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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(219 words)

Author(s): Dan, Joseph
[German Version] (Adret Solomon ben Adrat [Rashba is an acronym]; c. 1235, Barcelona – 1310, Barcelona), head of a school of Jewish law and Jewish mysticism in Barcelona, late 13th/early 14th century. A student of the Kabbalistic (Kabbalah) school of Girona, he was leader of a group of kabbalists in Catalonia. Before becoming a rabbi in Barcelona, he was a merchant, and traded with the king of Aragon, among others. More ¶ than 1,000 of his Responsa (7 vols.) have survived; they deal with daily problems and political matters, and with complicated questions of law as …


(386 words)

Author(s): Mutius, Hans-Georg v.
[German Version] (Solomon ben Isaac [Rashi is an acronym]; 1040, Troyes – 1105, Troyes), probably the most important exegete of the Bible and commentator on the Talmud in the 11th century; he studied in the 1060s in the Talmud academies in Mainz and Worms. After returning to Troyes, he opened a teaching institution for study of the Bible and Talmud, and directed it until his death in 1105. Rashi’s biblical commentaries are marked by a tendency to limit traditional rabbinic Midrash exposition – not by any means discarding it, but paying particular attention to the sensus litteralis of the v…


(7 words)

[German Version] Old Believers, Russian

Ras Shamra

(6 words)

[German Version] Ugarit


(151 words)

Author(s): Kamphausen, Erhard
[German Version] arose c. 1930 in Jamaica under the influence of the Afro-American nationalist M. Garvey. It is a pan-African new religion that venerates the Ethiopian emperor (Ras Tafari [Haile Selassie]) as the messianic liberator of the black race. The world of the whites is rejected as evil (Babylon). Since the Bible is considered to have been falsified by white Christendom, the black diaspora develops new theological theories, and hopes for a return to Africa (Zion). Special importance is att…

Ratherius of Verona

(174 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Wilfried
[German Version] (c. 890, region of Liège – Apr 25, 974, Namur), a difficult character who led an eventful life. He was three times (931–934, 946–948 and 962–968) bishop of Verona, and once, for a short time (953–955), bishop of Liège. Betweentimes he was in the monasteries of Aulne near Liège and Lobbes, where he was also buried. Among his few extant works, the Praeloquia (written 934–936) is noteworthy. It contains Christian moral teaching for laity and clergy. Of autobiographical interest are the Dialogus confessionalis and the Qualitatis coniectura, in which the old Ratherius p…

Rational Choice

(268 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] denotes a choice of behavior that leads to a chosen external target situation, better (more economically, more securely, with no, or fewer, unwanted side-effects) than other forms of behavior that could have been chosen at the same time. Such rationality of choice is related to the actor’s knowledge (of facts and rules), and to ethical convictions (e.g. excluding a goal attained by behavior that uses other persons only as means, not also as end in themselves [I. Kant]). Judgment o…


(3,896 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Steiger, Johann Anselm | Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term rationalism is used in philosophy in a wider and a narrower sense. In its wider sense, it stands for all those antiskeptical positions (Skepticism: I) in the theory of being and its epistemology that see the only reliable source of certain knowledge not in sensory perception but in the activity of ratio, reason (I). The paradigm for reasoning activity that guarantees certainty (I) is provided by mathematical thought with its concepts of tautologies and deductive conclusions. In its narrower sense, Rationalism st…


(2,088 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Petzoldt, Matthias | Huxel, Kirsten | Linde, Gesche
[German Version] I. Philosophy Rationality is derived from Latin ratio (“calculation, consideration, reason”) and medieval Latin rationalitas (“reason, capacity for thought”). The term denotes various intellectual capacities that distinguish human beings as “rational animals” from the other more highly developed animals. In German, from the 18th century, these capacities were generally designated as Verstand (Intellect: I) and Vernunft (Reason: I). Under the influence of the English term rationality, and the usage of various scientific disciplines, especially s…


(707 words)

Author(s): Horyna, Břetislav | Oechsler, Walter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Rationalization is a relatively recent umbrella term with a variety of meanings; it denotes the replacement of traditional and fortuitous processes by planned, structured, and repeatable methods, according to criteria of functionality, effectiveness, and controllability. Since the effect of such methods is in principle always open to improvement, rationalization remains a never-ending process. In religious studies, rationality characterizes the epistemological “t…

Rational Proof

(828 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Eberhard
[German Version] Time and again, Christianity has felt compelled to submit its credibility to proof (Existence of God, Proofs of the), in the face of criticism from atheists, and from people who believe in God but distrust revelations together with claims of the uniqueness of Christianity. Recently the need for legitimation has been sharpened by the fact that, in a pluralist society, claims to truth made by the different philosophies are not thought to merit immediate belief (Pluralism). So what r…

Rational Theology

(7 words)

[German Version] Philosophical Theology

Ratke, Wolfgang

(376 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Günter R.
[German Version] (Ratichius; Oct 18, 1571, Wilster – Apr 27, 1635, Erfurt) described himself as a didacticus, and worked for a comprehensive restructuring of society through educational reforms, as, later, did his admirer J.A. Comenius. After studying philosophy and theology in Rostock, he worked in Amsterdam on oriental languages, and reflected on political and educational questions. In 1612 he submitted to the Reichstag in Frankfurt a Memorial intended to show how a harmonious language, a harmonious government, and, finally, a harmonious religion were to be …


(197 words)

Author(s): Steiner, Hannes
[German Version] (after 850 – before 912), was educated at Saint Gall Abbey and lived there as monk and teacher until his death. In the Middle Ages he was known as the author of liturgical poems in Latin, especially an All Saints Day litany. His Old High German Galluslied now survives only in the Latin retro-translation by Ekkehard IV. His Casus sancti Galli form the prelude to the Saint Gall house chronicle that was continued up to the 13th century. In it, Ratpert sketches the development of his abbey from the beginning, laying particular emphasis on the …


(172 words)

Author(s): Rieger, Reinhold
[German Version] (died c. 870), monk at Corbie Abbey. He intervened in the first Eucharistic controversy with his writing De corpore et sanguine Domini (843), directed against Paschasius Radbertus; using dialectical method he opposed a sensory understanding of the Lord’s Supper, showing that the sacrament was always hidden as a mystery beneath a figura, and rejecting identification of the historical with the sacramental body of Christ. In this he influenced Berengar of Tours. In the books De praedestinatione (849/850), also commissioned by Charles the Bald, he opposed Hi…

Ratschow, Carl Heinz

(333 words)

Author(s): Bosse, Katrin
[German Version] (Jul 22, 1911, Rostock – Nov 10, 1999, Marburg), philologist, theologian, and philosopher of religion. After beginning a course in oriental studies in Leipzig, Ratschow was redirected to theology by A. Alt’s lectures on Israel’s religious history. He continued the study of theology in Göttingen and Rostock, completing his studies in 1935. After obtaining his doctorate in theology under F. Brunstäd, on L. Klages’s vitalism, he returned to Göttingen, where in 1938 he gained his Habilitation with a thesis on the verb hayah, and a doctorate ( Magie und Religion, 1947). Af…


(314 words)

Author(s): Rasch, Christian Willm
[German Version] (Racesburg), an island town in Schleswig-Holstein, until 1545/1648 a bishopric; at the beginning of the 21st century, it had c. 13,000 inhabitants. From 1050 there stood opposite the Slav castle of Prince Ratibor (known as Race) a monastery under the Benedictine abbot Ansverus. The bishopric was founded after 1062 by Adalbert of Bremen, in the course of the Christianization of the Slavs. In the Slav revolt of 1066 the bishopric and monastery were destroyed, and Ansverus and his mo…

Ratze(n)berger, Matthäus

(186 words)

Author(s): Scheible, Heinz
[German Version] (1501, Wangen im Allgäu – Jan 3, 1559, Erfurt), deserves mention only for his notes on the history of his times, which are highly subjective, yet written from the vantage point of personal closeness to Luther and great veneration for him; he lived through Luther’s Reformation from the start of his studies in Wittenberg in 1516. He was distantly related to Luther by marriage, and in 1546 became one of the guardians of his children. From 1538 to 1546 he served Elector John Frederick…

Rauhes Haus

(8 words)

[German Version] Wichern, Johann Hinrich

Raumer, Karl von

(266 words)

Author(s): Schwab, Ulrich
[German Version] (Apr 9, 1783, Wörlitz – Jun 2, 1865, Erlangen), studied jurisprudence and mineralogy in Göttingen, Halle, and Freiburg. In 1811 he became professor of mineralogy at Breslau University, but left the university in 1819 for political reasons. In 1827 he became professor of natural history and mineralogy at Erlangen University. Here he worked with C. Krafft in the Awakening movement (Revival/Revival movements: I, 7), and in 1824 founded a rescue center for boys in Nuremberg (the Veilhof). He was joint editor of E.W. Hengstenberg’s church newspaper and of the Erlangen Zeits…
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