literature found predominantly in early Jewish and early Christian literature, although it is also attested in Middle Persian, Greco-Roman, and Gnostic literature. Apocalypses can appear as independent texts or compilations as par…

Apocalypse of Adam (NHC V, 5; Apoc. Adam)

(21 words)

[German Version] Adam, Books of, Sethianism

Apocalypse of Elijah

(349 words)

Author(s): Berger, Klaus
[German Version] There have been several texts bearing the name “Apocalypse of Elijah”. 1. Completely preserved and existing in both Coptic dialects is the “Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah,” dated 1st–4th century ce, with a Jewish original. The only definitely Christian part of this text is the sign of the cross in 32:1, accompanying the coming of the messiah. Central to the representation of the end times is the battle …

Apocalypse of James (First)

(192 words)

Author(s): Schenke, Hans-Martin
[German Version] (NHC V,3; 1 Apoc. Jas.) is a Gnostic Christian – more specifically Valentinian (Valentinianism) – revelation dialogue between Jesus and James, the brother of the Lord, supposedly recorded by the apostle Addai/Thaddaeus. It is extant only in a Coptic (Sahidic) translation. A second Coptic version in a 4th-century papyrus codex is …

Apocalypse of James (Second)

(199 words)

Author(s): Schenke, Hans-Martin
[German Version] (NHC V,4; 2 Apoc. Jas.) presents itself as an account by a priest to James's father, describing a temple sermon delivered by James in which, using Jesus' sayings, he speaks of Jesus from the Gnostic (Gnosis/Gnosticism) perspective and in particular describes his own Easter vision along with the revelation that has been imparted to him. There follo…

Apocalypse of Paul

(185 words)

Author(s): Copeland, Kirsti
[German Version] ( Apoc. Paul [Greek]). Although originally in Greek, the Apoc. Paul is best transmitted in its Latin version. A few manuscripts contain a preface dated to 388 ce, apparently the year the text originated. Augustine's Tractate on the Gospel of John ( Tract. Ev. Jo. XCVIII 8) and the church histories of Sozomen (VII 19) and of Bar Hebraeus (1226–1286: Nomokanon VII 8) cite Apoc. Paul (Greek). The Decretum Gelasianum and the catalogue of the 60 canonical works (c. 650 ce [ NTApo, I], Canonical lists) reject it. The text renders the content of Egyptian apocrypha, especially T.Ab.,…

Apocalypse of Paul (NHC V,2; Apoc. Paul)

(13 words)

[German Version] Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha: IV

Apocalypse of Peter

(279 words)

Author(s): Bauckham, Richard
[German Version] (Greek; Apoc. Pet. [Greek]). The Apoc. Pet. (Greek) is an early Christian apocalypse in which Jesus, after his resurrection, reveals the eschatological future to his disciples. Themes include the Antichrist, the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, the punishment of the ungodly in hell and the rewarding of the righteous in paradise. The work ends with an account of …

Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII,3; Apoc. Pet.)

(14 words)

[German Version] Docetism, Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha: IV

Apocalypse of Ps.-Methodius,

(187 words)

Author(s): Suermann, Harald
[German Version] composed c. 691 in northern Mesopotamia (Syria), recounts the history of the world from Adam to the Islamic conquests in the author's own day, which signal the beginning of the eschaton. The text focuses on the last Roman emperor, the Antichrist, and victory over the Antichrist with the ascendancy of cross and crown. The Apocalypse is ascribed to Bishop Methodius of Olympus. It draws on Syriac sources such as the Treasure Cave, the Julian Romance, and the History of Alexander. At a very early date, it was translated into Greek and…
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