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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Communio sanctorum

(195 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Rolf
[German Version] The expression communio sanctorum, an explanatory addition to “the holy church” in the Apostles' Creed, first appears in the context of pre-baptismal instruction in the catechetical sermon De symbolo of Bishop Nicetas of Remesiana. It soon came into widespread use, especially in Gaul. It may be interpreted as a reference to the sanctorum omnium congregatio (Nicetas), to those who have achieved perfection (in the context of veneration of the saints), or to participation in the sacraments. Luther recognized communio sanctorum as a gloss clarifying the signific…


(3,984 words)

Author(s): Jähnichen, Traugott
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. History and Church History I. Philosophy 1. Terminology Communism (<Lat. communis, “common”) denotes (a) notions of a future social order in which private ownership is abolished and the means of production are owned collectively and administered by agencies of society. Consumption, i.e. the distribution of goods and services, is also regulated by collective distribution of the goods produced by society on the basis of its members' ma…


(1,435 words)

Author(s): Reese-Schäfer, Walter | Schoberth, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Ethics – III. Philosophy of Religion, Fundamental Theology, and Practical Theology I. Philosophy The social philosophy of communitarianism originated in the USA in the 1980s. Its starting point was a fundamental philosophical critique of John Rawls's liberal contract theory of justice (Liberalism). According to the critique, this theory understands individuals totally apart from their social contexts and favors a republic where justice is only pro…


(355 words)

Author(s): Krug, Edith Therese
[German Version] History: religious associations known as “communities” invoke the communal structures that have existed throughout church history ever since the primitive church (Acts 2:42): the Desert Fathers and Mothers (Anchorites), cenobitic monasticism (Cenobites), medieval orders, semimonastic and fraternal impulses in Pietism (N. v. Zinzendorf, G. Tersteegen), mission homes, the liturgical movement at the beginning of the 20th century. The …

Communities, Missionary

(525 words)

Author(s): Werner, Dietrich
[German Version] The substantive presuppositions of the study Strukturen missionarischer Gemeinden (Stuctures of Missionary Communities = SMC) issued in 1961 at the commission of the World Council of Churches include the external integration of the WCC and the International Missionary Council (IMC) (1961), the efforts at a renewal of the theology of missionary proclamation begun already in the 1950's, the emphasis on the missionary responsibility of the laity, and the r…


(5,842 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Rüterswörden, Udo | Banks, Robert J. | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Marquardt, Manfred | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Church Law – IX. Judaism – X. Islam I. History of Religion In the following comments the term community will refer exclusively to a religiously motivated association of people. From the standpoint of the history of religion, the formation of communities is more the exception than the rule. The fact that associations such as tribes, as well, howe…

Community and the Individual

(5,279 words)

Author(s): Williame, Jean-Paul | Görg, Manfred | Popkes, Wiard | Zenkert, Georg | Thomas, Günter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Philosophy – V. Dogmatics – VI. Sociology, Ethics – VII. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies In the context of their understanding of God and related obligations, human beings make connections of solidarity and feel, with more or less intensity, that they are members of the same community. Religion brings people closer together and creates social ties: the umma of the Muslims, Christian brotherhood and ecumeni…

Community Movement

(3,740 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich | Lippy, Charles H.
[German Version] I. Europe – II. North America I. Europe There has been a community or “fellowship” movement (Ger. Gemeinschaftsbewegung), an organized form of pietism in practice, since the 19th century in various European countries, especially in Scandinavia, as well as in eastern and southeastern European countries, although it was or is not as important there as in the German-speaking countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Alsace, as well as Holland). Its impact (with regional variations), in terms of numbers too, has been greatest in Germany. The historical roots of t…

Community of Goods

(1,409 words)

Author(s): Marguerat, Daniel | Schöllgen, Georg | Honecker, Martin
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. History – III. Ethics I. New Testament The summary descriptions in Acts paint a picture of the first Christian community in Jerusalem in which the ¶ unanimity of the believers finds expression in the community of goods (2:44f.; 4:32–35). This community is depicted as free, not forced (5:4), and not egalitarian: The goods offered to the community were divided according to the needs of each individual (2:45; 4:35). The community of goods is only an element of the koinōnía of worship, prayer and Eucharist that charact…

Community Work

(611 words)

Author(s): Götzelmann, Arnd
[German Version] The designation community work is employed in widely divergent meanings. Generally speaking, community work (Ger. Gemeinwesenarbeit) is “a concept of action requiring closer definition, designed to counteract the dangers that appear in the individual systems of scientific/technological civilization” (Strohm 196). Community work (also called community action, community development etc.) refers to the “third method” of social work alongside social case work and s…


(201 words)

Author(s): Krahwinkler, Harald
[German Version] Diocese in northern Italy. St. Felix is attested as the first bishop of Como (ordained in 386 by Ambrose of Milan). The diocese of Como, originally subject to the metropolitan of Milan, became a suffragan of Aquileia under bishop Agrip(p)inus, probably in 607 and no later than 612. It remained so until 1751. After belonging to Görze, Como returned to Milan at the end of 1789. Abundius, the diocesan patron, was bishop of Como around the middle of …


(1,239 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max | Huxel, Kirsten | Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Buddhism I. Religious Studies The term compassion bears Christian connotations: compassion (cf. Lat. compassio; Gk συμπάϑεια/ sympátheia) refers to the capacity or ability to share concretely in the suffering of others, to sympathize and to draw consequences for one's own behavior. In this regard, the religions answer the question of the appropriate object for compassion – for example all people, only people of a certain group, …


(6 words)

[German Version] Restitution

Compensation Theory

(461 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann
[German Version] Derived from the Latin compensatio (“balance/balancing”), the term “compensation” found its way into various historical areas of culture and religion as well as into a number of scholarly disciplines (theology, jurisprudence, education, [individual] psychology, ecology, economics, etc.). In the study of religions, “compensation theory” refers to a critical theory of religion according to which religion represents a form of compensation, and notions o…


(340 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] In its broadest sense, the variously used notion of “competence” refers to the ability to lead a responsible and self-determined life in all practical aspects of one's conduct of life. Basic competence, however, manifests itself only belatedly and indirectly in outwardly discernible actions, so-called “performance” (Noam Chomsky). Its foundation consists more of an inner constellation which proves capable of handling all situations in an emotiona…

Competence (Authority)

(134 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] For long periods of time, the word competence (or competency) denoted a person's means of subsistence. From the 17th century onward, it has been used systematically in its technical legal sense ¶ of responsibility or jurisdiction and has become a standard technical administrative term in the context of the modern state with its division of functions. Competence defines the responsibilities and mandates of organs of state, agencies, and other administrative bodies – including private entities…

Competency, Pastoral

(310 words)

Author(s): Schibilsky, Michael
[German Version] “Competency” refers to the skills and abilities associated with the pastoral office. It denotes the professional standards acquired during theological studies and in in-service training (Ordination and post-ordination education and training), as required in the day-to-day context of parochial or functional pastoring. While a theological education imparts hermeneutical, exegetical, historical, and theoretical skills, an application-centered…


(890 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Economics – II. Ethics I. Economics The term “competition” is linked with the idea of rivalry, but the Latin competere makes it clear that the notion ultimately has to do with several players seeking a prize together. As competitors they strive together in an activity that demands that they give their best. Everyone profits from their competition – in economics no less than in sports. Economic competition benefits society in general precisely when those involved do no…


(386 words)

Author(s): Russell, Robert John
[German Version] The principle of complementarity was first formulated in 1927 by Niels Bohr (1885–1962) in the context of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. According to Bohr, our knowledge ¶ of atomic and subatomic phenomena is subject to fundamental restrictions. In contrast to the epistemology of traditional physics, Bohr maintains that it is no longer possible to describe atomic processes in their spatial and temporal progression while simultaneously assigning them a causal expl…


(9 words)

[German Version] Liturgy of the Hours

Composite Beings

(862 words)

Author(s): Wiggermann, F.A.M. | Uehlinger, Christoph
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology I. Religious Studies Composite beings are imaginary zoomorphic beings that consist of a combination of animal and human body ¶ parts. In this respect, they are closely related to giants, dwarfs, shape-shifters and animals that behave like humans. Composite beings are products of the human imagination and remain ambiguous as long as they are only represented by imprecise linguistic descriptions. Only those composite beings that become public symb…

Comprehensive Approach

(361 words)

Author(s): Shenk, Wilbert R.
[German Version] The Conference Message of the International Missionary Council (IMC) in Jerusalem in 1928 said: “The one inclusive purpose of the missionary enterprise is to present Jesus Christ to ¶ men and women the world over as their Redeemer, and to win them for entrance into the joy of His discipleship. In this endeavor we realize that man is a unity, and that his spiritual life is indivisibly rooted in all his conditions – physical, mental, and social. We are therefore desirous that the program of…

Compulsory Schooling

(668 words)

Author(s): Meyer, Meinert A.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Historical Development – III. Importance of Education – IV. International Developments – V. Prospects I. Concept Young people have the right and the duty to receive a school education. Whether they welcome a scholastic relationship of subordination expressed in such a way is another matter altogether. That is possibly why, in Germany, a child's very first day at school is traditionally sweetened with the gift of a cardboard cone filled with candy. That the a…


(406 words)

Author(s): Becker-Richards, Joicy
[German Version] In recent years the computer has dramatically impacted many facets of human life. While no one can predict how this technology will ultimately affect the practice of theology and the faith community, it is clear that as a tool, the computer presents both opportunities and challenges. In the academic setting, the computer is used for research and to facilitate learning. Connected to the Internet, computers provide a link to the worldwide community of researchers and academic institutes. Students from around the w…

Comte, Auguste

(434 words)

Author(s): Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] (Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier; Jan 19, 1798, Montpellier – Jul 5, 1857, Paris), French philosopher and sociologist who acted as secretary to C.H. de Saint-Simon and as an examination coach in Paris, and who became known primarily through his public lectures. Comte is the founder of modern sociology, which owes him both its name and its systematic definition, and is considered one of the leading representatives of positivism along …

Comunione e Liberazione

(124 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (CL; “Community and Liberation”) is a church renewal movement founded in 1954 in Milan by the Catholic student minister Luigi Giussani (born 1922) and now spread to over 40 countries (primarily Italy and Switzerland). The fraternity of Community and Liberation and the “Memores Domini” community, which follow the counsels of perfection, are papally approved lay associations. Community and Liberation strives for the recognition of the presence of the Mysterium Christi among individuals, a presence that must become visible in the unity and solidarity of believers (c o…

Concentration Camps

(394 words)

Author(s): Benz, Wolfgang
[German Version] The Reichstag Fire Decree of Feb 28, 1933, suspended civil liberties and enabled the National Socialists (National Socialism) to arrest and imprison political opponents outside the judicial system. Throughout Germany some 80 detention centers were set up, which came to be called concentration camps; the term itself had been used for internment camps etc. before National Socialism. Except for Dachau, these “early concentration camps,” usually admi…


(128 words)

Author(s): Flynn, William
[German Version] (Lat.: “a singing together; concord, agreement”) was an equivalent term in classical Roman usage to the Greek loan words symphonía and harmonía, meaning sounding together, or being in (musical) agreement. In the 16th century the term acquired a technical meaning at least in the treatise Musice active micrologus by Andreas Ornithoparcus (Leipzig 1517). In this treatise concentus refers to chants with a pronounced melodic content, for example hymns, sequences, antiphons, responsories, introits, tropes etc. Ornithoparcus …


(186 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Nuns of the Immaculate Conception; see also Immaculate Conception, Order of the) was founded as a strictly contemplative order with the support of the Castilian court in 1484 in Galliana near Toledo by the Portuguese Beatriz de Silva y Meneses (Saint, c. 1426 – c. 1491), previously a lady at the court of Queen Isabella I of Castile, and confirmed by pope Innocent VIII in 1489. They originally lived by the rule and statutes of the Cisterc…

Concept of Our Great Power, The (NHC VI, 4)

(15 words)

[German Version] Nag Hammadi

Conciliar Process

(487 words)

Author(s): Lienemann, Wolfgang
[German Version] (for justice, peace and the preservation of creation). I. The 6th plenary assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1983 challenged churches to enter into a “conciliar process of mutual obligation (covenant) for justice, peace and the preservation of creation” (JPC). The German Protestant Church Conference ( Kirchentag ) of 1985 followed with the appeal to “the churches of the world to convene a council of peace.” Causes at the time were the intense political tensions between East and West,…

Conciliar Theory

(1,651 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Hans | Wohlmuth, Josef | Birmelé, André | Becker, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Dogmatics – III. Church Law I. Church History Conciliarism (conciliar theory) is the doctrine that the general council is the highest ecclesial authority such that even the pope is subject to its supremacy. Its roots lie primarily in the discussions of medieval canon law concerning the relationship between papal immunity and responsibility. A discussion concerning the relationship of the infallibility of the church promised Peter (Matt 16:18) to …


(8 words)

[German Version] Pope, Election of


(402 words)

Author(s): Sommaruga, Giovanni
[German Version] I. If a statement Q is the logical consequence of the statements P1,…,Pn (n>0), Q is called the conclusion, while P1,…, Pn are the premises of the fundamentally logical and, in particular, semantic relationship of the logical consequence. Q is the logical consequence of P1,…,Pn if, under all conditions under which P1,…,Pn are true, Q is also true. Now, the definition of the logical consequence offers no handhold for determining whether the relati…


(433 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Wolfgang
[German Version] In the Middle Ages, the dual elements of the Eucharist became a(n intellectual) problem for the Latin West that sought the truth more in the factual than in image or metaphor. Anselm of Canterbury found it necessary to resist the view that in the bread one receives only the body, in the wine only the blood or soul of Christ. Rather, in each element received separatim, Christ is wholly present (PL 159, 255f.). Quod totus Christus sub utraque specie sit et sumatur became the standing formula. Alexander of Hales coined the term concomitantia (Lat. concomitari, “to accompany”)…


(190 words)

Author(s): Hieke, Thomas
[German Version] (from med. Lat., concordare, “to agree”) designates an alphabetic listing of all the words in a literary work, especially the Bible, with references and brief textual excerpts. The biblical concordance is arranged in the order of the biblical books. It serves the purpose of locating specific Scripture passages and in biblical interpretation (Exegesis). The first concordances of the Latin Bible were used in the Middle Ages to demonstrate the internal…


(2,071 words)

Author(s): Hollerbach, Alexander
[German Version] I. Term – II. Historical Overview – III. Basic Questions in Concordat Law – IV. Outlook I. Term Concordat is the term for the classical form of a contract between the state and the Roman Catholic Church (Church and state). In the limited and proper sense, concordat means the codified contract with the Holy See, concluded on the level of international law in diplomatic form, and designed, in principle, to regulate legally and permanently all matters of common interest…

Concord, Formula of

(1,247 words)

Author(s): Wallmann, Johannes
[German Version] The Formula of Concord ( Formula Concordiae) of 1577 is the result of the trans-regional settlement effort conducted in protracted, tedious negotiations intended to provide a common doctrinal basis for the Lutheran state churches that had splintered through doctrinal disputes after Luther's death and had separated into various doctrinal traditions – notably that of the Philippists (adherents of Melanchthon) and the Gnesio-Lutherans. Through its inclusion in t…

Concord, The Book of

(375 words)

Author(s): Wallmann, Johannes
[German Version] The Book of Concord is the most widely circulated collection of Lutheran articles of faith (I). It was published (in German) under the title Concordia. Christian, Reiterated, Unanimous Confession of the Undersigned Electors, Princes, and Estates who Embrace the Augsburg Confession and of the Theologians of the Same Doctrine and Faith on Jun 25, 1580, the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Augsburg Confession. It contains the three major creeds (Apostles' Creed, Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, …

Concursus Dei

(370 words)

Author(s): Plathow, Michael
[German Version] This expression denotes God's creative cooperation (or “concurrence”) in the relative acts of creatures (Free will) against the background of the noetic distinction between being and action. With the emergence of Aristotelianism in the 13th century, the term, which originated in Roman civil law (“coincidence of multiple claims”), was applied to the philosophical/theological problem of cooperation between causa prima and causae secundae (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 1, q. 105, a. 5); it was an important issue in the complex differences …

Conditio humana

(298 words)

Author(s): Adriaanse, Hendrik Johan
[German Version] The expression conditio humana can best be understood against the background of the philosophical anthropology that developed into an independent discipline in the course of the 20th century. It appears already in a non-technical sense in Cicero ( Tusc. I, 8, 15). B. Pascal describes the condition de l'homme as inconstancy, boredom, and anxiety ( Pensées [Lafuma] 20). The expression refers to human life or the human condition as such, its general character, raising the fundamental anthropological question: what makes hum…

Confederación Latinoamericana de Religiosos (CLAR)

(380 words)

Author(s): Toepsch, Alexandra
[German Version] (CLAR) was founded on Mar 2, 1959 at the wish of the Apostolic See and the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM) with approbation of the statutes. It is subject to the papal Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and consists of the national conferences of the leaders of the higher orders of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. The executive board consists of the president and three representatives. Th…

Conference of European Churches

(1,002 words)

Author(s): Linn, Gerhard
[German Version] I. Origin, Membership, and Goals – II. Development and Concerns – III. Expectations, Charta Oecumenica I. Origin, Membership, and Goals The Conference of European Churches (CEC) was founded on the initiative of Protestant church leaders from Germany, France, and the Netherlands as a platform for dialogue and cooperation among the churches of Europe on both sides of the Iron Curtain. After ¶ preparatory meetings in Brussels (1955) and Liselund, Denmark (1957), an invitation to a founding assembly of the CEC in Nyborg, Denmark, went …

Conference of German Protestant Labor Organizations

(108 words)

Author(s): Kraft, Friedhelm
[German Version] The Conference of German Protestant Labor Organizations was founded in Berlin in 1916 as a union of the institutions of social Protestantism, with the significant participation of the Home Missions. Its activities were restricted to practical fields of work, primarily in the moral sector. As the lobbying body of free Protestantism, it secured the latter's representation in the newly constituted self-administration boards of the Church. Its significance declined over the years, leading to its dissolution in 1933. Friedhelm Kraft Bibliography KJ 1916, 157–167 (…

Conference of Missionary Societies in Great Britain and Ireland (CBMS)

(177 words)

Author(s): Elliott, Donald W.
[German Version] Following the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, the CBMS was founded on Jun 12, 1912. It drew on the experience of the London Secretaries' Association, founded in 1819 by four British missionary societies (English Missions). J.H. Oldham was its first salaried Secretary. The primary object was “the periodical consideration of matters relating to Foreign Missions” that is “among the peoples not professing the Christian religi…

Conferences, Church

(1,704 words)

Author(s): Lessing, Eckhard
[German Version] Church conferences are official or privately arranged gatherings for the discussion or negotiation, at an appropriate level, of issues that need to be decided or prepared for a decision, possibly because the committees in charge have not come to a decision or are unable to do so. The term indicates occupation with issues or organizational questions which are not clearly determined in a legal sense, even if the legal status of the church conference in …

Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil

(389 words)

Author(s): Beozzo, José Oscar
[German Version] (CNBB; National Conference of Brazilian Bishops) was established in Rio de Janeiro on Oct 14, 1952 to promote the unity of the Catholic episcopacy, to coordinate the pastoral activity of the 115 dioceses and prelatures, and to nurture relations between the Brazilian church (Brazil) and the Holy See, other bishops' conferences, and the organs of the state. The founder and first General Secretary (1952–1964) was the auxiliary bishop of Rio de Jane…

Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil

(17 words)

[German Version] CNBB (Conferencia Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil)

Confessing Church

(2,616 words)

Author(s): Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter
[German Version] I. Background – II. Establishment – III. Fundamental Difference: Two Types – IV. Schism in the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche; BK). “Bekennende Kirche” was the self-designation of those who, from 1934, appeared alongside and in opposition to the administrative bodies dominated by the Deutsche Christen (“German Christians”) at the levels of the Reich, the state, and the community, with their own forms of organization suited to the confession. Depending on the respective legal sit…

Confessing Synods,

(666 words)

Author(s): Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter
[German Version] the supreme administrative organs of the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche), which legitimized the creation of alternative church structures since the fall of 1934. In contrast to the national synods of the German Evangelical Church and to the administration of the church of the Reich under L. Müller, the first “Confessing Synod of the German Evangelical Church” in Barmen (May 29–31, 1934) declared itself the sole legal representative of the German Evangelical Church. (H. Asmussen probably coined the term “Confessing Synod” [ Bekenntnissynode]). Tensions in…

Confessio Augustana

(8 words)

[German Version] Augsburg Confession

Confessio Belgica

(9 words)

[German Version] Articles of Faith

Confessio Dosithei

(9 words)

[German Version] Articles of Faith

Confessio Gallicana (Confession de foi)

(12 words)

[German Version] Articles of Faith

Confessio Helvetica

(282 words)

Author(s): Bächtold, Hans Ulrich
[German Version] In the majority of cases, Confessio Helvetica doesn't refer to the Confessio Helvetica prior that originated in Basel in 1536, but to the more significant Confessio Helvetica posterior. Drawn up by H. Bullinger, this confession was published in 1566 – by request of Count Palatine Frederick III both in Latin and in German. It consists of 30 chapters arranged according to loci and deals with the Reformed doctrine of Zwingli as modified by Bullinger. Though pragmatically mild in tone, Bullinger remained adamant on crucial issues …


(2,836 words)

Author(s): Gerlitz, Peter | Ohst, Martin | Sattler, Dorothea | Root, Michael | Ivanov, Vladimir | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Dogmatics – IV. Practical Theology – V. Missiology I. Religious Studies Confession and absolution, expressive of the substantiality of guilt (I) and the impact of the spoken word with its magico-ritual power, are among the “most widespread means of structured confrontation of the ego with itself” (Hahn & Knapp, 7). They appear already in tribal societies (Kikuyu, Nuer, Acholi in East Africa) as part of purificati…


(518 words)

Author(s): Lienhardt, Conrad | Praßl, Franz Karl
[German Version] I. Architecture – II. Liturgy and Practice I. Architecture A simple or throne-like, originally open, seat in the church as seating for the father confessor and the person making confession, the place for individual confession (Confession). Beginning in the 16th century, especially after the Council of Trent and the Instructiones of ¶ C. Borromeo, the originally simple wooden armchair underwent rich development. In general, from the early 17th century on, one finds the symmetrical three-part confessional, the central…

Confessional Age

(424 words)

Author(s): Kaufmann, Thomas
[German Version] In its original usage by E. Troeltsch the term “confessional age” designated the 16th and 17th-century period of European history, distinct from the Middle Ages and the modern era, in which the “power of ecclesial culture,” in principle broken by Protestantism or the Reformation, continued to shape culture and society in the form of three “mutually exclusive and restrictive infallible churchdoms” ( HZ 1906, 29; 1911, 46); in the process of the “relative pulverization” ( ibid.) of the three confessions, the “modern world” arose. The concept of the …


(636 words)

Author(s): Wilhelm Graf, Friedrich
[German Version] The origins and the history of the concept have scarcely been investigated. The earliest known German attestations date from the Vormärz , around 1830. In terms of its conceptual history, confessionalism is thus a specifically modern phenomenon. It reflects upon dramatic processes of religio-cultural change. In many European societies, from c. 1780 onward, the drifting apart of state and society as well as a growing socio-cultural differentiation concided wit…


(931 words)

Author(s): Klueting, Harm
[German Version] I. Research Paradigm – II. Recent Developments – III. 19th Century I. Research Paradigm Confessionalization is the forming of state, society, and culture as a result of the formation of a denomination in the sense of the construction of a dogmatic system of doctrine. Confessionalization is seen in association with the early-modern state and social discipline, the backgrounds of which are sought in church discipline. The starting point was the Reformation (Schilling, Konfessionskonflikt; Reformierte Konfessionalisierung). After criticism of the term …

Confessional Milieus

(264 words)

Author(s): Blaschke, Olaf
[German Version] is a closer specification of milieus that are not defined on the basis of social (e.g. ¶ Bourgeoisie) and/or political-ideological (e.g. social democratic labor milieu) criteria, but constituted or academically conceived (i.e. analyzed from this perspective) irrespective of class positioning and on the basis of confessional (e.g. Catholicism) or inner-confessional (e.g. Old Catholics) preferences. Such communities of socialization and commun…

Confession Cultures

(566 words)

Author(s): Wilhelm Graf, Friedrich
[German Version] The relatively recent concept of confession cultures belongs to the terminology of modern cultural studies, where it is employed in conjunction with the analysis of the processes of confessional socialization, especially in Germany, but also in other multi-denominational European societies. Following the end of the confessionally homogeneous society of the old German Reich, during which ecclesial and political authorities had effected a denomina…

Confession de la Foy (foi)

(12 words)

[German Version] Articles of Faith

Confession (Denomination)

(410 words)

Author(s): Oberdorfer, Bernd
[German Version] In the 16th and 17th centuries, which would later be called the period of confessionalization, the newly arisen situation of different, but coexistent religious and theological trends and ecclesial institutions was still described by reference to “religious parties.” The fact that instead of this term, beginning in the 19th century, “confession” could diverge from its original meaning of confession (of faith) and become the common general term for …

Confessionis Augustanae Apologia

(400 words)

Author(s): Peters, Christian
[German Version] (Apology of the Augsburg Confession). Following delivery of the Augsburg Confession by the Protestant estates of the empire on Jun 25, 1530 and the start of work by Roman Catholic theologians on the Confutation , by mid-July Electoral Saxony had already taken the decision to defend the Protestant Confession with a further document, should this prove necessary. On Aug 3, 1530, the Confutatio was read out but not handed out to the Protestants. So for their work on the Apology, which began immediately, Melanchthon and his colleagues were dependent on the…

Confession (of Faith)

(12,201 words)

Author(s): Bochinger, Christoph | Kreuzer, Siegfried | Reumann, John | Staats, Reinhart | Holze, Heinrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Bible – III. Church History – IV. Systematics – V. Practical Theology – VI. Law – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religions The term confession refers to various phenomena, including the confession of faith and of sin. A confession of faith can be understood as an officially sanctioned, formulaic summary of the central doctrines of a religious or a confessional community (“denomination”). Recited in cultic procedures and/or in everyday piety, i…

Confession of Sins

(949 words)

Author(s): Schwier, Helmut
[German Version] As a constituent of repentance and confession, the confession of sins has a poimenic function, although its liturgical configuration shows that it was originally intended as a preparation for the reception of communion. While the early liturgies usually emphasized the importance of the reconciliation required by Matt 5:23f. as a prerequisite to the offering of sacrifice, the mandatory linking of confession and Eucharist established itself as a characteristic feature of Roman Catholicism from the Fourth Lateran Council ¶ onward: As an act of repentance and …

Confessio Orthodoxa

(9 words)

[German Version] Articles of Faith

Confessio Scotica

(9 words)

[German Version] Articles of Faith

Confessio Tetrapolitana

(9 words)

[German Version] Articles of Faith


(351 words)

Author(s): Frend, William H.C.
[German Version] is the title given to Christians in the early centuries ce, who suffered for their faith but did not pay for their confession with death. In the first century ce ὁμολογία/ homología (confession) and μαρτυρία/ martyría (witness) were used synonymously, as in 1 Tim 6:13. The first hint of a distinction between two grades of suffering for the “Christian law” comes in Herm. Sim. VIII 3.6–7, where the prophet distinguishes between those “who have wrestled with the devil,” and “have been crowned” and those “who were persecuted for the…

Confirmation (Catholic)

(1,560 words)

Author(s): Leimgruber, Stephan
[German Version] In the Roman Catholic understanding, confirmation is one of the seven sacraments of the Church, more precisely, one of the three sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, confirmation, Eucharist). Together with baptism, it effects reception into the Church and aims at a life in communion with God in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, understood as following in the footsteps of the inspired lives of the prophets and especially…

Confirmation Classes

(1,509 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Bernd | Browning, Robert L.
[German Version] The theological justification for confirmation depends largely on the assumptions about what confirmation really is (Confirmation [Protestant], cf. Confirmation [Catholic]). It also depends on the understanding of the relation of confirmation to baptism and Eucharist implied in any particular educational/liturgical design. In the following discussion of the effectiveness of various educational designs found to be consistent with several, but not…

Confirmation (Protestant)

(2,425 words)

Author(s): Grethlein, Christian | Germann, Michael
[German Version] I. History and Practical Theology – II. Law I. History and Practical Theology Confirmation, understood here in a narrower sense as a rite in Protestant churches, has been interpreted and shaped differently. Today, it is common in almost all Protestant churches, even in families that are rather distanced from the church. The problems of confirmation already appeared in the Reformation period when confirmation began to develop as an independent rite in Protestant ch…


(585 words)

Author(s): Püttner, Günter
[German Version] I. Ethics – II. Law I. Ethics Ethics shaped by Christianity and liberal secular ethics, in essence, assumes the ethical justification and protection of private property, including ownership of the means of production. Accordingly, confiscation can occur only in exceptional cases in the interests of public welfare. In contrast, radical socialists (esp. K. Marx) saw in private property, especially private ownership of the means of production, the…


(119 words)

Author(s): Kaczynski, Reiner
[German Version] Designation of the general confession of sins derived from the first word of the Latin ( confiteri, “to confess”). The corresponding texts, which initially showed considerable variations in wording (they were not harmonized until after the Council of Trent), developed from private penitential prayers in the manner of the apologies. According to Vatican II, the confiteor represents a form of the general confession of guilt to be recited at the beginning of mass and of the ¶ compline; it is prescribed during the communion for the sick, the anointing …


(1,082 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] I. Existential Conflicts – II. Social Conflicts – III. Theological Interpretation of Social Conflicts The issue of conflict is relevant to theology from two perspectives, namely as an existential and as social conflict. The Christian interpretation of conflict attempts to elucidate both aspects. I. Existential Conflicts Paul describes existence as a conflict between the will to do good and the incapacity to accomplish it (Rom 7:7–25), but also as a conflict between one's old life and the new one attained thro…

Conflict of Duty

(604 words)

Author(s): Stroh, Ralf
[German Version] For reasons of principle pertaining to the foundations of ethical theory, the acute experiencing of a so-called “conflict of duty” can only be acknowledged and taken up by theory through the conceptions of a specific type of ethics, while the majority of ethical systems are bound to classify it as something that merely appears to be a conflict. This has to do with the fact that the concept of duty unfolds the paradigm of the tasks which our exist…


(276 words)

Author(s): Krech, Volkhard
[German Version] Generally speaking, conformity refers to the observance of the conventions, norms, behavioral patterns, opinions, etc. of a social unit (Group, Milieu, etc.) on the part of its members. Depending on the type and the extent of a unit's social influence and of its integration mechanisms, conformity may range from an external or even unwilling accommodation all the way to voluntary approval and interiorization. The study of conformity thus distingui…

Confraternities of Christian Doctrine

(363 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] Since the turn of the 14th to the 15th century, in the wake of Humanism and of J. de Gerson's pastoral work with children, youth fraternities and communities of Christian doctrine in northern Italy (e.g. in Florence and Bologna) had already begun to devote themselves to the main interests of the later Christian doctrine brotherhoods. The latter emerged in the second half of the 16th century as a reaction to the confessional conflicts of the time and aim…


(4,681 words)

Author(s): Moritz, Ralf | Clart, Philip
[German Version] I. History (to the 19th Century) – II. Confucianism in the 20th Century – III. Confucianism outside China – IV. Ethics and Social Philosophy – V. Religious Elements in Confucianism – VI. Literature I. History (to the 19th Century) Confucianism is an ethico-political teaching with reli- gious elements (see V below), which originated in ancient China and which derives the order of the world from the moral qualification of the individual. Its basic inventory of norms and values was formed between the 6th and 3rd centuries bce. At first, this was derived from …


(705 words)

Author(s): Moritz, Ralf
[German Version] (551 bce Qufu, state of Lu [Shandong/Shantung] – 479 bce, state of Lu) was the founder of the ethico-political system of Confucianism. The Chinese form of his name is Kong Qiu; to the family name Kong was added the personal name Qiu, after Ni Qiu, a hill where people prayed for the gift of children. The syllable ni became part of the name Zhongni, which he received upon reaching the age of majority (20), Zhong literally meaning “second child” – his father having previously had a disabled son with a concubine. He was…

Confutation of the Augsburg Confession

(323 words)

Author(s): Peters, Christian
[German Version] The Confutation ( Confutatio) was a Catholic response to the Augsburg Confession ( CA), which had been presented to the emperor. Late in June 1530, some 20 Catholic theologians (including J. Eck, J. Cochlaeus, and J. Fabri) were instructed to compose a refutation of the CA. The form it should take was disputed: the imperial court wanted a confessional presentation of Catholic teaching, while the papal legate wanted a definitive rejection of the teaching of the CA. There are three dis¶ tinct texts of the Confutation: (1) the Responsio theologorum (CR 27, 85–97),…

Congar, Yves

(300 words)

Author(s): Gy, Pierre-Marie
[German Version] (Apr 13, 1904, Sedan – Jun 22, 1995, Paris), French theologian and a Dominican (from 1925 onward). He began teaching theology at the Dominican faculty of Le Saulchoir in 1931. From 1940 to 1945 he was a prisoner of war in Germany. Congar lost his chair in 1954 as a result of the dispute over the Nouvelle Théologie and was expelled from France. John XXIII appointed him conciliar theologian for Vatican II. He became cardinal in 1994. Congar's theol…

Congo, Democratic Republic

(995 words)

Author(s): Wild-Wood, Emma
[German Version] (officially, in Fr. République Démocratique du Congo; until 1997: Zaire), the third-largest country in Africa (Africa, map), covers 2.3 million km2. Much of this area is equatorial forest in the Congo river basin, with lakes and mountains to the east, and savannah to the south and north. It is rich in mineral resources but the majority of its population live in poverty. Ethnologically and linguistically diverse, Congo is home to over 200 people groups, of whom 80% are Bantu. The …

Congo Kingdom

(8 words)

[German Version] Kongo Kingdom

Congo, Republic of,

(476 words)

Author(s): Sundberg, Carl
[German Version] officially, in French République du Congo (RC), country lying astride the equator in west central Africa, covering an area of 342,000 km2 with a population of 2,516,000 (1994; Africa, map). The capital is Brazzaville with 750,000 inhabitants (1992). Pointe Noire (450,000 inhabitants, 1992) on the Atlantic coast is the major industrial and commercial center. RC, formerly a part of French Equatorial Africa, became independent in 1960. The southern parts of the RC belonged to the sac…

Congregational Christian Churches

(521 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] When Congregationalists merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church to form a new denomination, the United Church of Christ, in 1957, they were the major representatives in the USA of historic Anglo-American Congregationalism. These churches were descendents of separatist movements that had begun among English Protestants during the 2nd half of the 16th century. A pamphlet published in 1582 by R. Browne, A Treatise of Reformation without Tarrying for Any, proclaimed principles that would define the movement: Christ is the sole head of th…

Congregational Council

(9 words)

[German Version] Presbyter/Presbytery, Church Polity


(754 words)

Author(s): Shoemaker, Stephen
[German Version] which emphasizes the autonomy of the individual congregation, traces its roots back to post-Reformation England. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries proto-Congregationalists, then called Puritans, were distracted by the need for reform within the Church of England. They desired a pure Protestant church, and toward the end of creating this, a number removed themselves to the context of New England. The Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, followed by a larger Puritan ¶ settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Boston) in 1630…

Congregational Order

(159 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph
[German Version] Norms for the life and theology of Christian communities in the first century were primarily set by the two-Testament Bible, which had become a collection of authoritative texts, but also by church orders in the true sense, by the developing confession (of faith), initially set down in free formulations, and by theology, condensed into dogmas since the imperial councils of the 4th century (Nicea, Constantinople: IV). Naturally, after the demise o…

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

(598 words)

Author(s): Schwedt, Herman H.
[German Version] The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei) is the office of the Roman Curia that promotes and safeguards the church's doctrine on the faith and morals. At present it is made up of 23 cardinals and bishops, headed by a prefect. To promote better understanding of the faith ( fidei intellectus), it supports and publishes scholarly studies; to safeguard theological truth and moral integrity, it scrutinizes and if necessary rejects various writings. It can prosecute offences against the …

Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith

(404 words)

Author(s): Rivinius, Karl Josef
[German Version] The origins of the “Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith” ( Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, 1622; since 1967: Congregatio pro Gentium Evangelisatione) reach back to the middle of the16th century. Pope Gregory XV established it as a permanent institution in the Inscrutabili Divinae constitution of Jun 22, 1622. It was assigned the task of spreading the faith, notably in the territories lying outside of Europe, and of preserving the unity of the church (Church unity) throughout the world. It als…


(248 words)

Author(s): Riedel-Spangenberger, Ilona
[German Version] (Catholic Church). Among the departments of the Roman Curia, the congregations are on an equal legal footing with the Secretariat of State, papal tribunals, councils, offices, and other dicasteria. They exercise a pastoral ministry by supporting and representing the pope in the performance of his duties as supreme pastor and in the exercise of his sovereign juridical leadership over the universal church (cf. CIC/1983, c. 360). Nine dicasteria are expressly designated as congregations: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for…

Congreso Latinoamericano de Evangelización

(118 words)

Author(s): Altmann, Walter
[German Version] (CLADE; Latin American Evangelization Congress). CLADE is the designation for a broad movement among Protestant and Pentecostal Christians in Latin America who have committed themselves to the Covenant of Lausanne (Evangelicalism: IV) of 1974. To date, four major evangelization congresses have taken place (1969 in Colombia, 1979 in Peru, 1992 in Ecuador, 2000 in Colombia). The movement regards the Latin American continent mainly as a mission fiel…


(263 words)

Author(s): Stephan, Achim
[German Version] is a relatively new paradigm of cognitive science. Instead of reducing mental processes to sequential algorithmic symbol processing, as postulated by the traditional computer model of the mind, it attempts to simulate intelligent behavior with the help of artificial neural networks (so-called “connectionist architectures”). Such networks exhibit a highly parallel mode of operation, and are error-tolerant as well as adaptive. Neural networks consi…

Conolly, Philip

(171 words)

Author(s): Prentis, Malcolm David
[German Version] (1786, County Monaghan, Ireland – Aug 3, 1839, Hobart, Van Diemen's Land [now Tasmania], Australia), Catholic priest. Conolly was educated and ordained at Maynooth College, Ireland. In 1820 he and John Joseph Therry were the first two officially sanctioned Catholic priests to minister to the Roman Catholic community in the penal colony of New South Wales. He was sent to Van Diemen's Land in April 1821 and was the only Catholic pastor for the whol…

Conrad, Joseph

(332 words)

Author(s): Kretzer, Ulrich
[German Version] (Teodor Józef Konrad Korzeniowski; Dec 3, 1857, Berdichev, Ukraine – Aug 3, 1924, Bishopsbourne, England), author. The son of the Polish patriot Apollo Korzeniowski, he went to Marseille at the age of seventeen as an orphan. There he gambled away his money, smuggled weapons for the Carlists, had a passionate love affair, and shot himself in the chest. He began his naval career as an ordinary seaman on sailing ships and eventually became a captain…

Conrad, Paul

(163 words)

Author(s): Andresen, Bernd
[German Version] (Apr 1, 1865, Berlin – Sep 9, 1927, Berlin), ordained in 1891, was pastor and superintendent in Berlin, from 1910 pastor of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, from 1917 privy counselor to the Supreme Consistory, and after 1912 a part-time member of the Senior Church Council of the Protestant Churches of the Old Prussian Union, in which he succeeded J. Kaftan as clergy vice president. If he seemed to many of his contemporaries an interim in this …

Conring, Hermann

(174 words)

Author(s): Mager, Inge
[German Version] (Nov 9, 1606, Norden – Dec 12, 1681, Helmstedt) was a philosopher, historian, scholar in diplomatics, legal historian, political scientist, physician, and author of theological writings. Having studied in Helmstedt and Leiden, he became professor of natural philosophy (1632), medicine (1637), and politics (1650) in Helmstedt; he also officiated as private physician and adviser at the courts of several princes (including Wolfenbüttel, Mainz, Paris, Copen…
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