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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Cultic Objects in Palestine

(545 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Ulrich
[German Version] (Bronze Age to Late Antiquity). Power-radiating objects, such as scepters or ceremonial weapons, or implements needed to perform cultic procedures, such as libations and incense offerings, but in which there is no inherent magical power, can be designated cultic objects. As such, they have been attested in Palestine since pre-historic times and found use in the official and the private cult, were made of the most varied materials, and mostly preserved …

Cult Religion

(9 words)

[German Version] Typology of Religion

Cult Sites (in Palestine)

(502 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] In addition to the temple in Palestine and northern Arabia, there were open-air sanctuaries, demarcated sites whose inventory regularly included an asherah , a holy tree, and a massebah, a holy stone, at least since the late Neolithic era. As its Old Testament designation, asherah, indicates, the tree represents the goddess, while the massebah was considered the locus of the presence of the god (thus Beth-El, Bethyl [Bethel]; cf. Gen 28:18–19a). Masseboth/bethyls could be left in their natural state, decorated with reliefs, sculpted geometrica…

Cultural Anthropology/Social Anthropology

(811 words)

Author(s): Laubscher, Matthias Samuel | Meisinger, Hubert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Natural Sciences I. Religious Studies Ethnology in the German-speaking realm corresponds roughly to cultural anthropology in the USA and social anthropology in the British realm of influence. Different disciplinary classification in the three scientific regions has led to specific configurations. Common to all is the object of investigation: human culture and comparison of (as an ideal, all) individual cultures. The Ame…

Cultural Catholicism

(451 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Claus
[German Version] Formed in chronological proximity to cultural Protestantism, cultural Catholicism first occurred in 1910 in progressive Reform Catholicism as a polemical term for the group centered around the journal Hochland (Highland) and its editor K. Muth, which was moderate in terms of church policy, and for the “reconcilication of the (Roman Catholic) church and modern culture” in view of Catholic “inferiority” desired by H. Schell and A. Ehrhard and also popularized in the series “Kultur und …

Cultural Criticism

(568 words)

Author(s): Konersmann, Ralf
[German Version] Though the earliest beginnings of faith and knowledge already permit the perception, in retrospect, of an element of cultural criticism, J.-J. Rousseau was the first to bring the phenomenon to life. The 18th century underwent a previously unknown assessment of “civilization” and its claims that were thenceforth considered objects of human production and control. The major themes of Rousseau's cultural criticism: The alienation of society and the suppression of individuality extend the Enlightenment instrument of criticism to the process of …

Cultural Elites and the Church

(773 words)

Author(s): Meyer-Blanck, Michael
[German Version] In a broad sense, the educational dilemma of the church is the consequence of the modern tension between religion and science, first apparent in the 18th century. In 1799 F.D.E. Schleiermacher defended religion from its cultured despisers, who had enthusiastically adopted aesthetic and moral forms of self-assurance while educating the general populace in a religion to which they themselves were “totally indifferent” (Schleiermacher, 32). As the middle class grew during the 19th century, this ¶ tendency led to education in a cultural religion indep…

Cultural Evolution

(389 words)

Author(s): Meisinger, Hubert
[German Version] is gaining in significance in the description of culture. It not a matter of social Darwinism (Darwinism: IV) nor of a simple transfer of the principles of biological evolution, neither analogy nor parallelism, but structural isomorphy, which depicts relations of various levels to one another. One can speak of a general theory of evolution as a positive heuristic for physical, biological and social processes. A plausible model must describe the s…

Cultural History

(434 words)

Author(s): Kracht, Klaus Große
[German Version] The composite term cultural history can be first identified in the second half of the 18th century (Johann Christoph Adelung; Hermann Dietrich Hegewisch; Karl Ludwig Heinrich Pölitz). Authors of historical works appropriated the term in order to refer programmatically to the expansion of the subject of history beyond court and church concerns to the scopes of experience of middle class life (such as commerce, transportation, education, etc.). As …

Cultural Protestantism

(913 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] Despite intensive historical research, the origins of the term cultural Protestantism have been identified only in broad outline. Originally it was not a self-designation but a polemical term used by others, reflecting the florescence of cultural semantics (Culture: II) in the late 19th and early 20th century. In all European societies, the widespread sense of a crisis of modernity, the cultural pessimism rife among the bourgeoisie, and the relat…

Cultural Revolution

(456 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Christian
[German Version] I. The term cultural revolution originated in Soviet Marxist-Leninist terminology of the 1920s. It refers to the effort to expand the effects of the October Revolution (Russia; Communism) beyond the political and economic realms and to extend them to cultural politics as a “Third Front.” In this respect, the emergence of the term marks a demarcation from the classical understanding of K. Marx and F. Engels according to which cultural developments …

Cultural Studies

(795 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] The term cultural studies (Ger. Kulturwissenschaft) appeared as early as the late 18th century. It gained programmatic content, however, only around 1900 in the controversies concerning the independence of the humanities in relation to the natural sciences and concerning the normative integration of modern capitalist mass societies shaped by multiple crises. Since the “linguistic turn” and the “culturalist turn” in the 1980s, it has served the trans-d…

Cultural Theology

(391 words)

Author(s): Haigis, Peter
[German Version] The term cultural theology refers to the systematic-theological project of elaborating an interpretation of the religious dimension of cultural work and evaluating it against the background of firm theological decisions, or of appreciating and meeting the theological challenges given in a specific social and cultural situation. Thus, three assumptions are mentioned that form the basis of any project of cultural theology. First, one must clarify what is to be understood by “culture,” what realm of phenomena this term describes, what “…


(7,222 words)

Author(s): Laubscher, Matthias Samuel | Moxter, Michael | Recki, Birgit | Haigis, Peter | Herms, Eilert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Philosophy – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. Ethics – VI. Culture, Art, and Religion – VII. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies The word “culture” derives from Latin cultura, “tilling of land”; since antiquity it has been used metaphorically for cultura animi, “cultivation of the mind,” and for status culturalis, the desirable refinement contrasting with the human status naturalis. Since the Enlightenment, the word has taken on different meanings. In the European context, culture co…

Culture Hero

(646 words)

Author(s): Köpping, Klaus Peter
[German Version] Except in the monotheistic religions of revelation, in mythology throughout the world we encounter figures who are the first to introduce the cultural knowledge critical to human survival; they are not looked upon as wholly divine but rather as hybrids, since they are intermediate between gods and human beings. Often they are not only hermaphroditic, but ambiguous in all respects (Dualism: I). They are nomadic, protean, scheming, but also well-di…

Culture Research

(448 words)

Author(s): Grözinger, Albrecht
[German Version] Although cultural research is able to look back on a long scholarly tradition, it has unmistakably gained in significance in the last 20 years. In the context of globalized and pluralistic societies, research on local cultures, but also cultures in a broader context, faces new challenges. Today, in this regard, cultural ¶ research itself is understood pluralistically: empirical, hermeneutic, semiotic, and ideological approaches have been developed. A common critique of certain restrictions on cultural research in the …

Culture State

(808 words)

Author(s): Germann, Michael | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Law – II. Social Ethics I. Law A culture state is a state that takes responsibility not only for the security and freedom of its citizens, but also their cultural concerns (Culture), nota bene, for ¶ the sake of its own cultural conditions. Legally, the culture state expresses itself in part in determinations of the objectives of state (clearly in art. 3 I 1 of the 1946 Bavarian Constitution: “Bavaria is a legal, cultural and social state”), otherwise in the establishment of the state educat…


(8,783 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Xella, Paolo | Ego, Beate | Niebuhr, Karl-Wilhelm | Lehmkühler, Karsten | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History of Scholarship – III. Ancient Near East – IV. Old Testament and Early Judaism – V. New Testament – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Christianity – VIII. Liturgical Practice – IX. Ethics I. Religious Studies 1. Concept The word “cult” comes from Lat. cultus. Cicero ( De senectute 56) uses the phrase cultus deorum in the sense of “worship of the gods.” It invariably refers to acts of “care and tending”; in secular contexts the word denotes agrarian work (cf. agriculture). There are analogous words in other ancient languages…

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

(173 words)

Author(s): McKim, Donald K.
[German Version] Organized on Feb 4, 1810 in Dickson, TN, by Finis Ewing, Samuel King and Samuel McAdow, who reconstituted the Presbytery of Cumberland, KY, which was dissolved by the Presbyterian Church (Presbyterians) in 1806. Influenced by revivalism (Revival/Revival movements), the denomination was concerned to provide preachers for the American frontier while also rejecting parts of the Westminster Confession, particularly the doctrine of God's eterna…

Cumont, Franz

(328 words)

Author(s): Bonnet, Corinne
[German Version] (Jan 3, 1868, Aalst – Aug 20, 1947, Woluwé-Saint-Pierre), Belgian archaeologist, philologist, and historian of religion. Cumont studied classical philology at the University of Ghent (Ph.D. in 1887), studying in further depth in Bonn, Berlin, Vienna, and Paris (1882–1892) under the guidance of H. Usener, T. Mommsen, Hermann Diels (1848–1922), and L. Duchesne. After a journey to Greece and Italy (1890–1891), he received a teaching po…
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