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.

Subscriptions: see

Shabbetai Tzevi/Shabbetaianism

(386 words)

Author(s): Carlebach, Elisheva
[German Version] The messianic movement (Messiah) that erupted in 1665 around Shabbetai Tzevi (Jul 23, 1626, Smyrna – presumably Sep 30, 1676, Dulcigno, Albania) was the most widespread such movement in medieval and modern Judaism. Shabbetai Tzevi’s charismatic personality sparked great interest even beyond the Jewish world. Having announced his messianic identity (1648), he was excommunicated by the rabbinic authorities. Only after meeting Nathan of Gaza did he re-assert his messianic identity. He returned to Smyrna (1665) on a wave of ¶ rumor and publicity. When he entered …

Shadow Economy

(330 words)

Author(s): Bayer, Stefan
[German Version] In principle goods and services are provided, paid for, and cleared in markets (Market/Markets) according to prevailing rules. In recent years, however, goods and services provided in the shadow of the legal markets have played an increasingly important role. According to one current definition, the shadow economy comprises all those activities that create value in terms of the national accounts but are not (or only partly) reported in the official statistics. In particular, neith…

Shaftesbury, Lord

(750 words)

Author(s): Huxel, Kirsten | Lavalette, Michael
[German Version] 1. Anthony Ashley Cooper (Feb 26, 1671, London – Feb 4, 1713, Naples), third Earl of Shaftesbury, major Enlightenment philosopher, moralist, and pioneer of aesthetics. His grandfather of the same name, a renowned politician, entrusted Shaftesbury’s education to J. Locke; through his governess Elizabeth Birch, he received thorough training in the classical languages along with ancient and modern literature. After a period at Winchester College (1683–1686), travels through Europe (1686–…


(365 words)

Author(s): Stein, Stephen
[German Version] (United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) are the followers of Ann Lee (1736–1784), an English charismatic and visionary who joined an enthusiastic sect sometimes called “Shaking Quakers.” She led a handful of followers to America in 1774 and within a few years formed a community, attracted converts throughout eastern New York and New England, and aroused considerable opposition among the populace. “Mother Ann” demanded celibacy of her followers and also the shari…

Shakespeare, William

(1,792 words)

Author(s): Meller, Horst
[German Version] (baptized Apr 26, 1564, Stratford-upon-Avon, England – Apr 23, 1616, Stratford), poet and playwright, actor and director. Shakespeare entered the world as a third child and first son in the county of Warwickshire in the english midlands. His father John was a glove-maker and merchant, who had achieved a degree of prosperity and held various honorary positions in Stratford (alderman, chief alderman, mayor) even before he was granted a family crest by the royal College of Arms in 15…


(6 words)

[German Version] Evil, Devil


(1,110 words)

Author(s): Klein, Wassilios
[German Version] I. In the Narrower Sense A shaman in the sense described here is a religious specialist (male or female) among the Evenks, taiga dwellers in eastern Siberia (Siberian religions); most of the Turkic peoples call a shaman a qam. Other peoples have other names. A shaman typically works in the context of a worldview that believes in the possibility of communication or conflict with spirits that can influence what happens on earth. In this worldview, there is a heavenly plane, and earthly plane, and also an underworld. On …


(290 words)

Author(s): Sommerfeld, Walter
[German Version] (“Sun”; see also sun: II) belongs typologically to the group of gods representing the major natural phenomena and forces. He provides light (Light and darkness: I) and warmth, which are indispensable for human beings and all kinds of life; at night he illuminates the netherworld. In the genealogical hierarchy of the gods developed from the Sumerian conception, he occupies fourth place, after Anu, the god of the heavens, Enlil, the ruler of the world, and Sin, the moon god, whose c…


(1,346 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] I. Religious Studies A sense of shame is a fundamental element of being human. It is a social feeling that ensues when one becomes aware of a shortcoming that might offend others. Unlike a sense of guilt, it does not presuppose an actual transgression. Shame is therefore not just a concomitant of behavior subject to social condemnation, such as violation of a sexual taboo, dishonesty, cowardice, or disloyalty; it is also a reaction to situations for which the individual has no respon…

Shammai ha-Zaken/School of Shammai

(292 words)

Author(s): Reeg, Gottfried
[German Version] Shammai, called “the Elder,” lived around the turn of the eras. According to the chain of tradition in m. ’Abot 1:1ff., he and Hillel formed one of the so-called pairs who received and handed on the Torah revealed to Moses. The rabbinic texts that mention him are highly stylized and must be considered literary constructs with little basis in historical reality. He is rarely mentioned in isolation ( Mek. ŠbY on Exod 20:8 [ed. Epstein & Melamed, 148]). Usually he serves as a foil to Hillel ( b. Šabb. 30b–31a: Hillel’s patience in contrast with Shammai’s testiness; thei…

Shape-note Hymnals

(186 words)

Author(s): Eskew, Harry
[German Version] The American invention of shape notes arose around 1800 as a way of simplifying music reading for singers. Intended for teaching in singing schools, each shape-note hymnal had an opening section of musical rudiments followed by up to several hundred pages of psalm and hymn tunes, fuguing tunes, and anthems. In shape notation, each shape represents a solmization syllable, which represents a specific note in the scale – in practice as a sung syllable. There are two main systems. The…

Shape-note Singing Traditions

(187 words)

Author(s): Eskew, Harry
[German Version] (fasola). The shape-note tradition or “fasola” or four-shape tradition (Shape-note hymnals) covers a mixture of various spiritual music genres that were published in songbooks for American singing schools in the South and mid-West between 1810 and 1860, including psalm and hymn tunes, fuguing tunes, and anthems. In addition to the present non-denominational fasola songs from these songbooks (e.g. The Sacred Harp), this tradition has also been practiced in important American church hymnbooks since the end of the 20th century, particularly i…


(5 words)

[German Version] Šarīʿa

Sharp, Granville

(110 words)

Author(s): Carter, Grayson
[German Version] (Nov 10, 1735, Durham, England – Jul 6, 1813, Fulham, a borough of London), evangelical and abolitionist (Slavery). In 1765 he became involved in opposing the slave trade, advancing numerous legal ¶ cases on behalf of slaves held in England. His efforts culminated in the famous “Fall Somerset” case of 1772 which outlawed the forcible removal of slaves from the country. Sharp also developed an interest in African culture and assisted in the relocation of a number of freed slaves to Sierra Leone. Grayson Carter Bibliography Memoirs of Granville Sharp, ed. T. Burgess, 1820 E.…

Shaw, George Bernard

(304 words)

Author(s): Erlebach, Peter
[German Version] (Jul 26, 1856, Dublin – Nov 2, 1950, Ayot St. Lawrence), the most important English playwright of modern times, of Irish Protestant background, theater critic, socialist, and critic of Victorian society, which he treated with mockery and irony in his works. Shaw championed a rationalistic optimism, a perspective from which he unemotionally examined the standards of humanity and society in order to improve them as a kind of reformer. He rejected Darwinism and determinism; under the…

Shawn, Ted

(182 words)

Author(s): Adams, Doug
[German Version] (Oct 21, 1891, Kansas City, MO – Jan 9, 1972, Orlando, FL), co-founder of the Denishawn School and Dancers with R. Saint Denis whom he married in 1914. He choreographed biblical stories, spirituals, and prayers in training with M. Graham, Doris Humphrey and male modern dancers. Breaking with Saint Denis, he began Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festi-¶ val in Lee, Massachusetts in 1933 where he hosted the Sacred Dance Guild’s first festival in 1959. Originally intending to be a minister, Shawn called his dance a ministry and often performed in ch…


(593 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Shechem, Heb. שְׁכֶם/ šĕkem, “shoulder,” a city in the hill country of central Palestine between Ebal and Gerizim. Since the excavations by Sellin and G.E. Wright between 1913 and 1969, it has been identified with Tell Balāṭa, near Nablus. The earliest Middle Bronze settlement of the city, initially unfortified, dates from c. 1900 bce. It includes a courtyard complex which Wright interpreted as a temple but was more likely a palace (Otto, 133–150). In the 17th century, Shechem was fortified with a massive cyclopean wall in combinat…

Sheen, Fulton John

(188 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (May 8, 1895, El Paso, IL – Dec 1, 1979, NY), the leading public voice for American Roman Catholicism for much of the 20th century. He was ordained a priest in 1919 and then did doctoral study at Louvain, Rome, and Washington, DC. From 1926 to 1950 he lectured in philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and from 1966 to 1969 he served as bishop of Rochester, New York. Sheen’s public renown began in 1930 as the featured speaker on “Catholic Hour Broadcasts” for NBC radio. …


(8 words)

[German Version] Weights and Measures, Numismatics


(1,527 words)

Author(s): Janowski, Bernd | Reeg, Gottfried | Dan, Joseph | Moltmann, Jürgen
[German Version] I. Old Testament The word shekhinah (שְׁכִינָה), a postbiblical noun from the root שׁכן/ škn, “settle, dwell,” denotes an aspect of God’s presence in the world, usually translated as “indwelling” or “habitation.” The term indwelling suggests the Egyptian theology of cultic images, according to which the deity in heaven “descends” upon his image in the earthly temple and “unites” with it (Assmann). The earliest reference to the Old Testament shekhinah theology is in 1 Kgs 8:12f., in Solomon’s words at the dedicatio…
▲   Back to top   ▲