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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Ohm, Thomas

(194 words)

Author(s): Collet, Giancarlo
[German Version] (Oct 18, 1892, Westerholt, Westphalia – Sep 25, 1962, Süchteln, Lower Rhine), OSB from 1912, missiologist. Ohm gained his doctorate in Munich in 1924, his Habilitation in Salzburg in 1927, and in 1932 became associate professor of missiology in Würzburg. In 1941 he was prohibited from lecturing; from 1946 to 1961 he was professor of missiology in Münster. For many years Ohm’s responsibilities included chairmanship of the International Institute for Mission Studies and editorship of the Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft. In 1960 he…

Oikonomos, Constantinos

(299 words)

Author(s): Papaderos, Alexandros
[German Version] (full name: Κωνσταντῖνος Οἰκονόμος ὁ ἐξ Οἰκονόμων; Aug 27, 1780, Tsaritsani, Thessaly - Mar 8, 1857, Athens), Greek Orthodox cleric; one of the most highly educated teachers, most gifted ¶ preachers, and most powerful clerics and church politicians of his time. The ecumenical patriarch Gregory V honored him by summoning him in 1820 from Smyrna to be preacher in Constantinople, but in 1821 he was obliged to flee to Odessa and Petersburg, where he remained until 1832. Because of his high reputation he enjoyed th…

O’Keeffe, Georgia

(150 words)

Author(s): Vinzent, Jutta
[German Version] (Nov 15, 1887, Sun Prairie, WI – Mar 6, 1986, Santa Fe, NM), one of the most outstanding American painters of her century, and not only because her career, in the course of which she produced almost 1,300 works, lasted about 60 years. Her art, a distinctive mixture of abstraction and organic forms based on nature studies, celebrates sensual sublimity (e.g. Jack-in-the-Pulpit, no. IV, 1930, National Gallery of Art, Washington). O’Keeffe was influenced by American trends (Arthur Dove’s organic abstractions and Tonalists), as is emphasized in …

O’Kelly, James

(164 words)

Author(s): Wigger, John H.
[German Version] (c. 1735, Ireland or Virginia – Oct 16, 1826, Chatham County, NC). O’Kelly was converted to Methodism at a Methodist meeting around 1774. After serving from 1778 as an itinerant Methodist preacher in Virginia and North Carolina, he was ordained an elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784. Although he had little formal education, O’Kelly was a gifted and popular preacher, and built up a large following in southern Virginia. In 1792 he left the Methodist Episcopal Church beca…


(7 words)

[German Version] Occam, William of


(203 words)

Author(s): Wildt, Karin
[German Version] (Gk ὀκτώηχος, “Book of eight tones”), also Paracleticē (Liturgical books: II). In the Orthodox liturgy, for each of the eight church tones (ἤχοι/ ḗchoi) a cycle of texts is prescribed for all Sundays and weekdays; it begins on the second Sunday after Easter and continues to the fifth Sunday of the Great Fast. It provides for each weekday a fresh theme in each tone, Sundays being devoted to the theme “Resurrection.” These texts form the main contents of the Octoechos. Octoechos also denotes this time, w…

Olcott, Henry Steel

(294 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (Aug 2, 1832, Orange, NJ – Feb 17, 1907, Adyar near Madras). Olcott grew up in a Presbyterian family. As a young man he turned to spiritualist circles (Spiritualism). Following a career as a journalist (from 1853), he was an agricultural expert, an officer of the Union in the American Civil War (1861–1865), and an attorney (from 1868). In 1875, he, together with H.P. Blavatsky, founded in New York the ¶ Theosophical Society (Theosophy) for scientific research into paranormal experiences. Two additional aims appeared later: to spread in the West the “…

Old Age

(1,684 words)

Author(s): Greschat, Hans-Jürgen | Eibach, Ulrich | Failing, Wolf-Eckart
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Secular society distinguishes different periods in a person’s personal and professional life; religions do much the same. Awareness of people’s age gives a sense of their capabilities and standing. Childhood and adulthood are lengthy periods in a person’s life. Two transitional stages (Rites of passage) are usually much shorter: they serve to prepare young people for adulthood and the elderly for their death. Rituals signal the transition to …

Old Believers, Russian

(566 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] I. The believers who, from 1653, were expelled from the Great Church because of their rejection of the liturgical reforms of the Moscow patriarch Nikon, gathered in their own communities in order to maintain the Old Russian forms of devotion laid down by the Moscow Hundred Chapter Synod of 1551. The authorities first called them “schismatics” (Raskol’niki), and later “Old Ritualists,” while for the people they were the Old Believers. They did not contest the necessity for correcti…

Old Calendarians

(179 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] (Palaiohemerologites) is the name given to the opponents of change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian system in the Church of Greece from Mar 10 to 23, 1924, which happened under state pressure. They understand themselves, however, as the “true Orthodox Christians” who stand for the maintenance of tradition in its entirety. Individual circles quickly grew into a church organization which since 1932 worships in its own buildings, and since the accession of three bishops in 1…

Old Catholics

(1,745 words)

Author(s): Oeyen, Christian
[German Version] I. Origins – II. History – III. Today I. Origins At various time, members of the Roman Catholic Church resisting papal centralism have been censured by the church. Organized on the national level in their own local churches, they consider themselves Catholics in historical continuity with the old, undivided church of the 1st millennium. They emphasize the dynamic character of their ecclesiastical organization and its orientation toward the Catholic church as a whole and the unity of all Christians. The term Old Catholics, dating from 1870, is used primarily in …

Oldenbarnevelt, Johan van

(326 words)

Author(s): Klueting, Harm
[German Version] (Sep 25, 1547, Amersfoort – May 13, 1619, The Hague), Netherlands politician. In 1585 he supported the appointment of Maurits of Orange as governor of Holland and Zeeland. From 1586 he was a council official of the province of Holland. From 1587, he worked with Maurits for the consolidation of the republic of the United Netherlands, and in 1609 negotiated the 12-year truce with Spain. Oldenbarnevelt took the side of the Arminians and the Remonstration of 1610, and in foreign polic…


(1,568 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Rolf
[German Version] I. Territory – II. History – III. Statistics I. Territory The territory of Oldenburg was absorbed in 1946 into the Land of Lower Saxony, but within the structures of the Protestant and Catholic churches, it retains more or less the boundaries of the duchy of Oldenburg determined by the Congress of Vienna (Vienna, Congress of), comprising the administrative districts of Friesland, Wesermarsch, Ammerland, Oldenburg, Cloppenburg, and Vechta, and the independent cities of Wilhelmshaven, Oldenburg, and Delmenhorst. II. History 1. Middle Ages. At the behest of Char…

Oldenburg, Bishopric

(242 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Heinrich
[German Version] Oldenburg (in Holstein), Slavonic Starigard, was in the early Middle Ages a Slavic power center in Wagria, where Slavic people had settled. Known in German as Aldinburg, it was a bishop’s seat from 968 (suffragan of Hamburg-Bremen). The founding of the bishopric, in the course of the Slavic mission of Otto the Great, was not able to survive the pagan Slavic uprisings from 983. The renewal of the bishopric in Oldenburg by the Christian Abodrite prince Gottschalk, around 1060, also …

Oldendorp, Johannes

(317 words)

Author(s): Pettke, Sabine
[German Version] (between 1480 and 1490, Hamburg – Jun 3, 1567, Marburg), lawyer. Oldendorp studied from 1504 to 1516 in Rostock, Cologne, and Bologna. Lic.iur. 1516 in Bologna, from 1517 academic teacher in Greifswald, 1520 in Frankfurt an der Oder. 1518 Dr.iur.caes. (not utriusque) in Greifswald, where he was also full professor from 1521. From 1526 to 1534 he was Rostock council’s legal administrator, and a supporter of the Reformation. From 1534 to 1536 he was a lawyer in Wullenwever and legal…

Oldham, Joseph Houldsworth

(362 words)

Author(s): Clements, Keith
[German Version] (Oct 10, 1874, Bombay – May 16, 1969, St. Leonards-on-Sea, England), ecumenical pioneer (Ecumene). As a student at Oxford, Oldham was drawn into the evangelical student mission movement, and went on to serve the Young Men’s Christian Association in Lahore (Punjab) for three years. After theological studies at Edinburgh and Halle an der Saale, he worked as missions educator in the Free Church of Scotland. J.R. Mott recruited him as organizing secretary for the World Missionary Conf…

Old Lights

(173 words)

Author(s): Wallace, Peter
[German Version] is the name given to those Congregational ministers and parish communities in New England that opposed the Great Awakening (Revival/Revival movements: II) of the 1730s and 1740s, associated with G. Whitefield and J. Edwards. The Old Lights proper, such as C. Chauncy and James Dana, tended towards moderatism and Unitarianism, and should be distinguished from the Old Calvinists, such as Moses Mather, who tried to maintain traditional Reformed orthodoxy in the face of the Pietism of …

Old Lutherans

(1,102 words)

Author(s): Klän, Werner
[German Version] I. “Old Lutherans” is a collective term for a group of churches that originated in the 19th century as free Lutheran confessional churches. Three phases and motivational threads of their origin can be distinguished: 1. Defense against state-compelled unification of the Lutheran and Reformed churches (“Union”); this ¶ applies to Prussia (1830) – the term “Old Lutheran” was first coined with a polemical intention in reference to Prussia –, Nassau (1846), and Baden (1852). 2. Rejection of the regional church authorities’ toleratio…

Old Prussian Union

(151 words)

Author(s): Mehlhausen, Joachim
[German Version] After the end of church rule by sovereign princes, the Evangelical Regional Church of the older Prussian provinces became the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union. It existed from 1922 to 1953. The term “Old Prussian” expressed the fact that the territories added to Prussia after 1864/1866 (Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Electoral Hesse, Nassau, Frankfurt am Main) had not been included in the Prussian Union. Old Prussian church provinces were: Prussia (from 1877: East and We…

Old Testament

(248 words)

Author(s): Waschke, Ernst-Joachim
[German Version] The term “Old Testament” reflects the New Testament perspective on the relation of Christianity to the sacred scriptures of Judaism and the tradition common to the two religions, found in the collection of God’s revelations and instructions to Israel, its experiences in history, and its reactions to God’s revealed will, handed down in the three-part canon of Torah, Prophets, and Writings. This triple division is also reflected in the artificially constructed word TaNaK, abbreviated from the initial letters of Torah (תוֹרָה, instruction), Neviʾim (נְבִיאִים, prop…
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