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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(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 an…

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. Codex 118) may derive from that source. The detailed section in Epiphanius of Salamis ( Haer. 64…


(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. Also important was the appropriation of this tradition in early monastic…

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 continued to spread in the Greek East and Latin West, resistance was raised again against the allegorical interpretation of the Bible and some of the theses Origen had presented, especially in the areas of protology and eschatology (pre-existence of souls and apocatastasis). At the end of the 3rd century, Methodius of Olympus contested Origen’s understandi…

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 …
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