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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Spellman, Francis Joseph

(218 words)

Author(s): Galvin, John Patrick
[German Version] (May 4, 1889, Whitman, MA – Dec 2, 1967, New York). After studies at Fordham University, New York, and in Rome, Spellman was ordained to the priesthood in 1916 and received his doctorate in theology the same year. He served in diocesan assignments in the archdiocese of Boston until 1925, when he assumed a position at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. In this capacity he became close personally and professionally to Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who was secretary of state from 1929 u…


(5 words)

[German Version] Magic

Spencer, Herbert

(165 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Apr 27, 1820, Derby, England – Dec 8, 1903, Brighton, England), social scientist and popular writer, worked as a railway engineer and political journalist. His System of Synthetic Philosophy (1862–1896) established his reputation as a comprehensive thinker about society, education, ethics, and politics. To each of these domains he applied general evolutionary ideas. Evolution also explained the history of religions, which mirrored the social systems in which they existed, reinforced the practices of existin…

Spencer, John

(171 words)

Author(s): Carter, Grayson
[German Version] (1630, Bocton, Kent, England, baptized Oct 31, 1630 – May 27, 1693, probably Cambridge, England), English theologian and Hebraist. He ¶ served as fellow (1655) and master (1667) of Corpus Christi College, in Cambridge, before being appointed dean of Ely (1677). His most influential work, De Legibus Hebraeorum (1685), traced the religious antiquities of the ancient Hebrews and laid the foundation for the subsequent emergence of the study of comparative religion. He was the first scholar to observe the similarities between Hebre…

Spencer, Sir Stanley

(200 words)

Author(s): Robinson, Duncan
[German Version] ( Jun 30, 1891, Cookham – Dec 14, 1959, Cliveden). Trained at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, twice an Official War Artist and knighted toward the end of his long and productive career, Spencer was nonetheless regarded at the time of his death as an eccentric, isolated from the mainstream of contemporary art, a figurative painter unfashionably preoccupied with religious subject-matter. Just as Fra Angelico used 15th-century Florence as the setting for his scenes from the N…

Spener, Philipp Jakob

(1,012 words)

Author(s): Wallmann, Johannes
[German Version] ( Jan 13, 1635, Rappoltsweiler, Elsass [Ribeauvillé, Alsace] – Feb 5, 1705, Berlin), father of Lutheran Pietism (I, 1). Son of a devout middle-class family with connections at court, he was brought up on edifying Puritan literature and J. Arndt’s Wahres Christentum. At the age of 16, he entered the University of Strasbourg (II); after foundation courses in philosophy (1653 master’s disserta-¶ tion against T. Hobbes), he studied the system of Lutheran orthodoxy (II, 2.a) under J.K. Dannhauer, a theology he remained faithful to throughout his…

Spengler, Lazarus

(246 words)

Author(s): Gößner, Andreas
[German Version] (Mar 13, 1479, Nuremberg – Sep 7, 1534, Nuremberg). Spengler, the son of a town clerk, entered the civil service of Nuremberg in 1496 after studying in Leipzig. After 1507 he was the administrative head of the imperial city. He adopted the ideals of Humanism early on, admired the church father Jerome, and soon expressed enthusiasm for the preaching of J. v. Staupitz, which persuaded him to adopt an Augustinian theology of grace. On this basis, he became the spokesman for the Refor…

Spengler, Oswald

(398 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
[German Version] (May 29, 1880, Blankenburg, Harz – May 8, 1936, Munich), cultural philosopher and political writer. After studying natural and humane sciences in Halle, Munich, and Berlin, Spenger received his doctorate from Halle in 1904, with a dissertation about Heraclitus directed by the Neo-Kantian Alois Riehl. From 1907 to 1912 he taught mathematics, natural science, German, and history at a Gymnasium in Hamburg. In 1913, working as an independent scholar, he started on his major work, Der Untergang des Abendlandes (1918/1922), in which he described world history as …

Spenser, Edmund

(300 words)

Author(s): Meller, Horst
[German Version] (c. 1552, London – Jan 16, 1599, London). For centuries Spenser, the son of a clothmaker, has been among the luminaries of English poetry. As a scholarship student at Cambridge, he became known through his friendship with the poet P. Sidney, to whom he dedicated his “Shepherd’s Calendar” in 1579 and whose early death he lamented in his classic elegy “Astrophel” (1586). Thanks to his relationship with Sidney and his friends, who were close to the court, Spenser was appointed admini…

Speratus, Paul

(319 words)

Author(s): Beyer, Michael
[German Version] (or Spreth; Dec 13, 1494, Rötlen, near Ellwangen – Aug 12, 1551, Marienwerder [Kwidzyn], Poland). After studying at several European universities, Speratus was ordained to the priesthood in 1506; c. 1519/1520 he served a church in Dinkelsbühl and in 1520 was appointed dean of the cathedral in Würzburg. Dismissed because of his sympathies with the Reformation (evangelical preaching, secret marriage), he went to Salzburg and Vienna (where he was excommunicated by the faculty of theo…


(401 words)

Author(s): Bümlein, Klaus
[German Version] The Roman civitas of Nementum is mentioned as the seat of a bishopric as early as 345. Since the 7th century, the episcopal list of Speyer has been preserved almost without a gap. The Salian dynasty (1024–1125; Salians), beginning with Conrad II, had the cathedral rebuilt (Church architecture: II, 2.b with fig. 12). The monumental Romanesque cathedral was intended as the burial place of the Salian emperors. By 1294 the city had generally achieved independence from episcopal rule. It…


(6 words)

[German Version] Composite Beings

Spiecker, Friedrich Albert

(282 words)

Author(s): Kaiser, Jochen-Christoph
[German Version] (Feb 19, 1854, Boppard – Jul 10, 1937, Berlin), businessman. After an apprenticeship in Hachenburg (Westerwald), in 1872 he began language study in Antwerp and London. In 1879 he was appointed director of the Missions-Handels-Actien-Gesellschaft of the Rhenish Missionary Society in Barmen. In 1902 he was appointed to the executive board of Siemens in Berlin. Spiecker embodied the novel figure of the Protestant economic self-made men, who by virtue of personal competence and commun…

Spiegel zum Desenberg, Ferdinand August von

(314 words)

Author(s): Jordan, Stefan
[German Version] (Dec 25, 1764, Schloß Canstein, Westphalia – Aug 2, 1835, Cologne), descended from ancient Westphalian nobility, buried in the choir of Cologne cathedral. From 1777 to 1783 he studied at an aristocratic boarding school in Fulda, then from 1783 to 1785 he studied law, political science, and economics in Münster, where he was appointed to the canonry in 1793 and elected dean of the cathedral in 1799. In 1796 he was appointed privy councilor in the secular district administration of …

Spiera, Francesco

(100 words)

Author(s): Weinhardt, Joachim
[German Version] (1502, Cittadella, – Dec 27, 1548, Cittadella). In 1548 Spiera, an Italian jurist, recanted his Protestant belief in justification by faith before the Inquisition. He fell into a depression because he believed he had committed the unforgiveable “sin against the Holy Spirit” and soon died a natural death. Bishop P.P. Vergerio cared for him and ascribed his conversion to Protestantism to this experience. His widely published account of Spiera’s death (later with a foreword by Calvin) warned crypto-Protestants against concealing their faith. Joachim Weinhardt Biblio…

Spieth, Andreas Jakob

(98 words)

Author(s): Jones, Adam
[German Version] (Nov 2, 1856, Hegensberg – May 28, 1914, Hamburg). In 1874 he entered training at the headquarters of the Basel Mission. From 1880 to 1901, he worked in Ho (now southeastern Ghana) as a missionary of the Norddeutsche Mission; after 1901 he worked in Tübingen. He was the most important translator of Ewe for the Norddeutsche Mission; he and Diedrich Westermann were its leading ethnographers. His publications include Die Ewe-Stämme: Material zur Kunde des Ewe-Volkes in Deutsch-Togo (1906) and Die Religion der Eweer in Süd-Togo (1911). Adam Jones Bibliography MNDMG 75, 19…

Spifame, Jacques

(187 words)

Author(s): Klueting, Harm
[German Version] (1502, Paris – Mar 23, 1566, Genega), seigneur de Passy. After studying law, he was appointed counselor of state and parliamentary counselor in Paris; he was appointed bishop of Nevers in 1548. In 1559 he resigned, fled to Geneva, and became a Protestant, having been suspected of Protestant sympathies for some time. In the background was an adulterous relationship in the distant past and a desire to legitimate a love affair and the children it produced. Together with T. Beza, Spif…

Spina, Bartolomeo de

(152 words)

Author(s): Müller, Gerhard
[German Version] (c. 1475, Pisa – Apr 3, 1547, Rome). After joining the Dominicans in 1493, Spina taught in Modena, Bologna, and Padua. He had contacts with S.M. Prierias but nevertheless harshly attacked T. de Vio Cajetan for not correctly teaching the immortality of the soul. He served as an inquisitor and also considered the prosecution of witches essential. He did not agree with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. In 1542 Paul III appointed him Magister Sacri Palatii, an office that ena…

Spinner, Heinrich Wilfrid

(116 words)

Author(s): Hamer, Heyo E.
[German Version] (Oct 12, 1854, Bonstetten – Aug 31, 1918, Weimar), Dr.theol. (Zürich, 1891). In 1878 he was appointed pastor of the Zürcher Kirche. In 1884 he was a co-founder of the Allgemeiner Evangelisch-protestantischer Missionsverein (AEPM; Ostasien-Mission); from 1885 to 1891 he was the first missionary of the AEPM in Japan, establishing German-speaking congregations in Tokyo (1885) and Yokohama (1886). From 1892 to 1896, he served as senior pastor in Ilmenau, Thuringia; from 1896 to 1918 h…

Spinola, Christoph de Royas y

(13 words)

[German Version] Royas y Spinola, Christoph de
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