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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(646 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Burkhard
[German Version] The passion play and Easter play were medieval precursors of (religious) opera, but the development of opera in the form that lives on today was closely related to classical mythology, a product of the late Renaissance view of music in ancient Greece as an artistic synthesis involving language, movement, and stage scenery. While Jacopo Peri’s Dafne (1598) and Euridice (1600, in collaboration with Giulio Caccini) made a beginning, other northern Italian composers were experimenting with cantata-like forms. The real beginning of opera dates from C. Monteverdi’s Orfeo…

Operation Mobilisation

(142 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Klaus
[German Version] Operation Mobilisation (OM) was founded in the United States in the 1950s and has been active in Europe and around the world since the 1970s. On the basis of its Evangelical missionary theology, it defines its task as spreading the gospel and encouraging young Christians to evangelize (Evangelism). This takes place primarily in short-term missionary outreach programs, in which young people are placed in various countries, or on OM’s own “mission ships.” In longer outreach programs…


(209 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] is a semilegendary land of gold, reachable by ship from Elath (1 Kgs 9:28; 10:11; 22:49). According to Gen 10:29 (post-P), which makes Ophir a “son of Joktan” and a “brother of Havilah” (Hā’il or the Nufũd desert?), it was probably on the western coast of Arabia; the alternative Punt (Somalia) is based on the catalogue of trade goods in 1 Kgs 10:22, including ivory and apes, but Ophir may also have been a transfer station for the transport of Somali goods. In the mid-10th century bce, gold was mined in the vicinity of Medina. The gold of Ophir was proverbial (Isa 1…


(159 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[German Version] The Ophites, a Gnostic Christian sect, are first mentioned in Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata (VII 17.108[2]). The name probably derives from their worship of the serpent in paradise, which conveys salutary knowledge of the transcendent God. Origen ( Cels. VI 24–38) attributes to the group the diagram cited by Celsus, but doubts that Ophites still exist (Hippolytus ignores the sect in Haer. VIII 20.3). Their spiritual father is said to have been Euphrates (called Perat in Hipp. Haer. V 13.9); they would curse Jesus. According to Theodoret, who equates the…

Ophrah (in Benjamin)

(191 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (עָפְרָה; cf. for the meaning of the name ʿ āpār, “dust,” or more probably ‘ oper, “young deer, gazelle kid”), mentioned in Josh 18:23 in the list of places belonging to Benjamin. However, Ophrah lies beyond the northern frontier of Benjamin ( Josh 18:12f.) and has probably entered the place list from 2 Chr 13:19 (ʿ eprōn), plausibly identified with eṭ-Ṭayyibe (eudemonism because of the echo of the Canaanite Ephron with Arab. ʿ ifrīt, “goblin”), and matching details given by Jerome (5 Roman miles north of Bethel); probably to be identified with Aph…

Ophrah (in Manasseh)

(146 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] was home town and residence of the Abiezrite chieftain Gideon (Judg 6:11), where he used booty taken from the Midianites to build ¶ a sanctuary (Judg 8:27, in contrast to 8:22f.: the act of a ruler). Its identification within the territory of the clan of Abiezer (from the 10th/9th cent. bce Manasseh territory), well outlined in the Samaria ostraca (Samaria), depends on how one defines the clan’s relation to the town of Shechem: whether as close as possible (Donner: Tell Ṣōfar), or as distant as possible (Knauf: Ḡinṣāfūṭ Gan-[ha]S̄opeṭ). Ernst Axel Knauf Bibliograp…

Opitz, Martin

(326 words)

Author(s): Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] (Dec 23, 1597, Bunzlau, Silesia – Aug 20, 1639, Danzig), late Humanist poet and diplomat. Opitz studied jurisprudence and philosophy in Frankfurt an der Oder (1618) and Heidelberg (1619), and in 1620 fled, at the approach of Spanish troops, to the Netherlands; in 1621 he moved to Jutland, in 1622 he was a teacher in Weissenburg, Transylvania (Alba Iulia, Romania), in 1623 counselor at the court of the dukes of Liegnitz and Brieg, in 1625 crowned poeta laureatus, between 1626 and 1632 diplomat in the service of Karl Hannibal, count of Dohna, a Catholic impe…

Oppenheim, Moritz Daniel

(418 words)

Author(s): Merk, Anton
[German Version] (Jan 12, 1800, Hanau – Feb 26, 1882, Frankfurt am Main). Oppenheim, the son of a Jewish tradesman, spent his childhood in the seclusion of the Hanau ghetto. He received his artistic training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he was one of the earliest artists to work with lithography, and in the atelier of Jean Baptist Regnault in Paris. His stay in Rome, Florence, and Naples from 1821 to 1825 left its mark on all his later work. The major works he completed in Italy include the Vertreibung der Hagar (1824/1826) and Die Heimkehr des jungen Tobias (1823). In 1825 Oppen…

Optatus of Milevis

(282 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich
[German Version] Between 364 and 367, Optatus, an African bishop, wrote a treatise against the schismatic Donatists (Donatism), who had regained their strength as a result of the religious policies of Julian ¶ the Apostate. Initially his work comprised six books with an appended dossier of relevant documents, in response to a work by Parmenianus, the Donatist bishop of Carthage. During the pontificate of Siricius, Optatus added a seventh book. His argument was both historical and theological: in his polemical and apologetic rec…

Optatus of Thamugadi

(7 words)

[German Version] Donatism

Optimism and Pessimism

(1,311 words)

Author(s): Gilhus, Ingvild Sœlid | Zenkert, Georg
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Optimism (from Lat. optimus, “best”) and pessimism (from Lat. pessimum, “worst”) are used in the history of religions to characterize attitudes towards the world and this life. Some religions (e.g. Judaism) are described as having an optimistic view of life, while others have been characterized as pessimistic, as for instance religions which originated in India in the 7th to 5th centuries bce: Upanishadic religions (Upanisạds), Jainism, and Buddhism. Also Neoplatonism and Gnostic varieties …

Optina Pustyn’

(285 words)

Author(s): Hagemeister, Michael
[German Version] (Russ. “Hermitage of Opta”), an Orthodox monastery near Kozel’sk (Kaluga region) on the banks of the Zhizdra. It was founded in the 15th century, and for a long time had no great importance, but in the early 19th century it was reformed by followers of Paisius Velichkovsky in the spirit of ascetic renewal. The foundation of a colony of hermits ( skit) near the monastery made it a center for startsy (Starets). The startsy of Optina Pustyn’, of whom Leonid/Lev (1768–1841), Makarii (1788–1860) and Amvrosii became famous, were distinguished by their world-…


(347 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] For persons standing on the ground of the (externally or personally chosen) realized situation of their own personhood, in their pragmatic present, there are still determinations of their own being to be made, and in each case they must make a choice. It is always a matter of effective physical behaviors (Action), in accordance with physical and social rules of effectivity. Options are those selectable behaviors of which the function is known, and the effect foreseeable. They can …

Opus Dei

(548 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (“God’s Work,” officially: Praelatura personalis Sanctae Crucis et Operis Dei), is one of the most influential and at the same time most controversial institutions within the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1928 in Madrid by the Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (Saint, 1902–1975) as an association for laymen (in 1930 a strictly separate women’s branch was founded), for the sanctification of work and the Christianization of society; in 1941 it was approved as pia unio. In order to have their own clergy, the “Priestly Society of the Holy Cros…


(1,534 words)

Author(s): Vollmer, Ulrich | Hutter, Manfred | Wandrey, Irina | Egelhaaf-Gaiser, Ulrike
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History of Religion I. Religious Studies The term “oracle,” derived from the Latin noun oraculum, denotes, (1) in close connection with the original meaning of the word, the oracle site, i.e. the place at which a divine statement ( orare, “to speak”) was communicated to a person (see II, 3 below); (2) also common in ancient usage, the oracular statement itself; (3) the oracle as an institution; (4) in individual cases also a specific person involved in issuing the oracle (e.g. the medium of Nechun…


(162 words)

Author(s): Strohm, Christoph
[German Version] In the southern French principality of Orange, which by inheritance had come to belong to the house of Nassau-Orange, the Reformation had taken an early hold. Orange, however, lost its sovereignty in the War of the Spanish Succession, and in 1703 Louis XIV issued a decree banning the Reformed church there. Those exiled for their faith, called Orangeois, mostly settled in Brandenburg-Prussia (Burg, Halberstadt, Magdeburg and Halle), after a temporary stay in Geneva or elsewhere in …

Orange Order

(268 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] The Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal organization founded in 1795 in the north of Ireland and dedicated to the victory of the English Protestant king William (from Orange in Holland) over the ¶ Roman Catholic James I at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690 (Ireland: II). The order arose at a time of particular tension in County Armagh when both Catholic agitation and Enlightenment thinking threatened the social and political dominance of Protestantism. It developed through the construction of lodges, the for…

Orange, Synod of

(297 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich
[German Version] On Jul 3, 529, on the occasion of a church dedication, Caesarius of Arles convoked a synod in the southern French city of Orange to consider the controversial doctrine of grace (Grace, Doctrine of) espoused by Augustine of Hippo. Not long before, a synod in Valence, in the diocese of Vienne, then a rival see to Arles, had dealt with the same topic. The Synod of Orange approved a document, presumably edited by Caesarius, comprising 25 canons framed by an introduction and a credal s…


(194 words)

Author(s): Arnulf, Arwed
[German Version] Orants, standing figures with arms raised and onstretched, appear in catacomb paintings and on sculpted sarcophagi in Late Antiquity; they also appear in various genres of the minor arts, depending on the primary iconographic theme. Pagan art had already used such figures to represent prayer; early Christian art employed them to symbolize powerful or salvific prayer, as in representations of Daniel in the lion’s den, Noah in the ark, and the young men in the fiery furnace. In cata…


(298 words)

Author(s): Pahl, Irmgard
[German Version] Latin oratio means “prayer” or “public speech.” In the Latin liturgical tradition, it means a prayer that obeys the stylistic rules of classical rhetoric, with a fixed structure: (1) invocation, (2) predication, (3) petition, (4) concluding formula, (5) congregational “amen.” In the Roman oratio, this structure is extremely concise; in the Gallican liturgy, however, it is often more expansive. Except in certain late forms, the oratio has always been addressed to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit (cf. the Council of Hippo …

Oratio Tone

(177 words)

Author(s): Praßl, Franz Karl
[German Version] The oratio tone is the model for the chant of the priest’s prayers in the name of the congregation, or liturgies, especially oratios (collects/prayer of the day, super oblata/prayer over the gifts, post communionem/concluding prayer/prayer of thanksgiving), in the broader sense also cantillation formulas for eucharistic prayers (esp. the preface, verba testamenti), the Paternoster etc. with the same structure and significance as reading tones. Cantillated prayers are the oldest form of liturgical communication in words; some autho…


(444 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] I. Oratorians of Saint Philip Neri – II. French Oratory I. Oratorians of Saint Philip Neri (Oratory of Divine Love, Congregation of the Oratory, Philippians, Institutum Oratorii S. Philippi Nerii), congregation of secular priests who lead a common life of prayer and pastoral ministry in the spirit of P. Neri, united only by bonds of mutual love, without vows and binding commitments (albeit under statutes approved in 1612). The congregation was founded in 1552 in the oratory of its founder’s commu…


(1,663 words)

Author(s): Massenkeil, Günther
[German Version] The oratorio (Ital., from Lat. oratorium) is a musical genre, generally an undramatized musical setting of a particular text, usually extensive and religious but not as a rule liturgical, distributed among several soloists or groups. The Latin word denotes both the musical form and, in the Roman Catholic Church, a consecrated liturgical space that is not a parish church (Eng. oratory). This usage points to the origins of the genre. Its roots go back to Catholic reforms after the Council of Trent, more specifically the spiritual exercises i…

Ordeal, Trial by

(1,373 words)

Author(s): Wißmann, Hans | Niehr, Herbert | Ogris, Werner
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Legal History I. Religious Studies Trial by ordeal is a means of decision-making as to the guilt or innocence of a suspect in legal cases where there is no available evidence or testimony, and where no guilty plea has been entered. In place of an oath, but in ¶ line with the inherent logic of the oath, a conditional self-curse was sometimes employed; this would apply in cases where, for example, a slave was disqualified from a hearing under oath, and a divine declaration of the truth was so…


(2,247 words)

Author(s): Kather, Regine | Sieckmann, Jan-R. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Law – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy The concept of order (Gk τάξις/ táxis, κόσμος/ kosmos; Lat. ordo) is employed in natural philosophy, epistemology, and cultural anthropology. It refers to an arrangement of elements that stand in a particular relationship to one other and form the structure of a larger whole. The concept of order is particularly fundamental to cosmology: for Hesiod, the genesis of the cosmos takes place within “theogony,” and for Plato ( Tim.) through the transition from an undifferentiated primal state to a w…

Order, German

(7 words)

[German Version] Teutonic Order

Orderic Vitalis

(143 words)

Author(s): Houts, Elisabeth van
[German Version] (1075, Atcham, England – 1141, Saint-Evroult, Normandy), son of Odelerius of Orléans and an Englishwoman. At the age of ten he was sent to the monastery of Saint-Evroult in Normandy, where he spent the rest of his life. His entire monastic career was devoted to the writing of history. His earliest work (c. 1109) was a revision of William of Jumièges’s Gesta Normannorum Ducum. His most important work is the monumental Historia Ecclesiastica, a chronicle that began as a local history of his monastery but developed into a wideranging history of Western E…

Order, Rules of a Religious

(393 words)

Author(s): Haering, Stephan
[German Version] These are the written rules for life in religious orders, recognized by the church. The names of such rules vary: Regula, Constitutiones, Consuetudines, Statuta, Formula vitae etc. The authors of the basic rules are usually the founders of an order or a monastery. Early rules were written by monastic fathers, for example Pachomius, Basil the Great, Benedict of Nursia, Columba; see also monasticism (III). When a monastery’s way of life was based on them, they were locally or regionally adapted over time and made more precise by supplementary ¶ normative texts. Benedict…

Orders, Catholic

(2,640 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] I. Concept and Definition – II. History – III. Membership I. Concept and Definition Orders are organized associations of religious communities. The constituent element of belonging to an order ( status religiosus) is a longterm commitment to a particularly close discipleship to Christ (Discipleship, Christian) to the glory of God, the edification of the church, and the salvation of the world ( CIC/1983, c. 573). This way of life is usually set (c. 575) by the evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection (Perfection, Counsels of; poverty, c…

Order, Supreme Ordinator of a Religious

(176 words)

Author(s): Haering, Stephan
[German Version] An unofficial title for the supreme leader ( Supremus Moderator) of centrally structured orders (e.g. Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits), secular institutes or societies of apostolic life. The ordinator is elected by the general chapter, in most orders for a limited term. Normally a minimum age and a minimum period of membership of the order are required. The ordinator has full power over the entire institute and its members, and represents it externally. In the performance of official duti…


(161 words)

Author(s): Rees, Wilhelm
[German Version] Resulting from the separation of functions required by the ecclesiastical lawgiver (e.g. CIC/1983 c.135; CCEO c. 985; Jurisdiction, Ecclesiastical), and alongside the diocesan court (Consistory), the ordinariate is the authority in the diocesan curia (cf. CIC/1983 cc. 469–494; CCEO cc. 243–263) which serves the administration of the diocese (also denoted general vicariate; Bishopric) under the direction of the vicar general (cf. CIC/1983 c. 475). Requirements include a chancellor, additional notaries as needed, a property adminstrator, and …


(167 words)

Author(s): Rees, Wilhelm
[German Version] in Catholic church law designates the bearer of regular power of governance (Jurisdiction). In addition to the pope, these include (cf. CIC/1983 c. 134 §1; CCEO c. 984) the diocesan bishops (III, 1), the regional prelates (I) and abbots, the vicars apostolic, prefects, and administrators, the military bishops, the head of a personal prelacy ( CIC/1983 c. 295 §1), as well as the vicars general and bishops’ vicars (not court vicars and officials); in addition, the interim leaders (e.g. diocesan administrator), the higher heads of clerical order institutes iuris pontifi…

Ordinary Time

(200 words)

Author(s): Praßl, Franz Karl
[German Version] Outside the cycle of Easter and Christmas festivals, the Roman liturgy had three formulas, each depending on the date of Easter, for measuring six possible Sundays after Epiphany (Epiphany: V), and 23 for 28 possible Sundays after Pentecost. In the Middle Ages they were numbered both “after Pentecost” (until 1970, Cath. use) and “after Trinity” (Trinity Sunday, Protestant use). All these ordinary (“ferial”) Sundays had the liturgical color (II) green and could be displaced by high…


(8,047 words)

Author(s): Hartenstein, Friedhelm | Sänger, Dieter | Peters, Christian | Brandt, Reinhard | Meßner, Reinhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Church History – IV. Dogmatics – V. Liturgy – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Law and Legal History – VIII. Judaism I. Old Testament The search, mainly from a Protestant perspective, for antecedents of ordination in the Old Testament does not seem very promising, since no direct equivalent to Christian ordination as public commissioning of office-bearers by the community is to be found in the Hebrew Bible. Relevant research is mainly limited to the OT Jewish background of…


(5 words)

[German Version] Consecration/Ordination/Dedication

Ordination and Post-Ordination Education and Training

(5,505 words)

Author(s): Bauer, Karl-Adolf | Rau, Stefan | Schneider, Johann | Pobee, John
[German Version] I. Early Church and Middle Ages – II. Protestantism (Germany) – III. Roman Catholic Church after Trent – IV. Orthodox Church – V. Non-Catholic Churches outside Germany I. Early Church and Middle Ages The New Testament contains scattered statements about the personal qualifications required of someone holding ministerial office in the church (e.g. 1 Tim 3:2–13; Tit 1:6–9) but says nothing about their training. Since the gospel implies understanding and address persons, the question of the theological education and…

Ordination of Priests

(830 words)

Author(s): Meßner, Reinhard | Plank, Peter
[German Version] 1. Catholic understanding. In Roman Catholic usage, the expression ordination of priests (or presbyters; Ordination: V, 1) reflects a specific, sacerdotal understanding of ecclesiastical office (VI, 3). The Christian priesthood is associated in the first instance with baptism (IV, 1). Postbaptismal anointing is the ritual sign of inclusion in the priestly people of God through participation in the priestly office of Christ. In the Roman tradition in particular, this anointing has always been associated with…


(414 words)

Author(s): Foley, Edward B.
[German Version] The term ordo was borrowed from Roman law and civil administration and acquired various ecclesial, liturgical meanings within Christianity. Already in Tertullian ( De exhortatione castitatis, 7) ordo refers to clergy, distinguishing them from laity ( plebs). In subsequent centuries ordo is used for denoting different categories of the ordained (e.g. ordo episcoporum). Later ordo is employed to designate various Christian rituals, ritual segments or ritual arrangements. The term thus appears through canon 4 of the Council of Braga (56…

Ordo Romanus Primus

(287 words)

Author(s): Klöckener, Martin
[German Version] (OR I), the oldest liturgical order of the pope’s mass within the stational liturgy in the city of Rome (late 7th/early 8th cent.), transmitted in two versions. The title in the manuscripts runs Incipit ordo ecclesiastici ministerii romanae ecclesiae vel qualiter missa caelebratur, with variations (modern title from eds. such as J. Mabillon, 1689; M. Andrieu, 1948). OR I is one of the early medieval sources called ordo (Ordo/Ordines). OR I is a complex description of procedure (without prayer texts) with a clear structure (opening – ministry of the…

Ordo Salutis

(1,102 words)

Author(s): Marquardt, Manfred | Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics The focus of the problems addressed by the Protestant doctrine of ordo salutis is the relationship between the action of God’s grace ( gratia dei applicatrix) and the human experience of salvation. Based on the Reformers’ doctrine of justification but also going beyond it, it describes the working of the Holy Spirit or God’s grace in the life of the justified believer in all its unity and diversity. The beginnings of the doctrine are already visible in the Augsburg Confession of 1530 ( CA 6 and 12) and – in greater detail – in the…


(2,126 words)

Author(s): Kreuzhuber, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Construction – II. History of Organ Building – III. History of Organ Music I. Construction The organ (Gk ὄργανον/ órganon, Lat. organum, “instrument”), originally used in amphitheaters and temples, was already considered a status symbol by the Roman emperors. Because of the way its sound is generated, the organ is classified as an aeropohone. A bellows or fan produces air under pressure (“wind”), which is channeled into windchests. The pipes on the windchests are arranged by design (flue pipes and r…

Organ, Chamber

(255 words)

Author(s): Menger, Reinhardt
[German Version] A chamber organ is a positive organ (from Lat. ponere, “to place, to position”), in contrast to a portative organ (from Lat. portare, “to carry”). During the Middle Ages, positive and portative organs developed in parallel with full-sized organs. A positive organ is a small organ, not permanently installed, with several ranks of pipes (stops). Such instruments were used in churches, halls, houses, processions, and after 1600 in the theater. In the first centuries of their existence, they needed two peo…

Organic Articles

(7 words)

[German Version] Napoleonic Era


(377 words)

Author(s): Finke, Christian
[German Version] As generally understood, an organist is someone who plays the musical instrument known as the organ (cf. pianist, harpsichordist), also, in a more specialized sense, the name of an unprotected profes-¶ sion (Cantor and organist, church musician [Church music: VII]). Organists may play portative and chamber organs, as well as electronic organs, harmoniums, and other keyboard instruments. The building and playing of organs, with their specific styles and historical development, also determine the public image of the organist within and outside the church. Although…


(1,260 words)

Author(s): Schweitzer, Friedrich
[German Version] I. Social Sciences – II. Social Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Social Sciences Organization in the broadest sense refers to the activity of ordering, arranging, administering, etc., and in the sense of self-organization, autopoiesis, etc. the process by which systemic structures develop, including in nature or in the field of natural science. As a sociological and economic concept, organization denotes an insti-¶ tution that is characterized by specific features or elements. Mention is frequently made of defined membership, predetermined…

Organ Mass

(482 words)

Author(s): Riedel, Friedrich W.
[German Version] 1. The Alternatim Mass (to the 19th cent.). From the late Middle Ages, cathedrals and minsters were furnished with organs in order to accompany the liturgy of the hours ( Officium) and mass on the Sundays and holidays not belonging to the Advent and Lenten seasons. In alternation with the plainchant of the convent, the Kyrie , Gloria , Sanctus , and Agnus Dei of the Ordinarium Missae were played on them. With the spread of the printing of sheets of music, whole cycles of Alternatim Masses came into existence (Giovanni Cavazzoni, 1543; Claudio Mer…

Organ Reform Movement

(296 words)

Author(s): Kasling, Kim R.
[German Version] The Organ Reform Movement ( Orgelbewegung) had certain antecedents in mid-19th century Germany, but was really begun with A. Schweitzer’s Deutsche und französische Orgelbaukunst (1906). Following this, G. Ramin, H.H. Jahn, C. Mahrenholz, W. Guerlitt and others advocated organ-building principles based on organs of D. Buxtehude and J.S. Bach’s time, primarily those built by A. Schnitger. An early example is the Praetorius organ of 1921, built by Oskar Walker at University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau. Interes…

Organs/Parts of the Body

(1,196 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Religious traditions know various ways of establishing correlations between the organs (or parts) of the human body and the cosmos, partly in combination with a mythological justification that views the world as having been created from the parts of the first human being’s body. Thus, hair may symbolize vegetation, eyes (and other bodily orifices) lakes, and the spinal column the axis of the world. In addition to such correlations between microcosm (human being) and macrocosm (wor…


(399 words)

Author(s): Flotzinger, Rudolf
[German Version] is a collective term for early forms of polyphonic (primarily two-part) chant (Chant and song: III) in the Western church. The word organum goes back to Gk ὄργανον/ órganon and refers to the harmonically satisfying relationship between the vox principalis (from the chant [Choral) and the newly added vox organalis. The development of organum can identified in musical theory as early as the late 9th century and then later in practice. Its roots go back to singing to a bourdon (an unvarying “fundamental” drone below the actual melody; cf. the ison of modern Gk liturgical …

Orientalism Controversy

(253 words)

Author(s): Wild, Stefan
[German Version] The Orientalism controversy started with Edward W. Said’s book Orientalism(1978). As a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University. Said, of Palestinian origin, became a leading representative of postcolonial criticism. Influenced by the methods of M. Foucault, he criticized British and French academic works on the Middle East. He argued that, by constructing a never-changing, mysterious, and essentialized “Orient,” oriental studies in the late 19th century had become tools …

Oriental Orthodox National Churches

(253 words)

Author(s): Tamcke, Martin
[German Version] The oriental Orthodox churches include the Coptic Orthodox Church (its pope resides in Cairo [Copts: I]), the Syrian Orthodox Church (with its own catholicosate in India; seat of the patriarch in Damascus [Syria; Malenkara Church]), the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (seat in Addis Ababa [Ethiopian Orthodox Church]), the Armenian Apostolic Church (seat of the catholicos in Etchmiadzin; for the Western Armenians in Antelias [Armenia: II]), the Indian Malenkara ¶ Church (seat of the catholicos in Kottayam), and the Malabar Independent Syrian Chur…

Oriental Studies

(664 words)

Author(s): Röllig, Wolfgang
[German Version] Oriental studies (Ger. Orientalistik) is the name given to the group of disciplines that have as their purpose the investigation of the languages, cultures, and religions of the Orient or East (Orient and Occident). The Orient is subdivided into the Middle East (the lands from the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush), South Asia (primarily the Indian subcontinent; India), and the Far East or East Asia (China, Indochina, Korea, Japan). Oriental studies emerged after the Reformation with the study of the Old Testament and the Hebrew language; it also had…

Orient and Occident

(1,016 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. The Cliché – II. The Classical Paradigms I. The Cliché 1. The words Orient and Occident (“the rising/setting sun”; Lat. ortus/occasus, Gk ἀνατολή/ anatolē/ δύσις/ dýsis) denote either (a) an East (cf. Matt 2:1: “Magi from the East”; also Anatolia/Turkey) or West (cf. the Hesperides), always relative, or (b) a geographical fiction, a construct of “mythic geography,” an ideological stereotype. The administrative language of the Roman Empire was clearer. After the reorganization of the Empire by Diocletian, the praefectus praetorio per Orientem (there was no analogous term for the West) governed the dioceses Oriens (including Palestine, Phoenicia, and Arabia), Egypt, Asia Minor, and Thrace, including the small district called Europa. Following this structure, the division of the Empire in 395 divided the Latin-speaking population from the Greek-speaking population. Classical Greece (the province of Achaea) thus became part of the Orient. A gold coin of Theodosius II dated 437 bears the legend: Salus Orientis Felicitas Occidentis. The Christian churches adopted the division and…

Orientation (Prayer and Architecture)

(326 words)

Author(s): Raschzok, Klaus
[German Version] denotes both the direction of prayer in the Early Church and the alignment of church buildings (Church building) towards the rising sun (see also Orientation; Sun: V, 1). The direction of prayer to the east, at first independent of the architectural structure of the church building, and understood as turning to the risen and ascended Christ, only disappeared in the Middle Ages. Monumental church structures were from the beginning set up on the east-west axis. Alongside the eastern…

Orientation (Space Perception)

(642 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria
[German Version] The concept of orientation of objects, persons, buildings, movements, etc. to the east (Lat. oriens; Orientation [Prayer and architecture]), is used in religious studies with regard to representations and conceptions of space and time, but also in reference to religious actions and religious behavior. Orientation is predefined in each worldview that is constituted and mediated by a religious symbolic system. Various reference patterns provide orientation in any given religious context. The orie…

Orient-or-Rome Issue

(396 words)

Author(s): Jäggi, Carola
[German Version] Increased research by art historians in the 19th century into Christian monuments in the former Eastern Roman Empire led to an increasing weakening of the previously held academic ¶ view that Rome was the cradle and creative center of early Christian art. The leading representative of the “new” thesis, according to which the “Hellenistic orient” – Constantinople, Asia Minor, and not least Mesopotamia – had a greater influence on the early art of the Christians, was the art historian and archaeologist Josef Strzygowski (1862–1941). His book Orient oder Rom. Beiträge…


(3,010 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph
[German Version] I. Life – II. Works – III. Theology (c. 185/186 Alexandria – c. 253/254) I. Life In reconstructing the life of Origen, we must rely on information given by his grandson and pupil Eusebius of Caesarea ( Hist. eccl. VI 1–39). The relevant portions of the Apology for Origen of Pamphilus of Caesarea (CPG 1, 1715) were not translated into Latin by Tyrannius Rufinus and have been lost with the Greek original, but certain statements by Jerome, Rufinus, and Photius of Constantinople (Bibl.…


(2,206 words)

Author(s): Perrone, Lorenzo
[German Version] Origenism is a complex phenomenon, since the response to Origen’s works and ideas came from many sources; it arose initially from the Judeo-Christian tradition of Alexandria, where the exegetical heritage of Philo of Alexandria played a leading role. This Alexandrian tradition also incorporated certain ideas from pagan philosophy, Platonism in particular, following the lead of Philo and Clement of Alexandria…

Origenist Controversies

(829 words)

Author(s): Perrone, Lorenzo
[German Version] The person and work of Origen were already controversial during his lifetime. After his death, while the reception of his work con…

Original Sin

(1,742 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto | Böttigheimer, Christoph
[German Version] I. Definition – II. Catholic Theology – III. Protestant Theology I. Definition The term original sin generally denotes the sinfulness or fault inherent in human beings prior to anything they do. In the Christian tradition, original sin can be understood as the source of all morally evil actions; it can also mean inherited guilt per se. As an inherent force, original sin differs from sinful acts. The distinction remains debatable, however, because without further qualification it calls into question the unitary characterization of sin …

Original State

(3,622 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Arneth, Martin | Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Myths of an original state are usually associated with cosmogonic and anthropogonic (Anthropogony) myths concerning the origins of the world, life, animals, and human beings, for the original state refers to a primal age (Protology) before all time, falling between creation and history. Many religious traditions describe a harmonious, even paradisal eon when humans or (sometimes theriomorphic) protohumans were “still” in d…

Origin of the World, On the (NHC II, 5; XIII, 2; OW)

(167 words)

Author(s): Bethge, Hans-Gebhard
[German Version] a Gnostic tractate or treatise of the late 3rd or early 4th century, supposed to have been written in Alexandria. It is extant only in a Coptic translation, and belongs to no known school. It is marked by the criteria of ancient rhetoric, and has no title. Following a prologue, it contains long descriptions, especially of primeval times (theogony, cosmogony, events from Gen 1–3), and the end times, viewed apocalyptically. It is based on numero…


(1,438 words)

Author(s): Horyna, Břetislav | Wesche, Tilo | Zachhuber, Johannes
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy – III. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies The origins (Ger. Ursprung) of something are an event or a set of events which, as a cause and in causal relationship with one another, constitute the initial shape of further events that ensue from the origins. Accordingly, the concept of origins must be understood on two levels of explication: (1) origins as a temporal conception in which the chronological beginning as well as the chronological proximity of origins and…

Origins of Religion

(10 words)

[German Version] Primitive Religion Traditional Religion


(185 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Gerhard Philipp
[German Version] is a French city on the Loire (Département Loiret). The Gallo-Roman foundation became the seat of a bishopric in the 4th century, as civitas Aurelianorum. In 451 Bishop Aignan saved Orléans from siege by Attila. In Merovingian times the city was several times the meeting place of councils. Under Charlemagne the scholar Theodulf was bishop of Orléans. At the end of the 10th century, the city was the starting-point for the rule of the Capetians. In 1022 the son of Hugo Capet, Robert II, had the Orléans her…

Orosius, Paulus

(288 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Hartmut
[German Version] (of Braga; attested 414–418), a presbyter from Iberian Bracara who went to Africa in 414. He was close to Augustine, and took documents to Jerome in Jerusalem, where he became an early ¶ opponent of Pelagianism (Pelagius). On his return to Africa he became more prominent in his opposition to Pelagianism. In addition to anti-heretical writings ( Liber Apologeticus, Commonitorium de errore Priscillianistarum et Origenistarum), Orosius wrote his most important work, the Historiarum adversum paganos in seven books, which he completed in 416–417/418, with en…

Orphaned Missions Fund (OMF)

(289 words)

Author(s): Jackson, E.M.
[German Version] . Created in May 1940 by International Missionary Council (IMC) officers to avert the problems experienced in World War I by Protestant “orphaned missions” cut off from their sponsoring home boards, the OMF created a level of ecumenical cooperation which to some extent protected missions from political manipulation or asset confiscation by colonial governments, enabled work to continue with indigenous leadership and anticipated the development of postwar aid networks. The inspirat…

Orphans, Care of

(808 words)

Author(s): Götzelmann, Arnd
[German Version] The care of orphans as an important area of Jewish and Christian social responsibility goes back to Moses and the social legislation of the Bible (Exod 22:21–23; Deut 24:17). Historically, it was the germ that grew into services for children and young people (Youth service) and social education. Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire already had to deal with the danger of numbers of pauperized orphans (Heb. יָתוֹם/ yātôm, Gk ὀρϕανός/ orphanós, Lat. orbus). To meet this challenge, they established a system of legal guardianship, supplemented by food relief…


(1,142 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Arnulf, Arwed
[German Version] I. Mythology – II. Art I. Mythology The stories of Orpheus reflect the emergence and rejection of a religious movement in Archaic Greece: a prince from Thrace in northern Greece enchants everyone with his artistry; the psychagogic and ecstatic power of music (Ecstasy) is recalled in a journey to the netherworld. Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus, dies; to win her back, he descends into Hades. Through his music, he charms even the rocks and persuades the implacable gods of the dead to release…


(1,858 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Wandrey, Irina | Graf, Fritz
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Responses I. History of Religions 1. Orphic-Dionysian mysteries. The earliest Greeks anticipated a short and active life without any form of existence after death. The 6th century bce saw the appearance of religious alternatives that promised an afterlife in the beyond. One of these spread anonymously under the name of Orpheus; myths of Orpheus speak of deliverance from a senseless and cheerless netherworld. There was never a coherent religion practiced by Orphics, but there is discu…

Orr, James

(160 words)

Author(s): Scorgie, Glen
[German Version] (Apr 11, 1844, Glasgow – Sep 6, 1913, Glasgow), Scottish theologian and polemicist; studied at the United Presbyterian Divinity Hall, Edinburgh (1868–1872) and Glasgow University (M.A. 1870; B.D. 1872; D.D. 1885); pastoral ministry in Hawick, Scotland (1874–1891); professor at United Presbyterian College, Edinburgh (1891–1900), and United Free Church College, Glasgow (1900–1913). His Christian View of God and the World (1893) launched his academic career. His subsequent theological contribution was a wideranging call for continued adhere…

Ortega y Gasset, José

(261 words)

Author(s): Steinmann, Michael
[German Version] (May 9, 1883, Madrid – Oct 18, 1955, Madrid), studied in Madrid, where he was appointed professor of metaphysics in 1910. Study trips brought him to Germany from 1904 to 1907, including Marburg, where he came under the influence of Neo-Kantianism. To escape the civil war, he left Spain in 1936 and did not return permanently until 1948. His wide-ranging work was devoted to topics of philosophy, art, and politics; he always dealt with culture in its totality. He combined the insight…

Orthodox Churches

(9,446 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter | Thöle, Reinhard | Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] I. Church History – II. The Branches of Orthodoxy – III. Orthodoxy throughout the World – IV. History of Orthodox Theology I. Church History 1. Terminology. The term orthodox (cf. also Orthodoxy: I) goes back to Hellenistic Judaism. Flavius Josephus, for example, commends τὴν ὀρϑὴν δόξαν περὶ Θεοῦ/ tḗn orthḗn dóxan perí Theoú instead of Greek myths and reports that the Essenes viewed other Jews as ἑτερόδοξοι/ heteródoxoi ( Apion. II 256; Bell. II 129). ¶ This idiom passed into Christian usage in the 2nd century. The critical moment for its ecclesiastica…

Orthodox Churches, Mission

(7 words)

[German Version] Mission

Orthodox Judaism

(6 words)

[German Version] Orthodoxy

Orthodox Theology

(7 words)

[German Version] Orthodox Churches


(11,720 words)

Author(s): Slenczka, Notger | Hünermann, Peter | Wallmannb, Johannes | Kaufmann, Thomas | Morgenstern, Matthias | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Christianity – III. Judaism – IV. Islam I. Terminology The term orthodoxy derives from Greek ὀρϑός/ orthós, “right, true, straight,” and δόξα/ dóxa, “opinion, teaching.” The word and its derivatives appear in pre-Christian literature (Liddell & Scott, s.v.) but acquired their specifically religious sense only in the context of Christianity, where confession of Jesus as Lord or Christ plays a constitutive role in religious practice (Rom 10:10; Matt 10:32f.) and the need appeared early on to identify a…

Ortíz, Tomás

(190 words)

Author(s): Eggensperger, Thomas
[German Version] (c. 1490, Calzadilla, Extremadura, Spain – 1538, Tocuyo, Venezuela). In 1510 Ortíz entered the order of the Dominicans, and in 1513 traveled to the New World, where he founded new settlements of the order and was active in mission; in 1526 he became vicar general of the order for New Spain. At first he worked with B. de las Casas, but later, confrontation with him grew because Ortíz increasingly rejected his policy of friendship with the Indians; he accused the natives of cannibal…

Ortlieb of Strasbourg

(138 words)

Author(s): Müller, Daniela
[German Version] All that is known of Ortlieb is that his teaching was condemned c. 1216 by Innocent III. His followers, the Ortliebers, were mentioned in 1239 in an anti-heresy law of Frederick Hohenstaufen, and in 1254 in a papal bull, together with others. Even the content of his teachings remains ultimately obscure. The only doctrine traditionally ascribed to him is that human beings must keep themselves free from all external things, and only follow the inner leadings of the spirit. This coul…

Osho Movement

(468 words)

Author(s): Süss, Joachim
[German Version] The Osho Movement was founded in 1970 in Manali (Himachal Pradesh, northern India) as the Neo-Sannyas International Movement. Its organizing principle is the relationship of initiated disciples, the Sannyasins, to the movement’s founder as spiritual teacher. Neo-Sannyas religiosity departs from tradition in eschewing all asceticism and exhibits distinctly hedonistic features. The popular name “Osho Movement” derives from its founder, the Indian philosophy teacher Rajneesh Chandra …


(1,253 words)

Author(s): Müller, Gerhard | Ehmer, Hermann | Wallmann, Johannes
[German Version] 1. Andreas (Dec 14 or 19, 1496 or 1498, Gunzhausen – Oct 17, 1552, Königsberg [today Kaliningrad, Russia]), Reformer of Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and center of a violent controversy over his doctrine of justification. Osiander matriculated at Ingolstadt in 1515, where he learned Greek and Hebrew and was influenced by Humanism and especially by J. Reuchlin and the Kabbalah. In 1520 he was ordained to the priesthood; in the same year, he was employed to teach Hebrew by the Augustinian Herm…


(7 words)

[German Version] Isis and Osiris


(1,055 words)

Author(s): Persch, Jörg
[German Version] Osnabrück, city and bishopric, founded at the end of the 8th century at the intersection of two ancient military and commercial routes. The Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 ce marked the end of Roman influence in the area settled by Teutons. Beginning in the 5th century, Saxons from the north moved in. The major Old Saxon farmstead at the ford of the Hase river became the center of the Threcwitigau. To replace a destroyed missionary station, Charlemagne, who defeated the Saxons under Widukind in 783, ordered a…

Ossietzky, Carl von

(474 words)

Author(s): Kraiker, Gerhard
[German Version] (Oct 3, 1889, Hamburg – May 4, 1938, Berlin), one of the few German journalists during the Wilhelmine Empire and the Weimar Republic to champion vigorously the ideas of a democratic republic (Democracy), pacifism, and social justice (Justice and righteousness: VI). He considered the Weimar Republic an unfinished project that still had to emancipate itself from the legacies of the earlier system and put its constitutional principles into practice. His pacifism was not absolute; it was directed against militarism and violent revisionism; he clearly had sympathy ¶ for …


(5 words)

[German Version] Sarcophagus/Urn/Ossuary

Ostasien-Mission (East Asia Mission)

(299 words)

Author(s): Hamer, Heyo E.
[German Version] The Ostasien-Mission (OAM) was founded in Weimar on Jun 4, 1884,under the name Allgemeiner Evangelisch-Protestantischer Missionsverein (AEPM). It reflected the liberal missionary ideas of E. Buss, a Swiss pastor. The purpose of the AEPM was “…to spread Christian religion and civilization among non-Christian peoples, building on ¶ the elements of truth already present” (§2 of its statutes). The organization was international, with local associations in Switzerland, Germany, Alsace, and Luxembourg; its headquarters was in Berlin…

Ostervald, Jean Frédéric

(263 words)

Author(s): Kuhn, Thomas K.
[German Version] (Nov 24, 1663, Neuchâtel – Apr 14, 1747, Neuchâtel), son of a Neuchâtel minister. Ostervald studied theology in Orléans, Paris, and Saumur, graduated in 1683, became a deacon in 1686, and in 1699 a Reformed minister in Neuchâtel. On his own initiative he taught students embarking on theological studies, his goal being a comprehensive reformation. He was considered the most influential Neuchâtel theologian and preacher of his time. His reforms focused especially on dogmatics and et…

Ostfriesische Evangelische Missionsgesellschaft (East Frisian Evangelical Mission Society)

(186 words)

Author(s): Hafermann, Karl-Hermann
[German Version] The OstfriesischeEvangelische Missionsgesellschaft (OEMG) was founded in 1834, succeeding the (East Frisian) Missions-Sozietät vom Senfkorn, founded in 1798, which had responded to appeals of (Pietist) Dutch and English missionary groups, giving them material and personal support. With the founding of the OEMG, this loosely organized society took on more defined form. It did not send missionaries but supported other societies such as the Goßner Mission, the Hermannsburg Mission, and the Bremen Mission by directing t…


(167 words)

Author(s): Oswalt, Julia
[German Version] (250 km northeast of Lviv [Lemberg], Ukraine), chosen seat of the Ruthenian Udel princes of Ostrog; from the mid-14th century steadily built up as a defensive fortress against Tartar attack. With the rise of the princes of Ostrog to the highest rank of the Polish-Lithuanian aristocratic republic, Ostrog gained particular importance as a political and cultural center for the defence of Ruthenian interests, and the strengthening of the position of the Eastern Church in the process o…

Osuna, Francisco de

(185 words)

Author(s): Rodrigues, Manuel Augusto
[German Version] (c. 1492, Osuna [Seville] – c. 1541), Franciscan, one of the most important Spanish mystics. Osuna studied in Alcalá de Henares, and after ordination as a priest retired to the La Salceda hermitage, where he drew up the main lines of his spirituality of inner composure ( recogimento) and wrote his first treatises ( Abecededarios). He had close contacts with the Alumbrados. His best-known treatise is the Third Spiritual ABC, which strongly influenced Theresa of Avila. Manuel Augusto Rodrigues Bibliography Ed.: Tercer abecedario espiritual, ed. S.L. Santidrian, 1998 On…

Otfrid von Weißenburg

(411 words)

Author(s): Rodrigues, Manuel Augusto
[German Version] (c. 800 – c. 871), entrusted, presumably as a child ( puer oblatus; Oblates: I), to the monastery at Weißenburg (Wissembourg) in Alsace; ordained priest c. 830, he received a thorough education at his home monastery, followed by studies in Fulda under Rabanus Maurus. After his return he became, under Abbot Grimald, a teacher, head of the scriptorium, and spiritus rector of a theological program on the Fulda model, directed towards a deeper understanding of Holy Scripture. To this end, Otfrid worked towards a commentary on the whole Bible. …


(2,191 words)

Author(s): Huizing, Klaas | Adriaanse, Hendrik J. | Bayer, Oswald
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy Until G.W.F. Hegel, otherness is a basic provision of finitude. The concept “otherness = the other” acquires a specially personal and anthropological significance for the predecessors of “I-thou” philosophy. In a letter of 1781 to J.C. Lavater, F.H. Jacobi discovers the meaning of the other, or “thou,” for the human development of the solitary “I” subject: “I open eye or ear, or I stretch out my hand, and in that very instant I feel inseparably: thou a…


(7 words)

[German Version] Tribes of Israel

Otloh of St. Emmeram

(217 words)

Author(s): Röckelein, Hedwig
[German Version] (Othloh, Othlo; c. 1010, Freising diocese – after 1070, Regensburg). Educated in the monastery school at Tegernsee, and at first a clerk, Otloh entered the Regensburg monastery of St. Emmeram in 1032, and directed the school there (teacher of William of Hirsau). Conflicts with the Freising clergy and the bishops of Regensburg caused him several times to leave Bavaria temporarily, and serve the monasteries of Hersfeld, Fulda, and Amorbach, and the bishop of Würzburg, as a gifted ca…

Otterbein, Philipp Wilhelm

(170 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] ( Jun 2, 1726, Dillenburg, Prussia – Nov 17, 1813, Baltimore, MD), German Reformed minister who became a founder of the United Brethren in Christ. Otterbein went to the United States in 1752 at the invitation of the German Reformed Pietist, Michael Schlatter (1718–1790). Otterbein had been educated in Calvinist and Pietist teachings at the Reformed University of Herborn (Reformed Colleges in Germany). In America, Otterbein energetically encouraged prayer meetings, recruited lay le…

Otter, Jakob

(168 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Tilman M.
[German Version] (c. 1485, Lauterburg, Alsace – Mar 15, 1547, Esslingen). As a schoolboy Otter already came under Humanist influence. In 1505 he matriculated in Heidelberg; in 1507 he became secretary to J. Geiler von Kaysersberg in Strasbourg; in 1517, Lic.theol. in Freiburg; in 1522, preacher in Kenzingen, then in 1525 in Neckarsteinach. Because of his Reformation preaching, Otter was expelled from his posts in 1524 and 1529; he went to Strasbourg, where he became familiar with the theology of M…

Otto, Berthold

(301 words)

Author(s): Roggenkamp-Kaufmann, Antje
[German Version] (Aug 6, 1859, Bienowitz near Guhrau, Silesia – Jun 29, 1933, Berlin), Berlin educational reformer (Educational reform). Otto, son of a Silesian landowner, studied classics, philosophy, psychology, constitutional law, and (under Friedrich Paulsen and others) educational method in Kiel and Berlin. From 1883 he worked as a private tutor, freelance writer, and lexicographer in Westphalia, Berlin, Hamburg, and Leipzig. In 1902, after his writings criticizing schools had brought him to …


(603 words)

Author(s): Ursinus, Michael
[German Version] The Ottomans, sometimes called the Imperial House of Osman (the dynasty’s founder), were the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. In a broader sense, the term denotes the Muslim (and since around the mid-19th cent. officially even the non-Muslim) population of this last Islamic empire. It had arisen from the chaos surrounding the collapse of Mongol rule over the Seljuks, developing from an Anatolian principality into an immediate neighbor and rival of Byzantium, until finally, with the c…


(531 words)

Author(s): Laudage, Johannes
[German Version] The term Ottonians, dating from the 11th century, is a collective designation of the East Frankish (not Ger.) dynasty that reigned from 919 to 1024. Henry I was the founder of the Ottonian dynasty. His decision to adopt individual succession (929/930), reinforced by Otto the Great, marked the transition from the clan principle of the early Middle Ages to the dynastic house of the High Middle Ages; only the artificial scholarly term Liudolfings includes agnatic forebears and collateral lines. The Ottonians’ sense of their ancestry therefore concentrate…

Otto of Bamberg, Saint

(176 words)

Author(s): Gummelt, Volker
[German Version] (c. 1065 – Jun 30, 1139, Bamberg). From 1088 Otto worked at the behest of the emperor Henry IV as chaplain for his sister at the Polish court. From about 1097 he was responsible for the building of Speyer cathedral. In 1102 the emperor appointed him bishop of Bamberg; papal consecration followed only in 1106. Through diplomatic skill, Otto laid the foundation for Bamberg’s episcopal territorial rule. Many monasteries and foundations trace their origin to him. He was given the sobr…
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