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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Contextual Theology

(850 words)

Author(s): Collet, Giancarlo | Küster, Volker
[German Version] I. Systematic Theology – II. Missiology I. Systematic Theology “Contextual theology” denotes that form of theological work, with a primarily inductive approach, for which the deliberate inclusion of the cultural and religious environment as the starting point and goal of theological reflection is constitutive. Unlike a local theology, i.e. a theology defined simply by its cultural setting, contextual theology takes its cultural determination self-reflexively into account, claiming particular relevance while at the same time maintaini…


(1,312 words)

Author(s): Stoellger, Philipp
[German Version] I. Chance vs. Contingency – II. Accident vs. Essence – III. Chance vs. Order – IV. Paradigms of Chance I. Chance vs. Contingency Chance (Contingency/Chance) and contingency are among the theologically significant constructs of conceptual history. The word contingency derives from Lat. contingere (translating συμβαίνειν/ symbainein or ¶ ένδέχεσϑαι/ endechesthai, first used by Marius Victorinus); chance derives through Old French from Lat. cadere, “fall/befall” and accident from accidere/accidentia, with the German loan-translation Zufall first used…

Contingency and Necessity

(535 words)

Author(s): Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[German Version] What is contingent could have been otherwise; what is necessary could not have been otherwise. These simple definitions are the starting point for discussions about the religious significance of chance, but their appropriate application is still a matter of vigorous debate. In fact both terms often have quite different meanings in different contexts. In logic, necessary propositions are propositions that cannot be false, while contingent propositions are possible (i.e. they are not self-contradictory) but not necessary…


(2,299 words)

Author(s): Russell, Robert John | Mörth, Ingo | Schütt, Hans-Peter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences – II. Religious Studies – III. Philosophy – IV. Systematic Theology I. Natural Sciences The concept of contingency/chance occurs in various contexts and meanings in the natural sciences. In the simplest case, contingency denotes an event, a process or a property, the finality of which exists without an immediately discernible or determinable cause. Although we inaccurately assert that something happened by chance, the latter really implies the lack …

Continuing Education

(9 words)

[German Version] Education of adults


(383 words)

Author(s): Kreß, Hartmut
[German Version] Protestant ethics approves of a responsible and well-considered planning of pregnancy and family (Family planning). In an attempt to avoid negative connotations, it has become customary to speak of “birth control” rather than contraception. As a hormonal contraceptive preventing the fertilization of the ovum and thus pregnancy, the “pill” is one of the methods for birth control. Methods that block the nidation of an already fertilized ovum and provoke an early abortion are to be ¶ distinguished from the pill. The intra-uterine device, for instance,…


(1,461 words)

Author(s): Repgen, Tilman | Alles, Gregory D. | Pies, Ingo
[German Version] I. Law – II. Religious Studies – III. Sociology and Social Ethics I. Law Potential for development is of the essence of human personality. The legal instruments that promote this development include the contract, understood as a bilateral or multilateral agreement governing a legal relationship, entered into by the parties. Mutual assent ( consensus ad idem) of the parties to a contract has been constitutive since the beginning in both the ancient world and Judeo-Christian culture. Matt 20:1–16, for example, takes it …


(8 words)

[German Version] Nicholas of Cusa

Contradiction, Logical

(281 words)

Author(s): Kober, Michael
[German Version] A necessarily false set of statements contains a logical contradiction (Antinomy). Logical calculuses and theories should generally be free of contradiction (consistent) since, according to traditional logic all kinds of arbitrary conclusions can proceed from a falsehood ( ex falso quodlibet). Aristotle ( Metaph. Γ 1005 b 17–34) formulated the “principle of contradiction (to be excluded)” (which can be interpreted logically, psychologically and ontologically in his thinking) as a fundamental principle of …


(108 words)

Author(s): Flynn, Jane
[German Version] from medieval Latin contrafacere, “imitate,” vocal music in which the original text is replaced by new lyrics. Before 1450, contrafactum could refer to a secular song for which new lyrics had been written or to a new liturgical text in place of an older plainchant. After 1450, contrafactum was used for a piece of sacred music that originally had a secular text; for example, the song “O Welt, ich muss dich lassen” (“O world, I must leave you”) is a contrafactum of H. Isaac's popular tenor song “Innsbruck, ich muß dich lassen.” Jane Flynn Bibliography R. Strohm, The Rise of Eur…


(284 words)

Author(s): Krech, Volkhard
[German Version] The concept of control was developed in sociology and social psychology, especially in the thematic context of deviant behavior. Social control is the generic term for those mechanisms by means of which a social unit (e.g. a group, a social environment, or a society) ¶ attempts to get its members to follow approved forms of behavior in order to achieve conformity. However, one should distinguish between external and internal control. External control produces obedience to certain norms by applying extern…

Controversial Theology

(1,053 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] is a branch of theology that judges differences between various Christian Churches from a polemical and argumentative point of view rather than analyzing them from a historically critical perspective. The “controversy” involved relates both to the object and the method of this discipline. Theological positions are discussed when they become significant in disturbing or dividing the church community, and not so much as contributions to an open scholarly debate. I. Although the term controversial theology did not become common until the 20th century, …


(331 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] 1. Those who belong to a convent (Lat. conventus), i.e. all the full members of a religious community at a specific location. 2. In the context of a particular monastic way of life, and especially among the mendicant orders, “conventuals” refers to that group or tendency within the order which continues to follow the “old observance” (usually in a previously mitigated form) in the midst of internal disputes over the proper observance of the rule, and which accordingly …


(660 words)

Author(s): Hauschildt, Eberhard
[German Version] is an everyday, specifically human phenomenon: two or more people exchange linguistic symbols that not only accompany their actions, but establish an independent thought world, the scene discussed, that differs from the situation of the conversation, the discussion scene; as such, it is suitable for the treatment and portrayal of religion. In contrast to the unilateral monopoly of discussion, the speech (Rhetoric) and the spoken ritual that fixes…

Converse Brothers

(8 words)

[German Version] Lay Brothers


(6,787 words)

Author(s): Bischofberger, Otto | Cancik, Hubert | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Zumstein, Jean | Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Greco-Roman Antiquity – III. Bible – IV. Church History – V. Systematic Theology – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Missiology – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. History of Religions “Conversion” denotes the religiously interpreted process of total reorientation in which individuals or groups reinterpret their past lives, turn their backs on them, and reestablish and reshape their future lives in a new network of social relationships. The phenomenon was initially …

Conversos (Anusim)

(820 words)

Author(s): Beinart, Haim
[German Version] The epithet Marranos, meaning “swine,” was applied to Jews who were forcibly con¶ verted to Christianity in Spain after the 1391 riots. The church and state officially rejected the appellation and preferred: “New Christian,” confeso (meaning convert). The anti-Jewish propaganda (Anti-Semitism/Anti-Judaism) in Andalusia was followed by riots, in which entire Jewish communities – around 600,000 Jews – were forced to the baptismal font. Only a few Jewish communities were protected by royalty and nobilit…

Converts, Instruction of

(396 words)

Author(s): Zweigle, Birgit
[German Version] This is the education that accompanies conversion. Conversion constitutes a change of religion or denomination. The unbaptized are prepared for their conversion by means of baptismal instruction or the catechumenate, previously baptized converts through discussions. In theory, the instruction of converts may be applied to both procedures, though it usually designates the accompaniment of the already baptized in distinction to baptismal instruction. The …


(990 words)

Author(s): Stock, Konrad
[German Version] As a basic notion of fundamental ethics, “conviction(s)” (Ger. Gesinnung) is one of the key concepts of a specific theory of morality (Morality and immorality). It denotes the enduring and persevering quality of an emotional or volitional urge to attain an envisaged good (cf. Rom 8:5; Phil 2:5; 3:19) – in other words, the intentionality (Intention/Intentionality) that inspires a person or community of persons. The more precise definition of its content a…

Convocations of Canterbury and York

(291 words)

Author(s): Bray, Gerald
[German Version] These are provincial assemblies of the Church of England, each of which is divided into an upper house (bishops) and a lower house (representatives of the clergy). There are no lay members. The convocations grew out of ancient assemblies and met regularly from about 1250 onwards. They acted as legislative bodies, and produced a number of important canons, which continue to influence church life today. From 1536 to 1966 the convocations convened a…
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