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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Oates, Wayne Edward

(172 words)

Author(s): Domsgen, Michael
[German Version] (Jun 24, 1917, Greenville, SC – Oct 21, 1999, Louisville, KY), psychologist of religion, representative of the Pastoral Counseling movement in the United States. Oates taught at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville: from 1948 to 1974 as assistant professor, from 1983 to 1992 as senior professor; and from 1992 to 1994 as senior research professor of psychology of religion and pastoral care. From 1974 to 1991 he was professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at…


(4,263 words)

Author(s): Hock, Klaus | Steymans, Hans Ulrich | Börner-Klein, Dagmar | Fitzgerald, John T. | Krieg, Arno | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Church History – VI. Ethics – VII. Law I. Religious Studies As a solemn affirmation of a statement, an oath takes its religious quality from the underlying belief in the power of words to effect a blessing or curse (Blessing and curse). Therefore the early phenomenology of religion classed oaths with invective, curses, etc. as words of consecration: those who swear oaths identify themselves with their words and are “consecrated…

Oath of Secrecy, Church Officials

(208 words)

Author(s): Pirson, Dietrich
[German Version] The oath of secrecy is the term used for the duty of clergy and church officers not to report, or comment on, facts and events of a confidential nature that they have come to know in the exercise of their office. The obligation of the oath in relation to the church forms part of the official relationship regulated by church law. The content of the oath goes materially further than the pastoral seal of the confessional. It does not include facts that are in any case public knowledg…

Oaxtepec Congress

(570 words)

Author(s): Prien, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] (1978), an assembly of churches of Latin America. Oaxtepec is an important step in the process of cooperation in Latin American Protestantism that began with the Congresses on Christian Work in Latin America (CCWLA), in 1916 in Panama (Panama Congress), in1925 in Montevideo, and in 1929 in Havana, and the foundation of National Councils of Churches. After World War II, when German immigrant churches had also joined the councils and a call arose for continental representation of th…

Obadiah/Book of Obadiah

(1,347 words)

Author(s): Köckert, Matthias
[German Version] I. Place in the Canon – II. Structure – III. Growth – IV. Date – V. Name I. Place in the Canon The book of Obadiah (Gk Abdias) is part of the Book of the Twelve (Prophetic books); in the Hebrew canon ¶ it follows Amos, in the Greek, Joel (cf. Lives of the Prophets). It shares motifs and catchwords with both. II. Structure Obadiah uses Edom to exemplify the relationship of Israel to the nations. The linkage of two levels of communication (Wehrle) in vv. 1 and 15 divides the book into two parts. After the superscription, v. 1 links two speech ev…


(2,323 words)

Author(s): Gantke, Wolfgang | Beutler, Johannes | Slenczka, Notger | Schweitzer, Friedrich | Sieckmann, Jan-R.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics – IV. Education and Ethics – V. Law I. Religious Studies Emphasis on the phenomenon known as obedience varies among religions, but wherever human beings are understood as hearers of a divine or sacred word obedience plays an important role as the claim of a higher, transhuman power on human beings. The religious will to obey presupposes prevailing over one’s own self-will for the sake of God or what is holy. The Enlighten-¶ ment, which calls human beings to autonomy, led to a crisis of the religious concept of o…


(188 words)

Author(s): Wißmann, Hans
[German Version] Obelisk, a high, slender pillar found in Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom (Gk ὀβελός/ obelós, “pointed column,” actually “skewer”), mostly with a square base and a pyramid-shaped top, often gilded. Its cultic significance, linked with the sun god Re, comes from the fact that the first rays of the sun reached the top and illuminated it. Pairs of obelisks were often set up in the temple of the sun god; their sides and plinth were usually inscribed with hieroglyphs. In antiquity it was already …

Oberammergau Passion Play

(8 words)

[German Version] Passion Plays

Oberheid, Heinrich Josef

(281 words)

Author(s): Faulenbach, Heiner
[German Version] (Feb 7, 1895, Mülheim on the Ruhr – Nov 17, 1977, Düsseldorf), studied theology and national economics, and gained a doctorate. Between 1920 and 1925 he was successfully employed in the Stinnes company, and became director. From 1933 he served as a pastor. From 1920 he adopted national popular views, and in 1928 joined the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP, National Socialism). He failed from 1926 in his own economic enterprises, but as an assault leader in the Sturmabteilung (SA) soon became one of the most important agitators for Deutsche Christ…

Oberlin House

(183 words)

Author(s): Collmar, Norbert
[German Version] is named, like many educational and welfare institutions, after J.F. Oberlin. It was opened on Nov 30, 1874 by the Oberlin Association (Oberlinverein, founded 1871) in the poor and populous weaver settlement of Nowawe (now Potsdam-Babelsberg) as a training college and infants school. From 1879 it was directed by Theodor Hoppe, on the model of the mother houses in Kaiserswerth. Oberlin House was extended to include care for the sick, “cripples,” and the deaf-mute-blind. Its sisters…

Oberlin, Johann Friedrich

(434 words)

Author(s): Collmar, Norbert
[German Version] (Aug 31, 1740, Strasbourg – Jun 2, 1826 Waldersbach im Steintal, Alsace), pastor, mystical welfare and social reformer, and founder of the first kindergarten. Oberlin studied philosophy and theology at Strasbourg. In his family and during his studies of theology he became acquainted with Pietism. In 1760 he drew up his “solemn acts of dedication to God,” which he confirmed in 1765, 1770, and 1822. He rejected revivalist pressure, and pietist anthropology and educational method, an…

Obermayer, Klaus

(209 words)

Author(s): Link, Christoph
[German Version] (May 5, 1916, Wiesbaden – Aug 14, 1988, Erlangen), Protestant jurist. He served as an officer from the first days of the war. After 1945 he studied and completed his professional qualification, and then practiced as a lawyer for several years in state and church administration. In 1958 he gained his Habilitation. From 1960 until his retirement in 1984 he was full professor of public law and church law in Erlangen. Obermayer was one of the pioneers of administrative law founded on the rule of law, informed by basic rights and in co…

Oberthür, Franz

(303 words)

Author(s): Decot, Rolf
[German Version] (Aug 6, 1745, Würzburg – Aug 30, 1831, Würzburg), ordained priest in 1769; professor of dogmatics and history of dogma in Würzburg from 1773 to 1809 (temporarily removed from office in 1803 following secularization); canon at the Hauck Stift in 1774; cathedral canon in 1821; in 1829 Bavarian privy counselor. Oberthür was the author of theological handbooks and encyclopedias; he also wrote on local history and edited patristic texts. Not strikingly speculative as a thinker, he was …


(1,063 words)

Author(s): Künne, Wolfgang | Großhans, Hans-Peter
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Fundamental Theology I. Philosophy An object (Ger. Gegenstand) is anything to which a predicate can be applied, or to which identificatory reference can be made by way of a proper name, designation, or deictic expression, hence anything with regard to which statements can be made and judgments can be passed. (“Individual,” “entity,” or “object” [Ger. Objekt] are frequently employed in this sense in analytic philosophy.) In the eyes of some philosophers, this understanding of the conception of object is broader than the ¶…

Object-Relations Theory

(346 words)

Author(s): Fraas, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] Psychic energy (libido) is always directed toward specific “objects” of drives (Drive, Drive theory). According to S. Freud’s theory of primary narcissism, it focuses initially on the self, not yet perceived as distinct from the mother. The interruption of the symbiosis between mother and child (narcissistic wound) compels the child to turn outward. Only by perceiving him- or herself as his own person, distinct from his first attachment figure, can the child build a relationship t…


(958 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] I. Pueri oblati – II. Adults – III. Oblate Institutes I. Pueri oblati Oblates (from Lat. oblati, “offered”) were already known in the Early Church. Parents or guardians dedicated children to a monastic vocation, thus – echoing the Old Testament example of Samson and Samuel – offering their most precious possession to God. The legal basis of this practice was the paternal right of disposal recognized by Jewish and Roman legal tradition. The early monastic rules make explicit provision for oblation…


(801 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Reinhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics From a Protestant perspective, obligation (in the sense of binding authority) is assigned only to the Word of God (VI), the self-revealing power of which can lead to deeper insights and to “new Decalogues” (Luther); the latter must be examined by the church as a community with strict reference to the canon. The articles of faith assert binding authority insofar as they are based on Scripture as “the only rule and guiding principle” (BSLK 767, 15), and, at a further remove, insofar as agreement is rea…

Obrecht, Jacob

(217 words)

Author(s): Haslmayr, Harald
[German Version] (Hobrecht; c. 1450 – 1505, Ferrara), Franco-Flemish composer of the Dutch vocal polyphony (Church music:IV, 2.a). He was ordained priest in 1840 and appointed choirmaster at Cambrai Cathedral in 1484/1485. He held other posts as a church musician in Bruges and Antwerp. In 1487/1488 and 1504, he traveled to Ferrara, where in 1505 he died of the plague. Obrecht’s main works are 29 settings of the Ordinary of the Mass, 28 Latin motets, and numerous secular chansons in Old French and …


(530 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. The term observantia denoted in classical Latin the due veneration of other human beings, especially those who surpass us in age, wisdom, and worth (Cic. De inventione 2.66, 161). In Latin of the imperial period it also came to mean respect for customs and laws (on the relationship with religio, cf. 2 Macc 6:11, Vulgate). From the early Middle Ages, the term was especially applied to religious behavior understood as compliance with divine commands: on the one hand, with regard to keeping church rules in general, especially tho…


(332 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] From the late 14th century, reforming groups or tendencies within monasticism (III, 4.b), especially in the mendicant orders and most especially among the Franciscans, were called observants ( observantes, fratres de observantia etc.). In internal debates ¶ about the right way of life, they opposed easing of the rule and other kinds of adaptation that had crept in (Conventuals), and advocated strict following of the rules as rigorously interpreted, together with other prescriptions ( observantia regularis etc., Observance). In this, restoration of the vita commu…

Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior/Neurosis

(599 words)

Author(s): Beine, Karl-H.
[German Version] Obsessive or compulsive behaviors are characterized by the occurrence of obsessive thoughts and/or acts. In this mental disorder, obsessive thoughts find their way into a person’s conciousness unasked, and cannot be dispelled. They are accompanied by strong feelings of anxiety and fear. In most cases, it is aggressive mental images that keep imposing themselves, or notions concerned with pollution. A typical feature of compulsive behaviors is that the afflicted person feels compel…

Occam, William of

(2,010 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
[German Version] I. Life – II. Work – III. Influence (Venerabilis Inceptor; c. 1285, Ockham, England – Apr 9, 1347, Munich) I. Life William probably studied a reduced program of arts at the Franciscan college in London before proceeding in 1308 to study theology at the University of Oxford. Here he delivered his lectures on the Sentences from 1317 to 1319. It is not clear whether, or to what extent, William was involved in the disputes between the mendicant orders and the university. In any case, he came under sharp philosophical attack, especially from t…


(413 words)

Author(s): Perler, Dominik
[German Version] is a theory of causality which disputes the existence of natural causes. It defines God as the sole true cause of all events in the world. Natural objects merely represent opportunities ( occasiones) for divine action. However, God does not intervene arbitrarily in the world, but brings about all events in accordance with natural law. Accordingly, the world is discernible to human beings as ordered creation. On the basis of the axiom that “God has the power to do all” (Qurʾān, sura 2:20, 106, 109), the 10th-century Muslim scholar al-Ašʿarī defen…


(7 words)

[German Version] Orient and Occident


(1,213 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Streib, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Especially in Germany, occultism (from Lat. occultum, “what is hidden [in the mysteries]”) became a collective term for all theories and practices dealing with “extrasensory” and “supernatural” forces after the appearance of H.P. Blavatsky’s theosophy in the 19th century. It differs from spiritualism in explaining spiritualist phenomena as being caused by an unspecified natural force. But since religions, Gnosis, and esotericism a…


(5 words)

[German Version] Water


(2,301 words)

Author(s): MacDonald, Mary N. | Garrett, John
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. History of Christianity I. History of Religion While in the widest sense Oceania embraces the region between Asia and the Americas this article is concerned only with the religious traditions of the island regions known as Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Traditionally Oceania was home to small-scale societies which today persist as parts of nation states. Although the large majority of the people in Oceania are Christian (see II below) and there are small rep…

Ochino, Bernardino

(384 words)

Author(s): Campi, Emidio
[German Version] (actually Tomasini, Benedetto; 1487, Siena – end of 1564, Slavkov [Austerlitz]), was born in the Oca quarter of Siena, from which his later ¶ name is derived. In 1503 he entered the Order of Franciscan Observants (Franciscans), which he left, however, in 1534 following disputes, in order to join the more ascetic Capuchins. In 1538 and 1541 he was elected their vicar general. From 1536, under the influence of P. Waldo, he came in contact with Reformation ideas, which became increasingly prominent in his p…


(295 words)

Author(s): Kraft, Ekkehard
[German Version] is a town to the northeast of the lake of the same name in the republic of Macedonia. In antiquity it was known as Lychnidos and was the chief town in Illyrian Dassaretia. The place is first mentioned in 343 as a bishop’s seat. Probably around 842 it came under Bulgarian rule, and is mentioned again in 879/880 as a bishopric, under the name Ochrid, or (Gk) Achrida. From 886 Clement and Nahum, disciples of Cyril and Methodius, apostles to the Slavs, made it a center of church and m…

Ockeghem, Jean d’

(185 words)

Author(s): Boisits, Barbara
[German Version] ( Jean de; c. 1410, Saint Ghislain near Mons – Feb 6, 1497, Tours?), Franco-Flemish composer. He sang in the choir of Antwerp Cathedral and in the chapel of Duke Charles I of Bourbon in Moulins. He was the leading singer and choir director at the French court under Charles VII, Louis XI, and Charles VIII. He also held the lucrative office of trésorier of St. Martin’s Abbey in Tours. He traveled to Spain, Flanders, and elsewhere. His main work was in religious compositions (Church music: IV, 2.a.y), particularly masses and motets; his requiem…

Ockenga, Harold John

(190 words)

Author(s): Curtis, Heather
[German Version] ( Jul 6, 1905, Chicago, IL – Feb 8, 1985, Boston, MA). After his studies at Taylor University (B.A. 1927), Westminster Theological Seminary (M. Div. 1930), and Pittsburgh University (Ph.D. 1939) Ockenga accepted a call to pastor Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts, where he remained until 1969. During the 1940s and 1950s ¶ Ockenga helped launch and lead the “new evangelical movement” (Evangelicalism). Ockenga coined the term “new evangelical” to describe efforts to encourage a more culturally engaged and intellectually respe…

O’Connor, Flannery

(172 words)

Author(s): Meller, Horst
[German Version] (Mar 25, 1925, Savannah, GA – Aug 4, 1964, Atlanta, GA), American story-teller who dissects with cool irony and black humor the consumerist, psychologically impoverished society of the southern United States in the early years of the Cold War. Her often shrilly satirical short stories, collected in A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965), and her novels Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960), ensured a broad readership and admission to the academic canon. Her life was governed by unwavering Cathol…

Octava dies

(182 words)

Author(s): Brüske, Gunda
[German Version] Octava dies, from the Latin (dies) octava, the eighth day, denotes the liturgical celebration eight days after a festival, and also the period up to the day of the octave. Sources from the end of the 4th century attest the Easter octave (“White Sunday”), and the octaves of Epiphany (V) and church dedication. Whereas earlier scholarship saw its genesis in the context of Old Testament testimony (Lev 23:36; 1 Kgs 8:65; 2 Chr 29:17, 30:21ff.; 1 Macc 4:56), now a connection with baptismal ca…


(711 words)

Author(s): Düchting, Reinhard | Brusniak, Friedhelm | Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] I. Literature – II. Music – III. Orthodox Liturgy I. Literature Historically, the term ode (Gk ᾠδή/ ōdḗ, “song”; cf. the derivative lit. forms of the palinode, “poetic retraction,” and parody, “mock song/poem”) was increasingly reserved for a formal song or poem of exalted emotion ( carmen). Pindar (apart from four books of epinicia [victory songs], only frgms. extant) was the poetic muse of Horace (IV 2), whose four books of carmina ( odae), though little read in the Latin Middle Ages, provided a model for the Latin and vernacular strophic lyric poet…

Odes of Solomon

(8 words)

[German Version] Solomonic Writings

Odilo of Cluny (Saint)

(188 words)

Author(s): Barone, Giulia
[German Version] (c. 961 – Jan 1, 1049, Souvigny, Auvergne), came from the noble family of Mercour (Auvergne). He was first a canon in St. Julien ¶ in Brioude (Haute-Loire), and c. 990 became a monk in Cluny. From 993 Odilo was coadjutor of Abbot Maiolus of Cluny, and from 994 his successor. In 998 he received from Pope Gregory V exemption from the bishop of Macon. This privilege was extended in 1024 to all monasteries dependent on Cluny. Odilo was one of Emperor Otto III’s closest advisers, and wrote some important docum…


(306 words)

Author(s): Harris, Joseph
[German Version] (Old Norse Óðinn; Ger. Wodan, Wotan; Eng. also Woden) is the chief Germanic god of northern paganism in the Viking period, and also its most versatile figure. Myths about Odin include the search for wisdom (e.g. theft of the skaldic meal) and knowledge contests (e.g. with the giant Vafþrúðnir). In some myths he has to undergo shaman-like sufferings (e.g. hang himself in order to obtain runes). As a magician he even practices the black art of seiðr, unworthy of men. In order to attain wisdom he sacrifices one eye, and is therefore portrayed as one-eyed. He…


(241 words)

Author(s): Moser-Achuthath, Heike
[German Version] is the name of a classical dance style from the northeast Indian state of Orissa. Oḍissi mirrors the dancing figures of the temples of Bhubaneshwar, Puri, and Konarak (10th to 13th cent.) and is based on the praxis of certain (female) temple dancers (Devadāsī/Māhārī) still current, as well as on the “acrobatic” Gotipua tradition of dancing boys wearing women’s clothes. Today Oḍissi ranks almost as high as Bharata Nāṭyam, which originated in South India and was elevated to becom…

Odo of Cluny (Saint)

(187 words)

Author(s): Barone, Giulia
[German Version] (c. 879 – Nov 18, 942, Tours). After spending several years at the court of Duke William of Aquitaine, Odo, born to a noble family, entered the canonry of St. Martin’s in Tours and then studied with Remigius of Auxerre in Paris. At the age of 30, he entered the abbey of Baume-les-Messieurs at the western edge of the French Jura, founded by Berno, who later became the first abbot of Cluny. After Berno’s death, Odo succeeded him as abbot of Cluny, Déols, and Massay. In the years that followed, as abbot of Cluny – and with the support of popes and Alberic, the princeps of Rome – he fou…

Oecolampadius, John

(563 words)

Author(s): Jung, Martin H.
[German Version] (actually Häuschen/Heusgen;name Graecized from Haus-Schein, “House-light”; 1482, Weinsberg–Nov 24, 1531, Basel), Humanist who came ¶ on his mother’s side from Basel, and became Basel’s (Basel) most important reformer. From 1499 he studied philosophy, law, and theology in Heidelberg, where he was influenced by J. Wimpfeling among others, and in Bologna; from 1506 to 1508 he worked in Mainz as princes’ tutor. In 1510 he was ordained priest and occupied the office of preacher in Weinsberg. After le…


(188 words)

Author(s): Groote, Marc De
[German Version] ( Oikoumenios; 6th cent.), author of the first continuous Greek commentary on Revelation, which he explains in a purely allegorical manner (Allegory). That work, which existed in part as early as the 7th century in a Syriac translation, was used by Andrew of Caesarea, and especially by Arethas of Caesarea. Oecumenius also wrote some scholia (Scholium) on the Pauline homilies of J. Chrysostom. Between the 8th and 10th centuries these became part of a catena on Paul’s letters (CPG 4,…

Oertzen, Jasper von

(182 words)

Author(s): Knieling, Reiner
[German Version] (Aug 10, 1833, Rostock – Nov 14, 1893, Hamburg). After abandoning a career as an officer, and making an unsuccessful attempt at farming, v. Oertzen had a meeting with J.H. Wichern in Berlin in 1868 which was an important influence on the rest of his life. In 1870 he became head of the Rauhes Haus (institution for boys with behavioral problems) in Hamburg-Horn. Subsequently he became director of the newly founded Hamburg City Mission (1875–1884). At the same time he was director of…

Oetinger, Friedrich Christoph

(394 words)

Author(s): Ehmer, Hermann
[German Version] (May 2 or 6, 1702, Göppingen – Feb 10, 1782, Murrhardt), son of a town clerk. Oetinger attended the monastic schools of Blaubeuren and Bebenhausen, then from 1722 to 1727 studied theology at Tübingen. From 1731 to 1738, with intervals of travel, he was a tutor at the Tübingen Stift (Tübingen: II). He became a pastor in 1738 in Hirsau, in 1743 in Schnaitheim, in 1746 in Waldorf; then dean in 1752 in Weinsberg, in 1759 in Herrenberg, and in 1766 prelate in Murrhardt. Oetinger’s earl…

Oettingen, Alexander Konstantin von

(155 words)

Author(s): Christophersen, Alf
[German Version] (Dec 12, 1827, Wissust, Livonia – Aug 20, 1906, Dorpat), Protestant theologian; 1856–1890 full professor of sys-¶ tematic theology in Dorpat. In addition to numerous shorter occasional writings ( Ueber akuten und chronischen Selbstmord, 1881) and a traditionally oriented outline of dogmatics ( Lutherische Dogmatik, 3 vols., 1897–1902), it is Oettingen’s lasting merit to have coined the term social ethics in his work Die Moralstatistik und die christliche Sittenlehre. Versuch einer Socialethik auf empirischer Grundlage (2 vols., 1868, 1873; 3rd ed. 1882 …

Offering Bag

(369 words)

Author(s): Sporbeck, Gudrun
[German Version] I. Liturgy – II. Art History I. Liturgy The offering bag is used during worship to collect alms for the charitable outreach of the church. Its use is based on the Early Church practice of alms or oblations (Mass) offered by members of the congregation during the offertory (Collections: II). In the churches of the Reformation, deacons were chosen to collect alms in the offering bag after the sermon; the bags were kept in the “common chest” and later distributed by the deacons to the poor o…


(1,531 words)

Author(s): Ruff, Anthony William
[German Version] I. Liturgy – II. Music I. Liturgy The offertory is the point in the liturgy of the Eucharist when the offerings are received and the altar is prepared for the eucharistic liturgy (Eucharist). The offerings include bread and wine for the communion service, and typically money (Collections) for the church and the poor. This offering of money was not emphasized in the Early Church; Justin, for instance, says only that the bread and wine are brought in. Tertullian und Hippolytus tell of the …


(9,171 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Rüterswörden, Udo | Burtchaell, James Tunstead | Lips, Hermann von | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Early Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Church History – VI. Systematic Theology – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Law – IX. Missiology I. Religious Studies Over the course of history, the word office has been used for a wide variety of functions. In every case, however, what is peculiar to the term is that it refers to an activity independent of the unique personal characteristics of the officeholder. In the context of religious studies, what first comes to mind is the office…

Office, Removal from

(164 words)

Author(s): Pirson, Dietrich
[German Version] As a rule, a church office is conferred for an unlimited time and cannot be withdrawn, since the task associated with the office is perceived as essentially long-term. Therefore, loss of office is considered in church law to be permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Catholic church law lists as such situations renuntiatio, translatio, amotio, and privatio (cf. CIC cc. 184–196). The relevant law of the Protestant churches relating to ministers recognizes, in addition to loss of office on the basis of a decision in the course of chu…

Official Assistance

(172 words)

Author(s): Wall, Heinrich de
[German Version] is the support that one authority gives in individual cases to another at the latter’s request to enable it to perform its tasks, for example by granting sight of files, aid resources, etc. Official assistance given by a judicial act is called legal assistance. In Germany, according to article 35/I of the Basic Law, all federal and regional authorities are bound to give mutual legal and official assistance. However, this does not affect the churches unless they are exceptionally p…
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