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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Immediate Parish

(154 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Hans-Peter
[German Version] An “immediate parish” (Ger. Immediatgemeinde) is a congregation outside the geographical parochial (Parish/diocese) structure that reports directly to the governing body of the church (Church governance) – formerly mostly palace and court congregations, since abolished, today only the cathedral parish in Berlin. Two factors make it unique: Protestants living anywhere in Berlin can be enrolled as members, and, despite its geographical association with the Evangelische Kirche in Berlin-…

Immensee, Bethlehem Mission

(126 words)

Author(s): Collet, Giancarlo
[German Version] In 1896 the French priest Pierre-Marie Barral (1855–1929) founded the Bethlehem Institute at Immensee in Switzerland, an apostolic school to prepare clergy for missionary vocations. On May 30, 1921, Rome issued a decree erecting the Societas Missionum Exterarum de Betlehem in Helvetia (SMB); Pietro Bondolfi (1872–1943) became its first superior general. Its sole purpose was to support the missionary ministry of the church. The understanding of missions that emerged from Vatican II…

Immer, Karl

(146 words)

Author(s): Nicolaisen, Carsten
[German Version] (May 1, 1888, Manslagt, East Frisia – Jun 6, 1944, Bad Meinberg, Lippe). Immer became director of the Neukirchener Erziehungsverein in northern Germany in 1925. From 1927 to 1944, he served as a Reformed pastor in Barmen-Gemarke. In 1933 he co-founded the Confessing Church in the Rhineland and became head of the Coetus Reformierter Prediger. In May of 1934 he was host to and organizer of the Confessing Synod in Barmen (Barmen Declaration); subsequently he was a leading member of the Confessing Church and one of its most important voices. Carsten Nicolaisen Bibliography Wo…


(5 words)

[German Version] Migration

Imminent Parousia Expectation

(387 words)

Author(s): Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version] The term imminent Parousia expectation refers in the first place to the primitive Christian expectation, in the context of an apocalyptic conception of the world (Apocalypticism), of the imminent return (Parousia) of the crucified and risen Lord for the final establishing of the kingdom of God still in the lifetime of the first generation of Christians (cf. 1 Thess 4:17; Phil 4:5; 1 Cor 7:29). This eschatological (Eschatology) orientation (ἐλπίς/ elpís) resulted from the liberating (Liberation) experience of having overcome life-threatening and ungo…


(3,692 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Zachhuber, Johannes | Heiligenthal, Roman | Hartmut Rosenau | Thiede, Werner | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Christianity – IV. Taoism I. Religious Studies It is inherent in the conditio humana that we are forced to master everyday situations and withstand critical moments. To do so, members of every society need handy codes of conduct to survive the manifold crises. Life and death, time and eternity, meaning and meaninglessness mark such critical moments in both individual lives and the course of the world. The responses of cultures and religions to these questions document our yearning for immortality. 1. Models We …


(427 words)

Author(s): Kalb, Herbert
[German Version] In Roman law, immunitas meant exemption from public charges ( munera). The immunity of the early Middle Ages built on this concept, but its legal meaning changed in the middle of the 7th century. The immunity given by royal privilege to monasteries and churches of Empire ( Reichskirche ) did not extend to the publica iudiciaria potestas, the functions of which accrued to those holding the privileges. Within these grants of immunity, a “narrower immunity” was set apart, a special sanctuary with enhanced protection limited to the interio…


(775 words)

Author(s): Kracht, Klaus Große
[German Version] I Following a standard definition by J. Schumpeter, the term “imperialism” (from Lat. imperium, “dominion,” “empire”) refers in general to “the objectless disposition of a state to engage in violent expansion without ascertainable limits” (see II below). In this sense, one may always speak of imperialism when a state configures its relations to other states or societies in terms of the continuing expansion of its territorial dominion without restrictions of time or purpose. This general definition contrasts with a narrower conception of imperialism as …

Imperial Reform (Holy Roman Empire)

(1,644 words)

Author(s): Kohnle, Armin
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Early Approaches to Imperial Reform – III. The Maximilian Era and the Diet of Worms 1495 – IV. Offshoots in the 16th Century I. Concept “Imperial reform” (Ger. Reichsreform) refers to the reform efforts of the emperor and the imperial estates that began in the first half of the 15th century and partly continued on into the middle of the 16th century. It aimed to solve the most pressing domestic problems: the suppression of feuds by securing the Landfriede (public peace), the removal of flaws in the administration of justice, in the law conc…

Implicit Religion

(317 words)

Author(s): Bailey, Edward I.
[German Version] is a concept that seeks to overcome the categorical division between religious and non- religious behavior. The term has been used by Edward Bailey since 1968 to refer particularly (but not exclusively) to secular faith. It points to that aspect of humanity which may find expression in organized religion (or in anti-religious movements) or in behavior that is analogous to such religion, either in traditional societies or in industrial and post-industrial societies. Luckmann takes …

Impostores tres

(174 words)

Author(s): Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] (“the three impostors”). In continuation of the religion-critical motif of deceit, known since antiquity, the claim that the three religion-founders Moses, Jesus, and Muḥammad deceived humanity has been in circulation since the Middle Ages (thus in the charge brought by Gregory IX against Emperor Frederick Hohenstaufen). In the late Middle Ages, rumors concerning the existence of a tractate entitled De tribus impostoribus began to spread, leading to numerous attributions and suspicions. The first attested text is the pamphlet De impostoris religionum, which w…


(615 words)

Author(s): Körtner, Ulrich H. J.
[German Version] The intransitive meaning of the German verb verelenden, which is already attested in Middle High German, is “to sink into misery,” while its transitive use means “to drive someone into poverty.” ¶ The related verb verelendigen means “to drive out of the land, to bring misery upon someone.” Elend (misery) was the term with which the social criticism of the early 19th century denounced the impoverishment of large segments of the population that accompanied the simultaneous increase of general prosperity resulting from progressing…


(2,038 words)

Author(s): Kitschen, Friederike
[German Version] I. Concept and Representatives – II. Character and Painting Technique – III. Rise and Development – IV. Influence – V. Dissemination I. Concept and Representatives Impressionism is a movement in art, predominantly in painting and the graphic arts, that developed in France in the 1860s, and until the first third of the 20th century extended to the art of other countries. Impressionism worked for a renewal of art in form and content, and thus, like Romanticism and Realism before it, opposed the neoclas…

Imprimatur/Imprimi potest

(91 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] Imprimatur/Imprimi potest, certification of the ecclesial license to go to print, after due examination. According to CIC (1983) cc. 822–832 and 838, the following require the approbation or permission of the local pastoral authority, Bishops' Conference, or Apostolic See: 1. publications and translations of Holy Scripture, 2. liturgical texts and prayer books, 3. catechisms and theological textbooks, 4. compilations of church decrees or official documents. It is also recommended to solicit the j…

Imprinting (Environmental Conditioning)

(384 words)

Author(s): Fraas, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] Imprinting denotes that part of human personality (Personality/Personality psychology) for the shaping of which external factors are responsible. In behavioral research (Konrad Lorenz), imprinting refers to a learning process in a sensitive phase during which an instinctive action (a genetically determined, typal behavior) that is not innately set in motion is irrevocably linked to a triggering signal. One may also assume that the early phase of human life is characterized by a ne…


(258 words)

Author(s): Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] As an ethical and legal term, imputability denotes (in a person who has reached the age of discretion) the normally assumed capacity to recognize the morality (Morality and immorality) or legality of an action in a given situation and to act on this recognition by voluntarily choosing whether or not to act, thus becoming legally and morally responsible for any consequences. The concept is a product of the theory of imputation (see also Justification) as developed in 17th- and 18th-centu…


(768 words)

Author(s): Maurer, Ernstpeter | Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics “Imputation” (Lat. imputare, Gk λογίζεσθαι/ logízesthai) specifies that the justification of the sinful person is through the effective judgment of God: God ascribes the righteousness of Christ to the sinner through faith. Human self-justification encounters the quite different righteousness of God which takes human sin upon itself and does away with it in Jesus Christ. This confrontation aims at a new relationship with God on the part of the individua…


(1,360 words)

Author(s): Salomon, Frank L.
[German Version] I. General Characteristics of Andean Religions – II. Inca Religion's Hegemony – III. Inca Religion and Christianity During its short supremacy over western South America, the Inca empire (c.1400–1532 ce) established religious hegemony by co-opting a vast array of pre-existing cults and integrating them into the central cult. The capital Cusco with its sun temple became a global and religious center point for the new empire, with which various local cults were connected. The Inca priesthoods were now superi…


(476 words)

Author(s): Alles, Gregory D.
[German Version] Incantations, as ritualized speech or writing, most closely resemble prayers. But whereas a prayer can be either spontaneous or formulaic, an incantation almost always uses traditional formulas. Prayers are addressed to personal powers such as gods, but incantations can also be addressed directly to natural forces. Normally prayers attempt to persuade a personal power through praise, whereas an incantation – also using words of praise and persuasion – attempts to coerce. If a pray…

Incantation Bowls

(395 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa
[German Version] Simple ceramic bowls from houses and tombs, bearing incantation texts and called incantation bowls, have been found in great numbers since 1851 in Mesopotamia (including Nippur, Babylon, Borsippa, Kutha, Kish, Ctesiphon, and Nineveh) and adjacent Huzistan (Susa), along with scattered finds in Syria. Most of the texts, dating from roughly the 5th to 7th centuries ce, are written in Aramaic (Assyrian AS 10a) square script; many are also in Mandaic. Less common are Estrangela, Manichaean script, and (rarely) Pahlavi. There are also many …
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