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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Sozialdienst katholischer Männer (SKM)

(110 words)

Author(s): Bohrmann, Thomas
[German Version] founded in Essen in 1912 as the Katholischer Männer-Fürsorge-Verein and renamed Sozialdienst Katholischer Männer (SKM) in 1962. In 1991 it was given the official name SKM – Katholischer Verband für soziale Dienste in Deutschland e.V., with headquarters in Düsseldorf. The SKM is an affiliate of the Deutscher Caritasverband (Caritas); by its constitution, it is to assist people in need to find help and to improve the social conditions of those in need of help. Originally active onl…


(342 words)

Author(s): Hansen, Günther Christian
[German Version] (Salamanes Hermeias Sozomenos; c. 380, near Gaza – 440, Constantinople), after 425 a lawyer in Constantinople and author of a history of the church from 324 to 422 in nine books (the last left in outline). His birth to Christian parents in rural Gaza, then still largely pagan, and his socialization in the company of Palestinian monks left their mark on his thought and his work. The latter was based on the church history of Socrates Scholasticus, whom he never mentions by name; he …


(1,407 words)

Author(s): Hüttemann, Andreas | van den Brom, Luco Johan
[German Version] I. Philosophy One of the first detailed discussions of space and its nature was undertaken by Aristotle, who rejected the atomists’ assumption of a void (Atomism: I) as well as Plato’s identification of space and matter. Aristotle defined the position of a body as the inner boundary of the body surrounding it (e.g. in the case of water, the inner surface of its container). According to Aristotle, therefore, a void or empty space cannot exist within or the world or outside it. In 1277 the proposition that God cannot move the world along a straight line was conde…


(2,644 words)

Author(s): Herbers, Klaus
[German Version] I. General In antiquity Hispania denoted the whole Iberian Peninsula, sometimes including Mauretania Tingitana; not until the late Middle Ages was Portugal gradually excluded. The general political and ecclesiastical history of Spain was dominated by three factors: its position on the periphery of the continent of Europe, which led to close contacts (at times very close) with northern Africa; centuries of religious and political diversity, especially in the Middle Ages, in contrast to…

Spalatin, Georg

(449 words)

Author(s): Beyer, Michael
[German Version] (Burkhardt; Jan 17, 1484, Spalt – Jan 14, 1545, Altenburg), son of a Franconian tanner, Spalatin attended the Latin school in Nuremberg in 1497 and began his university studies in 1498 at Erfurt, one of a circle of students of the Humanist Nikolaus Marschalk, whom he followed to Wittenberg in 1502. After receiving his M.A. in 1503, he devoted himself to the study of law, which he continued in Erfurt in 1504. Between 1505 and 1516, he worked primarily as a teacher, initially – thro…

Spalding, Johann Joachim

(843 words)

Author(s): Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] (Nov 1, 1714, Tribsees, Swedish Pomerania – May 22, 1804, Berlin). One of the most important Lutheran theologians of the 18th century, revered by his contemporaries as the patriarch of Enlightenment theology for his intellectual honesty, ecclesiastical modernity, and human integrity, Spalding was a pioneer of modern theology. From 1731 to 1733 he studied philosophy and theology in Rostock and afterwards in Greifswald, receiving his Dr.phil. in 1736. From 1745 to 1747 he served as secretary of the Swedish embassy in Berlin, whil…


(387 words)

Author(s): Wolff, Jens
[German Version] 1. Johann (Mar 29, 1484, Hardegsen – Jun 13, 1550, Eisleben). After attending school in Göttingen (1501) and Einbeck (1502), Spangenberg began his university studies at Erfurt in the fall of 1508, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1511. He served as head of the Latin school in Stolberg (Harz) and in 1524 was appointed pastor in Nordhausen (Harz), where he improved the town school. In June of 1546 he was called to Eisleben as inspector of the churches in comital Mansfeld; while ther…

Spangenberg, August Gottlieb

(416 words)

Author(s): Meyer, Dietrich
[German Version] ( Jul 15[16], 1704, Klettenberg, Harz – Sep 18, 1792, Berthelsdorf ), son of Georg Spangenberg, a Lutheran pastor, and Dorothea Katharina Nese, a pastor’s daughter. After attending school in Ilfeld, he studied theology in Jena and served as an amanuensis for J.F. Buddeus. In 1722 he experienced a Pietist conversion and became a disciple of J.G. Gichtel, attracted by J. Otto Glüsing (died 1727). In 1727 he came in contact with the Herrnhuters and led a revivalist student fellowship in 1729 as magister legens. In 1732 he received an adjunct appointment to the Hal…


(560 words)

Author(s): Strohm, Christoph
[German Version] 1. Friedrich, the Elder ( Jan 1, 1600, Amberg – May 14, 1649, Leiden), Reformed theologian. He was appointed professor of theology in Geneva in 1626 and professor of theology in 1631; from 1633 to 1637 he served as rector of the university. He was appointed professor of theology in Leiden in 1642 and in 1648 he became pastor of the Walloon congregation there. He was a champion of strict Reformed orthodoxy as defined by the Synod of Dort, rejecting such theological positions as M. Amyraut’s doctrine of grace. Christoph Strohm Bibliography C. Borgeaud, Histoire de l’univers…

Speaking in Tongues

(7 words)

[German Version] Glossolalia

Special Education

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Bleidick, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Definition and History In both German and English, the term special education ( Sonderpädagogik) is used more or less synonymously with remedial education, education of the disabled, and rehabilitation education. It denotes the theory and practice of providing education, instruction, and therapy for disabled people at various stages of life: early education, compulsory schooling, vocational training, and adult education (Education of adults). People are considered handicapped or disabled if injury to their physical or mental functions has …

Special Gods

(363 words)

Author(s): Vollmer, Ulrich
[German Version] In religious studies, the term special gods is sometimes used synonymously with functional gods, gods of appearance, or indigitamental gods, but it is used here in the narrower sense intended by H. Usener¶ when he introduced it. For Usener, special gods, equivalent to Varro’s di certi, represent one stage in the development of the human consciousness of God, understood as an evolutionary process (Evolution: II) characterized by continuous progress from the particular to the general. The lowest stage is represented by the “momentary gods” (Moment, God of …

Specialist Universities

(360 words)

Author(s): Aschenbrenner, Dieter
[German Version] The establishment of specialist universities of applied sciences in Germany began in 1968 on the basis of an agreement among the Länder; the purpose was to meet a growing need for qualified engineers, management experts, and other professionals, especially in the European context, through academic training focused on practical application. The first generation of these universities was built between 1968 and 1971. Their forerunners, many with a rich tradition, were engineering academies, schools of ap…

Special Ministries

(496 words)

Author(s): Schloz, Rüdiger
[German Version] The pastoral profession (Clergy) assumes that the pastor is a generalist, a view reflected in theological education. Liturgy and religious ceremonies, instruction, pastoral care, and church leadership are the fundamental competencies required for cura generalis in the local church. But ministerial leadership has always had a place for special competencies (Cybernetics: III). When Frederick the Great instituted standing armies, army chaplaincy became the first “special ministry.” In the 19th century, industrializat…


(1,498 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Schnepf, Robert | Danz, Christian
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The use of the term speculation in religious studies is not divorced from its use in philosophy (see II below) and everyday language, but – especially in the phenomenology of religion – it has been used in a sense specific to religious studies, particularly to denote reflective, rationalizing, and systematizing deliberations regarding a particular religion, such as have arisen in certain historical situations (e.g. cultural upheavals) and various theoretical context…

Speculative Theology

(1,024 words)

Author(s): Danz, Christian
[German Version] Speculative theology arose in the context of the speculative philosophy of F.W.J. Schelling and G.W.F. Hegel; it represented a distinct form of primarily modern Protestant theology, based on the deep-rooted conviction of a positive relationship between philosophy and theology, or faith and reason. The historically divergent conceptions of speculative theology were due not only to fundamentally different understandings of speculation, but also to different understandings of the relationship between faith and knowledge. I. The development of speculative …

Speculum humanae salvationis

(256 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] the most important and widespread typological work of the late Middle Ages, combining texts and pictures. It borrowed the structure of the Biblia pauperum (Bible of the Poor), organized around salvation history, and expanded it thematically, in particular by including scenes from the life of Mary and the passion of Jesus; it also divided the text into tractates. The title and year of composition (1324) of the nova compilatio appear already in early 14th-century manuscripts. Whether it was compiled by German Dominicans (possibly associated with Lud…

Speech Act

(540 words)

Author(s): Kober, Michael
[German Version] Philosophers of language traditionally reflect on the relationship between language and reality along with the truth or falsity of utterances and propositions. Despite some intimations in the work of earlier authors, especially G. Frege (“Der Gedanke,” 1918) and Adolf Reinach (“Die apriorischen Grund­lagen des bürgerlichen Rechts,” 1913), it remained for L. Wittgenstein ( Philosophische Untersuchungen, 1953; ET: Philosophical Investigations, 2001 [bilingual]) and John Langshaw Austin ( How To Do Things with Words, 1962) to formulate the insight that …

Speer, Robert Elliot

(143 words)

Author(s): Grundmann, Christoffer H.
[German Version] (Sep 10, 1867, Huntingdon, PA – Nov 23, 1947, Bryn Mawr, PA), defining figure in American missionary work of his time. Influenced by D.L. Moody, he became active in the Student Volunteer Movement; in 1891, just as he was beginning his theological studies, he was appointed secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, with which he remained associated for over 50 years until his retirement in 1937. Missiologically close to R. Anderson, he was a prolific author and much i…

Spee (Spe) von Langenfeld, Friedrich

(291 words)

Author(s): Zschoch, Hellmut
[German Version] (Feb 25, 1591, Kaiserswerth – Aug 7, 1635, Trier), joined the Jesuits in 1610 and worked for the order as a theological teacher in support of the Counter-Reformation; in 1629 he was appointed professor of theology in Trier. He owes his importance not to his role as an academic theologian but to his unique combination of piety, literary talent, and active commitment to the suffering. His major religious works, the Güldenes Tugend-Buch and Trutz-Nachtigall, published posthumously in 1649, influenced confessional Roman Catholic religiosity through literat…
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