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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(350 words)

Author(s): Schmitz, Wolfgang
[German Version] Incunabulum, from Latin incunabula, “diaper,” refers to early printing, up to and including the year 1500. In contrast to wood-cut prints, J. Gutenberg's invention (c. 1440–1450 in Straßburg or Mainz) consists in the production of texts by using movable individual letters which can be cast identically in an unlimited number with the aid of a casting device and in the development of a printing press. The boundary 1500 marks the approximate date of the emanicipation of printing from th…


(372 words)

Author(s): Gräb-Schmidt, Elisabeth
[German Version] Indebtedness differs from guilt/debt, which refers generally to an ethical circumstance as the omission or transgression of a duty, as a concrete, unfulfilled duty or a specific transgression of a requirement. In this regard, one thinks, first, of debts in the economic realm incurred through private, national or international borrowing. The term itself also echoes the understanding of indebtedness as a failure in the general moral sense. Both aspects converge from the standpoint o…

Independent Church Movements

(1,500 words)

Author(s): Koschorke, Klaus | Ludwig, Frieder
[German Version] I. History – II. Missiology I. History Independent local forms of Christianity and the aspiration to be emancipated from the control of European missionaries appeared early on in the history of the emerging churches of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Examples include the movement initiated by the female African prophet D.B. Kimpa Vita in the Congo during the early 18th century, which temporarily threatened Portuguese rule in the region. Independent church movements became a widespread…

Independent Evangelical Missionary

(184 words)

Author(s): Ludwig, Frieder
[German Version] (Ger. Freimissionar), a person carrying out missionary work without ecclesial mandate. Since a comparable mission authority was lacking in German Protestantism until the founding of the Danish-Halle Mission, individually operating missionaries played an important role, as for instance J. v. Welz, who, after an unsuccessful call for mission, traveled to Surinam, and P. Heyling, who was active in Ethiopia. During the 19th century, independent Evangelical missionaries such as K.A.F. G…


(384 words)

Author(s): Albright, John R.
[German Version] In 1927, Werner Heisenberg discovered the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. The previously held theory of classical mechanics had been deterministic. The one-dimensional movement of a particle is described by its coordinates of position and momentum as functions of time. These two quantities define the space of phases in which the particle is represented as a point on a trajectory. From Newtonian laws (I. Newton) it follows that the movement proceeds deterministically if…


(5 words)

[German Version] Determinism

Index librorum prohibitorum

(416 words)

Author(s): Kalb, Herbert
[German Version] (“Index of Forbidden Books”). Taking his lead from antecedents such as the indexes of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition, Pope Paul IV ordered the creation of the Roman Index (1559). Of prime importance for the censorship were the Tridentine rules (Trent, Council of), which stipulated penalties for printers, librarians, testamentary executors, and others. Believers who read indexed books were threatened with the excommunicatio latae sententiae (i.e. immediate excommunication, simultaneously occurring with the offense). The Tridentine index…


(4,173 words)

Author(s): Kiehnle, Catharina | Frasch, Tilman | Schimmel, Annemarie | Koschorke, Klaus
[German Version] I. General – II. History and Culture – III. Religious History – IV. History of Christianity I. General The designation “India,” Gk ἰνδός/ indós, Latinized as indus, goes back to Sanskrit sindhu (orig. “boundary”?) through the intermediary of Old Persian hindu; it is a designation of the River Sindhu and of the Indus region, from which Persian Hindūstān, “Place/territory of the Hindus,” is derived. The Indians themselves called the land (among other designations) Bhārata, “[Land of the] Descendants of Bhārata” (the l…

Indian Dance

(350 words)

Author(s): Moser-Achuthath, Heike
[German Version] A western definition of “dance” can scarcely do justice to the manifold performing arts of India. “Dance-Theater” would be a more suitable description. In India the boundaries between dance and theater are fluid: they both make use of rhythm and stylized body movements. “Theater” involves elements of dance (Kūṭiyāṭṭam), whereas “dance” – as in Oḍissi – often involves sung text with stylized hand gestures and miming. Nāṭakam is the term used for dance-theater forms whose text is re…

Indian Missions

(392 words)

Author(s): Selvanayagam, Israel
[German Version] Despite nearly 2,000 years of Christian presence, 500 years of Roman Catholic mission, and 300 years of Protestant missions, Christians in India remain a minority of 2.5%. This has motivated Indian Christians in particular to offer intensive commitment to mission. “Mission by Indians, for Indians with Indian means” was a slogan that reflected nationalist aspirations at the beginning of the 20th century and more intensely since independence in 1947, which led to the foundation of t…


(886 words)

Author(s): Grube, Dirk-Martin | Ebertz, Michael N.
[German Version] I. Systematic Theology – II. Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Systematic Theology The term “indifference” is used particularly in classical Catholic theology, where it has a positive meaning, applied to a distancing from the world motivated by the coming of the kingdom of God (see also II). This indifference is sharply distinguished from the negative concept of “indifferentism,” denoting indifference regarding claims to transcendent knowledge, and as such was officially condemned (DH 291…


(7 words)

[German Version] Native American Indians


(983 words)

Author(s): Koschorke, Klaus
[German Version] The modern Western missionary movement led to an encounter with a multitude of non-European societies as well as different models for the resulting cultural contact. These have ranged from the various versions of a tabula rasa theory – which denied non-Christian cultures any intrinsic religious value – to understanding of the need for a culturally authentic interpretation of Christianity. Conceptions such as accommodation (II), indigenization, and contextualization (contextuality: I) display many similarities, but …


(7 words)

[German Version] Native American Indians

Indirect Rule

(194 words)

Author(s): Ludwig, Frieder
[German Version] After early beginnings in India (the “princely states”), the British developed the classic model of indirect rule in northern Nigeria. Frederick Lugard ( The Dual Mandate, 1922) sought to use the existing emirate structures for administering the territory (co-opting local legislation, administration of justice, and collection of taxes). Dependence on the British weakened the emirs but enabled them to extend their influence to ethnic groups over which they had previously had no control, leading to conflict…


(8 words)

[German Version] Community and the Individual

Individual Ethics

(1,644 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] I. Definition of Terms – II. History – III. Reflections on the Present I. Definition of Terms 1. Individual ethics includes the whole realm of ethical problems related to fulfilling the purpose of individuals. It must be distinguished from social ethics, because the purpose of individuals cannot be reduced to the purpose of collectives or the ordering of life in a group. 2. For every acting subject, in the context of Christianity, God is the absolute reference point of responsibility, situated …


(1,082 words)

Author(s): Gräb, Wilhelm
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Methodological Individualism I. Concept Individualism is a programmatic concept that surfaced around 1900 amid the ideological and ideopolitical debates of the modern bourgeois cultural world. Even at the time of its historical origin, it had negative overtones: it was thought to express a Zeitgeist that made the individual absolute, subordinating institutions and communities to the self-defined ends of the individual, and thus undermined the basic foundations of society (Community and the individual). Collectivism came into use as the …


(516 words)

Author(s): Krüggeler, Michael | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Sociology of Religion – III. Practical Theology I. The Concept Present-day sociology considers individualization a central feature of modern societies (Society: I, II). It is rooted in the process of social differentiation or, more precisely, in the development of functional subsystems that for the most part have their own organizational structures. Individuals no longer necessarily belong to every subsystem. Commonly – though not always – membership in subsystems comes t…


(122 words)

Author(s): Caleffi, Paula
[German Version] José Carlos Mariátegui (1895–1930), known as the founder of Peruvian communism, proposed in his philosophy that Indo-America, arisen from the cultural heritage of the Indians and the Europeans, had constituted itself in Latin America in order to produce a socialist revolution (Socialism). The socialist revolution of Indo-America must, despite its peculiarities, be part of the worldwide socialist revolution: “In this world order, Indo-America can and must have individuality and style; but neither its own culture nor its own fate” (J.C. Mariátegui, Carta coletiv…


(7 words)

[German Version] Vietnam Laos Cambodia

Indo-European Religions

(918 words)

Author(s): Allen, Nick J.
[German Version] The term Indo-European applies primarily not to religions or cultures, but to languages: the Indo-European languages are those that share descent from a common ancestor, “proto-Indo-European.” The systematic similarities between the Indo-European languages cannot be otherwise explained, and although proto-Indo-European was not written down by its speakers, it can in part be reconstructed by linguists. Where and when it was spoken remains unclear, but one established theory situates it on the South Russian steppes c. 3500 bce. From there it would have spre…

Indo-Malayan Religions

(716 words)

Author(s): Sastrapratedja, Michael
[German Version] The term “Indo-Malayan” or “Indo-Malay” refers to a cultural entity in the Southeast Asian archipelago which is now geographically and politically included in the territories of Indonesia, Malaysia, and (southern) Thailand. In other words, the term denotes pre-modern Indonesia and Malaysia. Prior to the arrival of Islam, religious life on the Indo-Malayan archipelago was influenced by the religious traditions of India, namely Hinduism and Buddhism. The Indian influence was united with autochthonous religiosity to result …


(2,955 words)

Author(s): Peacock, James | Schumann, Olaf | Becker, Dieter
[German Version] I. Non-Christian Religions – II. Christianity A presidential republic since 1945, Indonesia is an archipelagic state in Southeast Asia (13,677 islands, 6,044 of them inhabited). Divided into 27 provinces, it comprises the Malay Peninsula, the Greater Sunda Islands (Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi [formerly Celébes]), the Lesser Sunda Islands (including Bali), the Moluccas, and Papua (western New Guinea; Irian Jaya 1969–2002). Its capital is Jakarta. Its population was 234 million in 2007. Some 360 ethnic groups are represented, including 3% Chinese. Indones…

Indonesian Missions

(319 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] Indonesian churches are limited in performing their missionary task by edicts issued by the ministry of religion in 1978 which prohibit “oral propaganda,” the “distribution of printed materials,” the use of material “means of enticement” or visiting the homes of fellow-citizens of recognized religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity). On the other hand, the state calles upon adherents of the so-called tribal religions to join one of the recognized religions. The Indone…


(257 words)

Author(s): Wohlrapp, Harald
[German Version] Induction refers to the inference of a universal statement concerning an entire subject area on the basis of single statements concerning individual objects. The justification for an inference of this type, i.e. the problem of induction, has been a central issue in the epistemological tradition (Epistemology) ever since Aristotle. The validity of a principle of “complete induction” is considered proven in formal disciplines ¶ (logic, mathematics) with self-constituted subject areas. However, it has been clear since D. Hume's critique of the co…

Inductive Pastoral Care

(211 words)

Author(s): Klessmann, Michael
[German Version] The term inductive pastoral care was coined to describe the approach to pastoral care of S. Hiltner, a leading American pastoral psychologist and theoretician; it was later extended to represent the methodological approach of the pastoral movement of the 1970s and 80s in Germany as well. In Germany, thanks to the influence of dialectical theology, the theory of pastoral care has usually been derived deductively from a particular concept of proclamation (e.g. E. Thurneysen), but Hiltne…


(1,315 words)

Author(s): Ohst, Martin | Müller, Gerhard L.
[German Version] I. History – II. Modern Catholicism I. History Indulgences ( indulgentia as a fixed technical term since the early 13th cent.; previously also remissio, relaxatio, or absolutio generalis) are rooted in the early medieval system of scheduled penances (Repentance: IV), which allowed fixed forms of satisfaction to be replaced by other acts (“commutation”) or payment of a monetary sum (“redemption”), all meant to be equivalent. The new element in indulgences was the discontinuation of this required equivalenc…

Indulgence, Declaration of

(296 words)

Author(s): Sheils, William J.
[German Version] Indulgence, Declaration of, issued by King James II of England on Apr 4, 1687, granted full liberty of worship (Freedom of religion) to Protestant nonconformists (Dissenters) and to his fellow Roman Catholics provided the magistrates were informed, removed the requirement for Crown servants to take the oath of supremacy, and guaranteed security of tenure to the owners of former monastic lands. Similar declarations had been issued by Charles II, in 1662 and 1672, but both were with…


(78 words)

Author(s): Rees, Wilhelm
[German Version] Indult, from Lat. indulgere, “be lenient, grant.” In Catholic church law indult is the granting of a usually temporary exemption from a legal requirement (Dispensation, Privilege) by a bearer of sovereign leadership authority (cf. e.g. CIC [1983] cc. 306; 320 §2; 684 §2; 692; 727f.; 743; 995; 1015 §2; 1019 §2; 1021). Wilhelm Rees Bibliography KanR I, 1991, 256f.; 505, n. 8 I. Riedel-Spangenberger, Grundbegriffe des Kirchenrechts, 1992, 133 A. McCormack, The Term “Privilege”, 1997.

Industrial Chaplain

(518 words)

Author(s): Belitz, Wolfgang
[German Version] This article focuses on the situation in Germany. There are currently about 60 industrial chaplains working in the majority of the regional churches that belong to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Their working field is now termed Kirchlicher Dienst in der Arbeitswelt (Church Ministry in the Working Environment; KDA). As a rule, this ministry is performed in close cooperation with social secretaries and socioscientific as well as economic consultants. It comprises three ma…


(1,534 words)

Author(s): Brüggemeier, Franz-Josef
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Aspects and Development Trends – III. Preconditions – IV. Germany – V. Phases I. Concept The term industrialization designates a historical process which originated in Europe and especially in England towards the end of the 18th century and which has in the meantime spread to the entire planet. The developments and changes associated with this process are so momentous that it is often referred to as an industrial revolution. This designation is problematical inasmuch as these c…

Industrial Society

(525 words)

Author(s): Brakelmann, Günter
[German Version] Industrial mass production is one of the fundamental realities of modern history, a presupposition of which was a progressive accumulation and concentration of productive capital. A complicated money and banking system developed. The growth of an industrial labor force which was willing to sell its labor to the owners of the means of production at the prevailing market prices corresponded to this process. Within this dependent labor force, a social differentiation according to pro…


(1,975 words)

Author(s): Brakelmann, Günter | Schibilsky, Michael
[German Version] I. History of Economics – II. Industrial Work Environment – III. Industrial Congegration I. History of Economics In a long, continuous process, modern industrialism (Industrialization) developed from crafts, household industry and manufacturing. The so-called Industrial Revolution led to a differentiated factory system and the machine became the symbol of the new industrial era. Systems of factories and machines became entwined in a novel form of production and communication. Major technical in…


(2,805 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Baumann, Urs | Hünermann, Peter
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology – II. Dogmatics and History of Doctrine – III. Ethics – IV. Catholic Understanding I. Fundamental Theology Infallibility, understood as unswerving inerrancy or being held unshakably in the truth, is a theme of both Reformation and Roman Catholic theology. Both traditions of Western theology affirm the NT statement that the Holy Spirit will guide the faithful and the community of believers into all truth (John 14:16; 16:13) and that the church is therefore “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). 1. Reformation theology sees he…


(176 words)

Author(s): Landau, Peter
[German Version] The legal institution of infamy, adopted into canon law from Roman law, means loss of honor and hence severe degradation within the church. First found in legal sources in 419, it took on great importance for the church through the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals (9th cent.) and later through inclusion of these texts in the Decretum Gratiani ( Corpus Iuris Canonici ). Infamy precluded bringing legal charges or testifying in court and was an impediment to ordination. Post-Gratianic canon law distinguished infamia facti, actual loss of reputation, and infamia iuris, impose…

Infancy Gospels

(502 words)

Author(s): Hock, Ronald F.
[German Version] are a series of popular and influential Christian narratives that expanded and revised the stories of Jesus' birth that are found in the canonical Gospels (Matt 1–2; Luke 1–2). They expand Matt and Luke where they are brief, as in Matt's sketchy account of Joseph, Jesus' father's trip to Egypt in Matt 2:13–15; they fill them in where they are silent, as in Luke's narrative gap between Jesus' birth and his trip to Jerusalem at the age of 12 (Luke 2:42–51); and they extend them backwards to include the birth, childhood, and early adulthood of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The most im…

Infancy Narratives

(408 words)

Author(s): Radl, Walter
[German Version] In the literature of antiquity, the grandeur of important persons is already announced in the miraculous circumstances of their birth and childhood. These are not understood as personal proofs of divine favor for the child and the parents, but as signs for the benefit of the people or realm in question. The content of the mostly legendary sources includes: the child's noble or even divine origin (sometimes attested by a genealogy), his extraordinary conception, the announcement, p…

Infant Baptism

(6 words)

[German Version] Baptism


(1,645 words)

Author(s): Hühn, Lore | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics I. Philosophy Infinity is a key concept of ancient philosophy that combines a wide spectrum of meanings under the title ἄπειρον/ ápeiron: boundlessness and indeterminacy of the origins from which becoming emerged, that is, the fundamental principle of the physical world and of its objects (Anaximander); the limitlessness, to be evaluated negatively, which stands in opposition to the positive delimitation effected by number or measure (Pythagoras); t…


(834 words)

Author(s): Stephan, Achim | Leiner, Martin
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Ethics I. Philosophy In colloquial usage, the term “information” is often employed in the sense of “disclosure” or “message.” Various media can convey the same information: A x-ray conveys information to a physician that his or her patient is suffering from lung cancer and then the physician can inform the patient in a conversation. Furthermore, the same message can hold different information for different recipients (the patient or the insurance company). In contra…

Information Technology

(365 words)

Author(s): Tinnefeld, Marie-Theres
[German Version] Information technology is the branch of computer science that is devoted to the creation of systems for the collection and processing, as well as the transmission, distribution, and presentation of digital, information-bearing data (in text, words, pictures, and graphics). In the application of information technology, at least four interrelated components are significant: hardware, software, organizational structures, and users or recipients. In the early days of data processing a…


(811 words)

Author(s): Link, Christian
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Fundamental Theology I. Dogmatics The terms infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism designate the alternate positions in the 17th-century dispute between the various schools of Reformed theology regarding the understanding of predestination. The controversial issue was: who is the eternally chosen or damned human being? The yet to be created and fallible person (thus supralapsarianism: T. Beza, F. Gomarus, in certain respects already Calvin) or the already created and…

Inglis, Charles

(190 words)

Author(s): Goodwin, Daniel
[German Version] (1734, Glencolumbkille, Ireland – Feb 24, 1816, Aylesford, Nova Scotia, Canada), born to an Irish family of Scottish descent, emigrated to the USA at 20 years of age, worked there for three years as a teacher, and was ordained an Anglican priest on Dec 24, 1758. He was a loyalist during the American Revolution and returned to Britain in 1783. In 1787 Inglis was appointed the first bishop of Nova Scotia. Upon assuming his duties, Inglis encountered clergy that were antagonistic tow…

Ingoli, Francesco

(309 words)

Author(s): Metzler, Josef
[German Version] (Nov 21, 1578, Ravenna – Apr 24, 1649, Rome), studied civil and canon law at the University of Padua, received the Dr.iur.utr. in 1601, was appointed to a lectureship in law in Padua, became junior lawyer of the cardinal legate of the Romagna, was private tutor to the nephew of Gregory XV, and on Jan 6, 1622 he became secretary of the Cardinal's Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith ( de Propaganda Fide, today “for the Evangelization of the Peoples”; Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), which was established on the same day. Ingoli g…

Ingolstadt, University of

(488 words)

Author(s): Müller, Rainer A.
[German Version] The Bavarian university of Ingolstadt, planned as early as 1453 and chartered by Pope Pius II in 1459, was able to open its doors to students in 1472. Its founder was Duke Ludwig the Wealthy of Bavaria (1450–1479), the chancellor of the bishop of Eichstätt. Modeled on Paris (II) and the statutes of Vienna (II), the university comprised four faculties. It soon became a center of Humanism, numbering among its teachers C. Celtis, J. Reuchlin, J. Aventinus, and Jacob Locher. With 300 …

Inheritance Law

(848 words)

Author(s): Lindner, Thomas
[German Version] I. Inheritance law is the sum of those legal norms of private law that regulate the transfer of a natural person's (testator) property rights and obligations after death to another (natural or juridical) person (inheritance law in the object sense); in addition, inheritance law refers to the totality of all rights and claims that devolve upon one with respect to inheritance upon the death of the testator (inheritance; inheritance law in the subjective sense). German inheritance law is primarily regulated in the fifth volume of the Civil Code (§§1922 to 2385). II. The fu…


(7 words)

[German Version] Rites of passage

Initiation Groups

(376 words)

Author(s): Waldmann, Helmut
[German Version] The concept of initiation groups is a sub-category of the concept of the male society. It denotes the initiatory stages – often linked with a certain age – which an individual passes through in order to attain full membership in a male society. The most famous historical examples are the kardakes in the Spartan educational system and the Swiss disciplinary groups, in more recent times, groups in the youth movement, and then in the Hitler Youth. Church examples are catechumens, aco…

Inland Mission

(2,172 words)

Author(s): Kaiser, Jochen-Christoph
[German Version] I. Origins – II. The Concept – III. Wittenberg, the Central Committee and the Organization of Christian Charity – IV. Inland Mission, Church, and the Ermergence of the Social State – V. Third Reich, New Beginning, and Incorporation into the Diaconal Ministry I. Origins The end of the ancien régime also had consequences for the regional Protestant churches and the self-conception of its subdivisions at the turn of the 18th to the 19th century: the early bourgeois society encouraged the development of a “whole church” awarene…
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