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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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

(17 words)

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

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…

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…
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