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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Columbanus (Saint)

(388 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Martina
[German Version] ( Columba; c. 543, Ireland – Nov 23, 615, or Nov 21, 616, Bobbio), abbot of Luxeuil and Bobbio. As a senior monk in the monastery of Bangor, Columbanus and 12 companions (St. Gall) undertook the peregrinatio to Gaul, probably in 590/591, where he founded the monasteries of Luxeuil, Annegray, and Fontaine with the permission of King Childebert II. They experienced a great afflux of young Frankish noblemen and soon numbered more than 200 members. Columbanus came into conflict with the bishops of Burgundy…

Columba, Saint

(309 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Elva
[German Version] (c. 522 – Jul 9, 597 Iona), or Columcille, was an Irish (Ireland) saint, priest, monk, abbot, and founder of Iona. He was fostered by the priest Cruithnechán and studied as deacon in Leinster, later with the British bishop Uinniau. Columba may have openly prayed for his kindred's victory in a battle in 561, which could be related to his temporary excommunication by the Synod of Tailtiu. He left for northern Britain in 563, fulfilling the Irish ideal that glorified peregrinatio to a foreign land as the pinnacle of ascetic ¶ renunciation. Columbanus benefited from …

Columbus, Christopher

(371 words)

Author(s): Heydenreich, Titus
[German Version] (1451, in or near Genoa – May 20, 1506, Valladolid) gained his first experiences in seafaring on trading voyages to England, Portugal, and West Africa. Sponsored, among others, by the “Catholic Monarchs” Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, he set sail from Palos, near Seville, on Aug 8, 1492. Trusting in recent insights concerning the spherical shape of the earth, he was attempting to find a westerly route to India and East Asia. On Oct …

Colwell, Ernest Cadman

(140 words)

Author(s): Betz, Hans Dieter
[German Version] (Jan 19, 1901, Hallstead, PA – Sep 24, 1974, Deland, FL), New Testament scholar and university administrator; professor at the University of Chicago 1930–1951 (president 1945–1951), dean of faculties at Emory University, Atlanta, GA 1951–1957, president at the School of Theology at Claremont, CA, 1957–1968. Colwell collaborated with Harold R. Willoughby (1890–1962) on the critical edition of NT manuscripts ( The Four Gospels of Karahissar, 1936; The Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse, 1940). Colwell became known for his contributions to textu…

Comboni, Daniele

(297 words)

Author(s): Legrand, Hervé
[German Version] (Mar 15, 1831, Limone, Italy – Oct 10, 1881, Khartoum, Sudan) stimulated missionary activity and founded an institute for the evangelization of Black Africa: the Comboni Missionaries. Ordained at Mazza's Institute in Verona in 1854, he spent his first years in Africa among the Dinka (Nuer and Dinka) in the Sudan (1857–1859). From 1862 to 1864 he campaigned in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria for the mission in Central Africa, and publish…

Comboni Missionaries,

(167 words)

Author(s): Legrand, Hervé
[German Version] officially the “Sons of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” (FSCJ). Commonly referred to as the “Verona Fathers” in English-speaking countries, they are known as “Comboni missionaries” elsewhere. Founded by D. Comboni in 1867 as an institute of diocesan priests, it became a religious congregation in 1894, though not without conflicts and under pressure from Rome. Amid the tensions of World War I, the Austrian branch became autonomous, but was reincorporat…

Comenius, John Amos

(1,068 words)

Author(s): Nipkow, Karl Ernst
[German Version] I. Life – II. Work – III. Influence (Jan Ámo Komenský; Mar 28, 1592, Nivnice, Moravia – Nov 15, 1670, Amsterdam). I. Life After losing his parents at an early age, Comenius attended the grammar school of the Bohemian Brethren in Přerov (1608–1611). In 1618, after studying at the Reformed college in Herborn (1611–1613) and at Heidelberg (1613–1614; Reformed Colleges in Germany), he became warden of the Brethren congregation in Fulnek and headmaster of the local Brethren sch…

Comic Drama

(1,095 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard | Bartsch, Eva
[German Version] I. Antiquity – II. Middle Ages to the Present I. Antiquity In the so-called Old Attic Comedy of the 5th century bce, as represented by the 11 extant comedies of Aristophanes (c. 450–385; the comedies produced in Sicily and Megara [so-called Megarian farces] are lost), the role of religion is a twofold one. First, dramas (Drama: I, 2) performed in the context of the festivals dedicated to Dionysus were considered to be spiritual offerings to the god and could therefore only be staged once (until 386 bce). Secondly, religion and cult were recurrent themes of…

Comisión de Estudios de Historia de la Iglesia Latinoamericana

(269 words)

Author(s): Dussel, Enrique
[German Version] (CEHILA: Commission for the Study of Latin American Church History). The CEHILA was founded in 1973 in the Pastoral Institute of the CELAM (Latin American Conference of Bishops). Its first chairman was Enrique Dussel (until 1992). His successors were José Oscar Beozzo and, subsequently, Ana Maria Bidegain. The CEHILA planned and prepared a 10-volume history of the Latin American Church containing the first integrated account of the history of Chr…

Comisión Evangélica Latinoamericana de Educación Cristiana

(192 words)

Author(s): Streck, Danilo
[German Version] (CELADEC; Evangelical Latin American Commission for Christian Education). The CELADEC was created in 1962 for the purpose of providing Protestant churches in Latin America with educational resources. One of its main publications is the Curso Nueva Vida en Cristo (“New Life in Christ Course”), the methodology of which is based on the realities of Latin American life. In the 1970s, CELADEC developed into the main center of popular education in Latin America. The institution underwent a major internal …


(186 words)

Author(s): Gensichen, Hans-Werner
[German Version] (demarcation and apportionment of missionary territories) began in the early 19th century as a practicable compromise between missionary rivalry (Mission), which appeared irresponsible, and a unity that did not yet exist. The concept was approved by the (Protestant) London Centenary Missions Conference in 1888. From the original makeshift “geographical denominationalism” with predominantly negative emphasis on mutual territorial restrictio…

Comma Johanneum

(353 words)

Author(s): de Jonge, Henk Jan
[German Version] The Comma Johanneum (“Johannine Comma”) is the short passage 1 John 5:7b–8a: “…in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. [8] And there are three that testify on earth.” It does not appear in Greek texts before the 14th century. Five manuscripts include it in the text (minuscules 61, 629, 918, 2318, 2473); four others add it as a variant (88, 221, 429, 636). It is absent in all the ancient versions (Bible translations), including the oldest texts of the Vetus Latina and Vulgate. It makes its first appearance in ch. 4 of the Latin Liber apologeti…


(908 words)

Author(s): Koch, Traugott | Andersen, Svend
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics The renewed interest of the 19th-century – and especially of the theology of Erlangen (Erlangen School: I) – in Luther once more raised the issue of the tertius usus legis, i.e. of the relevance and consequences of God's “law” for those who are justified in faith. The problem ¶ is twofold: First, how does God's commandment, i.e. the will of God as documented in the formulated commandments, relate to the freedom afforded by the faith in God's sin-redeeming grace and expressed in the…

Commandment, Judaism

(7 words)

[German Version] Mitzvot

Commandments of the Church

(351 words)

Author(s): Puza, Richard
[German Version] The commandments of the church are disciplinary precepts and ethical rules that are comparable to those of Judaism and Islam. The are promulgated by the church and originally also arose out of custom. They are subject to change. As statements of the teaching office of the church ( magisterium) intended for pastoral and catechetical use, they appear in catechisms (II) and canon law (II; CIC/¶ 1983, Particular law). Since the Middle Ages, the number of church commandments and their content have varied because of uneven regional …


(350 words)

Author(s): Christoph, Joachim E.
[German Version] (accusative of commenda, “trust”, from Lat. commendare, “to give in trust”), a legal institution of classical canon law that permitted a church official to enjoy the income from an ecclesiastical office without having to fulfill the obligations and duties of a regular benefice. In principle, a benefice could be given in commendam only as long as it took to fill the vacancy or while the regular incumbent was prevented from carrying out his duties, for example as a result of suspension; cf. also Decretum Gratiani, cc. 3, 21, q. 1 ( Corpus Iuris Canonici

Commendation of the Dying

(182 words)

Author(s): Albert-Zerlik, Annette
[German Version] ( Commendatio animae). The earliest Roman evidence of this liturgy is the Ordo Romanus 49 (7th/8th cent.) with the elements of travel provisions (Viaticum) and passion. Up to the Council of Trent, the commendation of the dying grew massively in scope. Travel provisions and care of the dying are found today in the Catholic Ordo unctionis infirmorum (1972) ( Instruction on Prayers for Healing). Commendation of the dying (sometimes including the valet blessing) is provided in Lutheran, Anglican, and other Protestant forms. Songs fo…

Committee on the Christian Approach to the Jews

(171 words)

Author(s): Brockway, Allan R.
[German Version] was created in 1929 by the International Missionary Council (IMC) to carry out the recommendations of two 1927 conferences, chaired by J.R. Mott in Budapest and Warsaw with the theme “The Christian Approach to the Jews.” The IMCCAJ thus became the international umbrella organization for those independent and church-related agencies devoted to evangelizing Jews (Jewish missions). Under the direction of Conrad Hoffmann Jr., followed by Göte Heden¶ quist and Anker Gjerding, the Committee functioned through the war years, not only overtly atte…


(91 words)

Author(s): Pollmann, Karla
[German Version] (3rd [probably not 5th] cent. North Africa?) was the earliest Christian Latin poet. Works: 1. Instructiones: conversion of Jews and pagans, instructions for the Christian way of life; 2. Carmen apologeticum: a portrayal of Christianity as the true faith in 1060 hexameters containing chiliastic-eschatological motifs. The works are characterized by the programmatic rejection of classical (because untrue) diction and meter. Karla Pollmann Bibliography CPL, 1470f. CChr.SL 128, 1960 A. Salvatore, ed., Instructiones, 1965–1968 idem, Carme apologetico, 1977 E. He…

Common Affairs of Church and State

(506 words)

Author(s): Ehlers, Dirk
[German Version] The frequently employed notion of the “common affairs” of church and state (or of religious or ideological communities) is a heuristic concept, not a legal one. It has become generally accepted as a way of circumscribing a particular form of interaction between state and church, but makes no reference whatsoever to any assessment of the corresponding legal issues. In the relevant literature, the term is used in a variety of senses. In the interest of pr…
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