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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L'Hospital, Michel de

(384 words)

Author(s): Klueting, Harm
[German Version] (L'Hôpital; 1507, Aigueperse, Puy-de-Dôme – Mar 13, 1573, Bellébat near Paris) was a French statesman who had studied in Toulouse and Padua, and a jurist educated in theology and the humanities. From 1537, he was a member of the “Parlement” in Paris, and in 1547 he participated in the Council of Trent. After holding high state offices, in 1560 he became chancellor to the queen mother Catharine de Medici (1519–1589), who was regent during the minority of Charles IX (reigned from 15…


(349 words)

Author(s): Harich-Schwarzbauer, Henriette
[German Version] (314, Antioch – c. 393, Antioch) was the most significant orator and teacher of rhetoric (I) of the late imperial period. Working in Antioch, he had Julian the Apostate as well as famous Christian preachers such as John Chrysostom among his students. Libanius advocated a form of Hellenism in which language, style, and content, including the basic religious outlook, would be inseparably interwoven. Christian education was not to be granted access to the Greek paideia (Education, Theory of: II), and especially not to rhetoric. The conceptual proximity of …

Liberal Arts

(7 words)

[German Version] Artes liberalis


(4,291 words)

Author(s): Langewiesche, Dieter | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Zenkert, Georg | Gräb, Wilhelm
[German Version] I. History – II. Philosophy – III. Social Sciences and Ethics – IV. Religion I. History 1. General Since the 18th century, European liberalism has fought for a civil society, demanding three kinds of civil rights: (1) equality before the law, guaranteed by the rule of law; (2) equal opportunity for political participation, made possible by the right to vote and free access to the public arena; (3) provision of basic social opportunities. Legal equality was the first of these demands put forward…

Liberal Judaism

(7 words)

[German Version] Reform Judaism

Liberal Parties

(1,173 words)

Author(s): Witte, Barthold C.
[German Version] I. Origins in Europe – II. Liberal Parties in Germany – III. Liberal Parties, Religion, and Churches – IV. International Outlook I. Origins in Europe Liberalism as a political movement has its roots in the European Enlightenment. It begins with the theorists and philosophers who inaugurated the “Age of Reason,” notably J. Locke, C. de Montesquieu, I. Kant, and A. Smith. In a further step, early European liberalism elaborated a political agenda that was characterized by the three …

Liberal Theology

(2,253 words)

Author(s): Wolfes, Matthias | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Schelander, Robert | Blaser, Klauspeter
[German Version] I. General – II. Church History – III. Systematics – IV. Practical Theology – V. Missiology I. General The expression liberal theology became prevalent in the “Saddle Period” (Reinhart Koselleck) of Neo-Protestantism between 1780 and 1820; it denotes a type of “modern theology” that combines strong demands for individual freedom through criticism of religious tradition, differentiation of subjective faith from ecclesiastically defined confessions of faith, an individualistic understanding of reli…

Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum

(157 words)

Author(s): Murphy, Frederick
[German Version] The text, which reproduces parts of the Hebrew Bible from Adam to the death of Saul, is preserved in 18 complete and three fragmentary Latin copies from the 11th–15th centuries. Its original language was Hebrew; it was translated first into Greek and then into Latin. Written in Palestine in the 1st century ce, or the first half of the 2nd century, LAB is not the work of Philo (Pseudo-Philo). LAB follows the Bible closely at times, but abbreviates or expands elsewhere. Its themes are the election of Israel and the faithfulness of God, Israel's sinfu…


(1,399 words)

Author(s): Westhelle, Vítor | Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics While the term liberty (Lat. libertas) denotes the state or property of being free, liberation describes the process through which liberty or freedom is achieved. Liberation is the conscious praxis of freedom to achieve freedom from oppression (Freire). In the New Testament, ἐλευθερόω/ eleutheróō denotes the process of being set free through the work of Christ from the dominion of sin (V), death (VI), and decay (Rom 6:18, 22; 8:2, 21; John 8:32, 36). Enslavement and captivity are the objec…

Liberation Theology

(3,266 words)

Author(s): Altmann, Walter | Marty, Martin E. | Mourkojannis, Daniel | Westhelle, Vítor
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Systematics I. Church History 1. Latin America, Africa, and Asia a. The birth of liberation theology is usually dated to 1971, when Gutiérrez published his Teologia de la liberación, or 1968, the year of the second Latin American Catholic Bishops' Conference in Medellín, Colombia. The two events represented the culmination of a process that had been underway in Latin America since the 1950s: the spread of the base community movements, which were working for social, political, and economi…

Liber censuum romanae ecclesiae

(238 words)

Author(s): Widder, Ellen
[German Version] A collection of manuscripts compiled at the end of the 12th century for the papal curia. It contains (1) an index – instituted by the papal treasurer Cencio Savelli (who in 1216 became Pope Honorius III) and updated into the 15th century – of the churches, cities, and individuals owing interest to the curia; (2) a list of the exempt (Exemption) dioceses and monasteries; (3) the Mirabilia urbis Romae, a description of the city of Rome; (4) an Ordo Romanus, that is, a papal caeremoniale with various ordines; (5) two papal chronicles (up to Eugenius III or Celestine II…

Liber de causis

(7 words)

[German Version] Neoplatonism

Liber diurnus romanorum pontificum

(147 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Martina
[German Version] is first encountered as a title for this disputed source in the canon collection (Canons/Canon collections) of Cardinal Deusdedit (died 1098/1099), which contains extensive excerpts. In addition, there are three manuscripts in Carolingian minuscule ( Vaticanus, Ambrosianus, Claramontanus) of this possibly oldest collection of formularies (approx. 100 items) for the papal records. Both the date (8–10th cent.) and the place of origin of the manuscripts are disputed, as are the questions whether or not the Liber diurnus was composed over several stages and w…

Liber graduum

(338 words)

Author(s): Nagel, Peter
[German Version] The Liber graduum or Book of Steps is a Syriac collection of 30 discourses by an anonymous author simply described as “blessed.” The author probably lived in the Persian sphere of influence in the border area between the Roman and Persian empires (Fitschen). The most likely date is the first half of the 4th century, since the last discourse refers to the persecution of Christians that broke out in 339 under Shāpūr II (Iran: IV, 3). The book represents the radical schools of early Syriac…


(648 words)

Author(s): Gifford, Paul
[German Version] Liberia is a country in the southwest of West Africa; it has an area of some 111,370 km2 and 3,750,000 inhabitants (2007), 95% of whom belong to indigenous African ethnic groups; 3% are Americo-Liberians, and 2% descendants of Caribbean slaves. The coastal strip was discovered by the Portuguese in the mid-15th century (“Pepper Coast”), but no European ¶ commercial settlements were established. Beginning in 1822, American colonization societies settled freed and repatriated slaves along the coast (hence the name Liberia). Additional settlements followed, whic…

Liberius, Pope

(214 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (episcopate May 17, 352 – Sep 24, 366). Liberius, the successor to Julius I as bishop of Rome, refused to sign the condemnation of Athanasius, because the proceedings against him had not followed ecclesiastical norms. He was therefore exiled to Beroea in Thrace (356–358) by Emperor Constantius II. His experience in exile soon caused him to change his mind. Although he was fundamentally an adherent of the Nicene Creed, he signed the theological formula of the Homoeans in 357 (Sirmi…

Liber pontificalis

(400 words)

Author(s): Davis, Raymond
[German Version] is the modern term for a series of anonymous papal biographies from St. Peter to Stephen V (died 891), with continuations from Gregory VII to Martin V. In contrast to the claim in a prominent pseudepigraphic correspondence between Jerome and Pope Damascus I that the collection was written by the pope at Jerome's request, the original series very probably originates with the disputed claims to the papacy by Symmachus (498–514) and Laurentius, resulting from the double election in 498. The Fragmentum Laurentianum documents that there was a series of papal biogra…


(542 words)

Author(s): Hilpert, Konrad
[German Version] Libertinism (from Lat. liber, “free,” libertinus “a person [slave or prisoner of war] set free”) denotes an individual attitude or social trend that takes the Christian message of freedom to mean that “all things are lawful” (1 Cor 6:12; 10:23) and flouts recognized rules and obligations, both theoretically and in practice. Among circles influenced by Gnosticism ¶ (Gnosis), there was already a tendency toward libertine thought within primitive Christianity in response to the Christian kerygma of redemption and liberation (Rom 6:15; Gal …


(2,585 words)

Author(s): Krasser, Helmut | Schmitz, Wolfgang | Ruppelt, Georg
[German Version] I. Antiquity – II. Early Church to the Reformation – III. Modern Era I. Antiquity 1. In Mesopotamia the first collections of cuneiform tablets for school use were assembled in the 3rd millennium bce. From the 2nd millennium at the latest, there also existed in conjunction with temples and palaces collections of cultic, literary, and above all scientific and technical texts (medicine, astrology, divination). In the 7th century bce, Ashurbanipal installed in his palace in Nineveh a library that included all available documents. In Egypt libraries…

Libri carolini

(283 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Martina
[German Version] The Caroline Books is the modern term for the Franconian court's answer to the resolutions of the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicea (787) on the issue of iconolatry (Cultic images). Empress Eirene, after iconoclasm had asserted itself in Byzantium, directed attention back to the veneration, rather than worship, of icons. The Council, which took place without Franconian participation, was nominally presided over by papal representatives. Pope Hadrian I had a (rather poor) translation…
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