Religion Past and Present

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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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Epaphras

(6 words)

Ephesians, Letter to the

(1,874 words)

Author(s): Sellin, Gerhard
[German Version] I. Structure and Form – II. Language and Style – III. Author and Literary Dependence – IV. Addressees, Occasion, Intention V. Backgrounds in the History of Religion – VI. Theological Meaning I. Structure and Form Of all the letters in the Corpus Paulinum, the Letter to the Ephesians betrays the least about its communica-¶ tive situation. Between the prescript (1:1f) and conclusion (6:21–24), the two-part epistolary discourse is, in both parts, simultaneously address and …

Ephesus

(1,220 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Günther, Matthias
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Church History I. Archaeology Early evidence of settlement in the area of Ephesus dates back to the 5th millennium bce. The city itself was founded sometime after 1200 bce by Ionian Greeks. Lying at the mouth of the River Cayster (though now approx. 10 km from the sea), Ephesus grew wealthy as a seafaring and trading town. Impressive architectural remains still testify to its great prosperity …

Ephesus, Councils of

(835 words)

Author(s): Mühlenberg, Ekkehard
[German Version] I. Council of 431 – II. Council of 449 I. Council of 431 1. Occasion The imperial synod called by Emperor Theodosius II at Pentecost (Jun 7) 431 was already ¶ dissolved in October because an irreconcilable division into two synods had developed. This synod only become the third ecumenical council subsequently, although not in the Apostolic Church of the East. The synod's task was to clarify legal matters – perhaps a charge leveled by four Egyptian monks against Cyril of Alexandria? – and christological doctrine (Christology). 2. Background Nestorius, starting from A…

Ephod

(478 words)

Author(s): Utzschneider, Helmut
[German Version] At least three semantic spheres can be discerned in the Old Testament for the term אֵפוֹד extending to the cult and especially to priestly activities (Priesthood): 1. The ephod refers to priestly garments: a. In the draft of the priestly Sinai texts, the אֵפוֹד appears as part of Aaron's high-priestly vestments. It was made of ¶ precious materials (Exod 28:6/39:2; 25:7/35:9), was worn over all other clothing, and was probably a kind of apron or tunic (Exod 29:5/Lev 8:7) with …

Ephraem the Syrian

(403 words)

Author(s): Bruns, Peter
[German Version] Ephraem Syrus (c. 306 in or near Nisibis – 373 Edessa) was according to Barhadbešabba initially an ascetic and a pupil of bishop James of Nisibis, in whose school he later became a teacher (PO 4, 377). According to Sozomen, Hist. eccl. III 166, and ¶ Jerome, De viris illustribus 115, Ephraem occupied the office of deacon. The destruction of Nicomedia by an earthquake in 358 (Gennadius, De viris illustribus 3.67) as well as the pagan restoration policies of Emperor Julian (361–363) are reflected in Eph…

Epic

(1,052 words)

Author(s): Trappen, Stefan
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Epic I. Terminology The literary term epic derives from the Greek literary genre of ἔπος (epic) and is used today as a comprehensive term for all narrative texts and for the essential characteristics of narrative in general. Nevertheless, the term still centers around the epic genre and comparable genres (e.g. idyll, didactic poem, novel). II. Epic 1. Concept In antiquity and in the period of humanism, the epic was defined, with effects reaching far beyond ¶ these epochs, as follows: it is a poetic, invar…

Epiclesis/Invocation

(1,338 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] I. Invocation – II. Epiclesis I. Invocation In order to get into touch with a given deity, one must know the procedure whereby one gets that deity's attention, how to get to the locus of its presence, and how to invoke an epiphany or visit the image representing it. There are also forms that are not necessarily tied to the deity's local presence, such as prayer, imprecation, …

Epictetus

(423 words)

Author(s): Enders, Markus
[German Version] (c. 50 ce, Hierapolis, Phrygia – c. 130 ce, Nicopolis, Epirus), a philosopher and a freed slave, along with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius the foremost exponent of the Stoa (Stoics) in the time of the Roman Empire. A disciple of Musonius Rufus in Rome, he was expelled to Epirus in 94 ce, where he founded a philosophical school. His only student known by name, Arrianus, published four books containing his “teachings” ( diatribai) as well as a “booklet” ( encheiridion) summarizing the diatribai that was extensively commentated upon by the neo-…

Epicureanism

(541 words)

Author(s): Niewöhner, Friedrich
[German Version] Antiquity knew various Epicurean schools, nourished especially by the popularity of Epicureanism in Rome. These schools did not adopt Epicurus's philosophy as a system; rather they treated natural philosophy, ethics, and wisdom teaching separately. They paid particular attention to his ethics, but rarely to his philosophy of nature. It was typical of Epicureanism since antiquity that the adoption of Epicurean ideas was always associated with polemic against Epicurus. Because of his atomism and his denial of providence and immortality, Epicurus was the heretic pa…

Epicurus

(241 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (342/341, on Samos – 371/370, Athens) was a Greek philosopher, the founder of a school of philosophy that he understood to be a competitor to the Platonic Academy and the Aristotelian Peripatos. Of his numerous writings – according to Diogenes Laertes 10.28 he left nearly 300 scrolls – only three didactic letters, a collection of 40 Sentences, and a few fragmenta…

Epidauros,

(402 words)

Author(s): Egelhaaf-Gaiser, Ulrike
[German Version] a city in the Argolis on the southern coast of the Saronic Gulf with a sanctuary to Asclepius. The city is first mentioned in Homer's Iliad 2.561; it ¶ was a member of the amphictyony (cultic alliance) of the Poseidon sanctuary of Kalauria (Poros) and fought on the side of Sparta in the wars of the 5th/4th centuries bce. The city administered the sanctuary of Asclepius, located about nine kilometers to the southwest. Archaeological finds on Mount Kynortion attest to the cult of the hero Maleatas (7th cent. bce), who was later assimilated by Ap…

Epigonus

(5 words)

[German Version] Monarchianism

Epigraphy

(4,138 words)

Author(s): Renz, Johannes | Hallof, Klaus
[German Version] I. Semitic Inscriptions – II. Ancient Inscriptions – III. Medieval and Early Modern Inscriptions – IV. History of Epigraphy I. Semitic Inscriptions 1. Definition and Demarcation Epigraphy (cf. Gk ἐπίγραμμα/ epígramma, ἐπιγραϕή/ epigraphē) deals with ancient inscriptions that have been engraved, chiseled, or applied with ink on hard material such as stone, ceramic, metal, ivory, rarely also wood or similar material…

Epiky

(216 words)

Author(s): Potz, Richard
[German Version] (Gk ἐπιείκεια/ epieíkeia, “equity”), a principle for implementing justice in individual cases, according to which, the individual is empowered to make a decision of conscience against the binding force of a law in isolated instances. The doctrine of epiky has its origin in Aristotle's doctrine of virtue. Epiky was for him a better justice, for it made correction of the law possible; on account of its generality and the abundance of what life brings, the law necessarily remains incomplete. Thomas Aquinas associated the Aristotelian concept of epiky with the aequitas of…

Epiphanius of Salamis

(380 words)

Author(s): Dummer, Jürgen
[German Version] (or of Constantia, Cyprus). Born the son of Christian parents in Besandûk near Palestinian Eleutheropolis between 310 and 320, he then lived in a monastic milieu; after early contacts with Egyptian monasticism, at about 20 years of age, he founded a monastery in his home town. In 367, Epiphanius attained the episcopal see of Constantia. He died in 404 returning t…

Epiphany

(3,841 words)

Author(s): Gladigow, Burkhard | Scriba, Albrecht | Lührmann, Dieter | Förster, Hans
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. History of Religion – III. Old Testament – IV. New Testament – V. Early Church History I. Comparative Religion Epiphany is a descriptive term borrowed from the phenomenology of Greek religion. In the terminology of the comparative study of religions, “epiphany” stands for the widespread conception that gods are accustomed to “appear” under certain conditions …

Episcopalism

(1,566 words)

Author(s): Link, Christoph
[German Version] I. Protestantism – II. Catholicism I. Protestantism In the 16th and 17th century (before territorialism and collegialism), episcopalism and the theory of the episcopal system developed by its proponents represented the earliest justification of the ecclesiastical authority wielded by Protestant princes in their realms. 1. While the Reformers regarded these local rulers as mere fellow Christians, albeit as praecipuum membrum ecclesiae, and wished to invest them with this authority only as long as seemed necessa…

Episcopal Titles

(878 words)

Author(s): Rees, Wilhelm | Ohme, Heinz | Müller, Ludger | Pree, Helmuth | Schima, Stefan | Et al.
[German Version] I. Auxiliary Bishop – II. Chorbishop – III. Regional Bishop – IV. Suffragan Bishop – V. Titular Bishop – VI. Vicar Bishop I. Auxiliary Bishop An auxiliary bishop is a bishop appointed at the request of a diocesan bishop to assist him in administration of the diocese. His rights, duties, and official functions are defined by canon law ( CIC cc. 403–411) and his letter of appointment. An auxiliary bishop is a member of the Bishops' Conference. Unlike a coadjutor, an auxiliary bishop does not have the right of succession. Wilhelm Rees Bibliography J. Listl, “Koadjutor-…
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